Leslie Ray Hochstetler was born Jan. 7, 1935, in Kalona, Iowa, the son of Ray and Maggie (Fisher) Hochstetler. After eight years of country school at West Lincoln, he attended Iowa Mennonite School, graduating in 1953.
Les appreciated and enjoyed choral music and lent his voice to various choirs and groups. The family was recently reminded that in both high school and a year of study at Hesston College, he was in quartets that were broadcast on the radio.
In 1954, Les began a time of alternative service first volunteering at MCC headquarters in Akron, Pa., followed by working in the PAX program in Europe. His first assignment was in constructing homes for refugees in Germany, and later he worked in Vienna, Austria renovating and repairing a war-torn school building, which is still in use today. This time witnessing the destruction of war and the plight of those who lost everything was something that left a deep impression on Les.
On Oct. 14, 1956, he was united in marriage to Carolyn Kinsinger at West Union Mennonite Church. They began their married life on a farm north of Iowa Mennonite School and in 1962 moved to the farm that would be their home for the remainder of the marriage. The 60's and 70's were a busy time with a growing family and activities centered around the church and the farm. During this time, Les sold Archer Oil and drove school bus for the Williamsburg school district. He enjoyed taking the family on spontaneous outings and memorable family vacations.
Les was a member of West Union Mennonite Church. For Les, that meant saying yes to various opportunities and roles in the church and community. He served as mission treasurer, janitor, and on the IMS board. He also sang in an octet, and volunteered for Mennonite Disaster Service work days.
During the last decade of his life, his illness slowly disabled more and more of his physical abilities, and in the summer of 2010, he no longer was able to live in the Iowa County house he had called home for half a century. He accepted this with a surprising amount of grace, and with his sense of humor intact. His ability to come up with a one-liner or to communicate with a twinkle of an eye was an inspiration to his family and to those who cared for him. Les passed away on Monday, June 24, 2019, at Parkview Manor in Wellman at the age of 84 years.
Les is survived by his wife: Carolyn of Wellman; four children: Lynn (Deb) Hochstetler of Kalona, Diane (Tony) Miller of Wellman, Bruce (Edie) Hochstetler of Wellman and Sara (Wes) Bonner of Lawrence, Kan.; eleven grandchildren; three great-grandchildren; a sister: Karen Gingerich of Iowa City; and two brothers: Jim (Anna) Hochstetler of Kalona and Harlan (Pauline) Hochstetler of Durham, N.C.
He was preceded in death by his parents.
A memorial service was held on Friday, June 28, 2019, at the West Union Mennonite Church. A memorial fund has been established for Mennonite Disaster Service and Washington County Hospice. The Yoder-Powell Funeral Home in Kalona was in charge of the arrangements.