Lydia K Stoltzfus, 85 years, 3 months, 5 days, passed away at her home in Bethel Springs on April 21, 2023.
Funeral services were 10 a.m. Monday, April 24, at the Finger Christian Fellowship Church.
Burial followed at Finger Christian Fellowship Church Cemetery.
She was the eighth of 16 children, born to John and Lydia (Kauffman) King in Lancaster County, Pa., on Jan. 16, 1938. She grew up working very hard. Her father (butcher John) was a butcher. Young Lydia (butcher John’s Lydia) was usually the only one of the children he chose to accompany his many trips to market, which formed a close father/daughter bond.
She became acquainted with a sturdy dairy herdsman named Emanuel from her youth group, whom she would later marry at 19. She carried her servant heart and work ethic right into her marriage. She was a loving and devoted wife and mother, and they raised 12 children together (eight sons and four daughters). The earlier years of their home were occupied with tending and running dairy farms for hire with the help of their fast-growing family.
In 1975, they took the leap and moved from bustling Lancaster County, Pa., to the rural rolling hills of middle Tennessee with their 11 children, where the last baby girl (12th child) was born that same year. She was an exceptional wife and homemaker. She loved to quilt and was an avid gardener, using her gardening skills, strength and determination to raise mountains of vegetables to feed her growing family, while fussing over the food that her family consumed, always concerned about their health. She also baked tantalizing homemade bread, then took it to town and sold it to help provide money on the side to cover family expenses, while also making time for her passion for flowers and birds, finding time to cook, can, clean, and help train children.
In March of 1983, they moved with eight of their children one final time one hundred miles to Bethel Springs, settling in one more time with their family. Her husband Emanuel was killed in an accident in December 1992, leaving her widowed at 54 years old and reeling from the tragedy. Her youngest son Paul died by drowning in August 2000, another tragedy. She had an amazing resilience and ability to pick up and go on with a brave spirit, and unfailing faith in God. She was a prayer warrior and was easy-going and trusting. She was always willing to give someone the benefit of the doubt, especially if they would look her in the eye and give her a convincing story. Sometimes her trusting nature was a delight to salesmen and sometimes lended to the detriment of a naughty child, but somehow that did not deter her from being willing to do it all over again.
She loved to visit and reach out to elderly neighbors with her baked goodies and garden vegetables. In her latter years as her health deteriorated, she was not as able to garden and fully tend to her yard and flower gardens, instead indulging her passion for birds, flowers, quilting, sewing, and spending time with her children and many grandchildren. She always had time, a ready smile, and candy when they chose to stop by. She was a member of Finger Christian Fellowship Church. In the last five months she was bedfast as her family cared for her around the clock.
She is survived by 11 of her children, Marvin (Linda) of Robesonia, Pa., Katie (Tim deceased) Yannayon of Belvidere, John (Renee) of Bethel Springs, Manny (Sandra) of Finger, David (Joan) of Finger, Jason (Ada) of Bethel Springs, Martha (Danny) Beachy of Finger, Nathan (Elizabeth) of Finger, Tim (Wilma) of Harmony, N.C., Linda (Steve) Stoll of Finger, Marlene (Harvey) Beachy of Finger; 53 grandchildren; 53 great-grandchildren; and four sisters and three brothers, Elizabeth (Joseph) Byler, Fannie (Ira) Stoltzfus, Anna (John) Esh, Linda (Edward) Glick, John (Sarah) King, Aaron (Barbara) King and Levi (Ruth) King.
She was preceded in death by her husband of 35 years, Emanuel S Stoltzfus; son, Paul; son-in-law, Tim Yannayon; two grandchildren, Andrew and Keturah Stoltzfus; two great-grandchildren, Mia Yannayon and Eli Kohen; both of her parents, John L King, and Lydia S (Kauffman) King; five sisters, Rebecca Zook, Katie Esh, Mary Fisher, Sadie Stoltzfus, Naomi Fisher; and three brothers, Jacob King, Christ King, and Amos King.