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Herbert Hoffman Kreider

Herbert Hoffman Kreider was born on August 6, 1904, on the Kreider farm near Campbelltown, Pa. He learned later that his parents had hoped for a girl after having two boys (Ethan and John). He had a happy childhood on the farm, growing up with godly parents. As a little child, he enjoyed riding in the yard on a broomstick horse that had a cloth head, remembered as a favorite toy.

Later, Herbert's family grew to include three sisters: Mary, Grace and Anna. Mary recalled feeling a little afraid of her older brothers Ethan and John, but she was never afraid of Herbert. He always was kind and tenderhearted, and as they grew older she enjoyed their discussions together about scripture and spiritual matters.

Herbert attended Sunday School at the Campbelltown Reformed Church (now United Church of Christ). He also accompanied his parents to many churches, as his father was a bishop in the Brethren in Christ Church. Many of these trips were by horse and carriage, and during the services Herbert would sit with his father behind the pulpit.

Baptism services were held in the Kreider farm creek for many years, and Harvest Praise meetings in the Kreider barn, at which times meals were also served.

When Herbert was eight years old, his father took him by train to Philadelphia Mission to a church "Love Feast"; they also visited the Philadelphia Zoo.

Herbert attended Campbelltown Elementary School, where his favorite subjects were math, spelling, and history. He went on to Hershey High School, but quit in 10th grade to help on the farm. He later regretted that decision, wishing that his parents and other influential people in his life would not have allowed him to discontinue his studies. Yet he recognized that his father felt he was needed on the farm.

One of Herbert?s high school teachers was Ruth Tiffany, whom he always remembered with appreciation. She married Dr. Donald Gray Barnhouse, and for years Herbert made it a practice to attend Mt. Gretna campmeeting whenever Dr. Barnhouse was the speaker.

Herbert looked for ways to continue learning. He took two courses at Penn State Agricultural College: a twelve-week course in agricultural and soil management in 1924, and an eight-week course in dairying in 1928. The latter qualified him to be a licensed milk-tester. He also attended winter-term classes at Messiah Bible College. He enjoyed reading, and read not only the Bible, but studied Bible commentaries with special interest in Charles Spurgeon?s writings and, in later years, books by Vance Havner. His son, Dale, comments, "I was always impressed with his abilities in academics. He was an avid reader. He knew his history, geography, and had an unusual ability to do mathematical problems in his mind without pencil, paper, or a pocket calculator."

On June 11, 1929, Herbert married Emma H. Brubaker, a school teacher from Mechanicsburg. They took a wedding trip to Michigan, during which they attended the Brethren in Christ General Conference convening there that year. Their first home was a rented house in Campbelltown . Herbert worked at the Hershey Creamery in Harrisburg for a short time, and then at the Hershey Creamery in Hershey for two years.

In 1932, Herbert and Emma moved to the Kreider farm owned by Herbert?s parents, renting and farming the 117 acres. He bought the farm in l943 and farmed there until 1970. For several years he worked as an assistant mail carrier to supplement his income.

During the 1940s, Herbert developed severe back pain and was unable to work. His nephews cared for the necessary farm chores for a time. Herbert learned that Dr. John G. Kuhns was visiting the John Kreider family, so he arranged to be examined by Dr. Kuhns, who was an orthopedic surgeon. A back brace was prescribed, bringing relief and subsequent healing.

Herbert and Emma's home was blessed with four children: Nancy, born in 1930, Barbara in 1933, Dale in l938 and Kathryn Anne in 1940. Their father was always proud to tell his friends that his children grew up to become a missionary teacher, nurse, medical doctor, and social worker.

Their family life was enriched by Herbert's loyal support of the Palmyra Brethren in Christ Church. He was actively involved as treasurer of the building committee, a trustee, and a Sunday School teacher. Because his sister Mary and his brother-in-law Henry Brubaker spent many years as missionaries in Africa, overseas missions were very real to his family, and it was natural for Nancy, too, to sense a call to the mission field. Herbert's faithful attendance and interest in the Palmyra Church continued until he moved to Messiah Village in his senior years.

Herbert enjoyed his grandchildren: Gregory and Rodney, sons of Barbara and Gene Nissley; Andrew and Laura, children of Dale and Joan Kreider; and Ngoc and Judy, adopted by Kathryn Ann (Kathy) Kreider. Grandson Greg has fond memories of making hay with Grandpa while listening to stories about his life as a child. And years later when Greg was serving in South Africa with TransWorld Radio, he appreciated the letters he received from Grandpa. It seems that Herbert's faithful correspondence skills touched family members over several generations.

Herbert's life gave evidence that as a young man he had established his priorities in the proper order: first came his relationship with God. Second was his responsibility to his family. His third priority was his obligation to farming, his livelihood. His goal was to not allow this to change. Keeping this sense of priority served him well; in his retirement years he was able to enjoy the fruits of his labor, and to be at peace with himself.

One can clearly see that he was successful in living out these priorities---his relationship to God was expressed in grateful service and his faith helped to sustain him in his greatest sorrow---the sudden and unexpected death of his beloved wife Emma, at the age of 63.

The farming of his land and his care of his dairy herd gave him great satisfaction and enjoyment. New methods of growing crops and modern management of his dairy herd resulted in a comfortable living for his family, even though the size of the farm was small. He kept good relationships with his neighbors and they worked together, sharing equipment so that crops were harvested in a timely and efficient manner. He loved farming, and that was his life.

On January 1, 1972, having retired from farming, he married Ruth Lauver Gantz of Hershey, Pa. He moved to Hershey where they lived until September of 1994, when he moved to Messiah Village Nursing Care. He died there on July 15, 1996, after a severe stroke. A memorial service was held at the Palmyra Brethren in Christ Church, and burial was at Gravel Hill Cemetery in Palmyra, Pa.

Herbert's family will always remember him as a fine Christian gentleman who loved his Lord and humbly served Him. They feel privileged that he was given a long life?into his nineties?to share with them.

Henry and Katie's Children | Ethan's Children | | John's Children | Herbert's Children | Grace's Children | Anna's Children | Photo Album