Recently my mother sent me an obituary, granted it is a rather strange thing to send someone, but in this case I was glad that my mother did so. The obituary is for Mary Landis, 84, of Lititz who passed away on June 27, 2009.
Mary Landis is not my grandmother nor is she an aunt, rather she was my Third Grade teacher. Mrs. Landis made quite an impact on me as a third grader as well as on my sister who had her the following year. And through my mother, Mrs. Landis was able to keep up with what my sister and I did in the years following our elementary school years. And because of that contact I received cards from Mrs. Landis as I made my way through college and then seminary and then through Kathy's Christmas Letters we also received updates from Mrs. Landis' life in the years that we served in Kentucky, Colorado and now Idaho.
Not only was Mrs. Landis a phenomenal school teacher, she was also very active in her local Mennonite church of which she was a charter member. Her faith was part of who she was and influenced how she taught in the classroom if not what. Mrs. Landis was a shining example of a Christian serving in the public schools. No, she never to my knowledge crossed the church/state divide in her lessons. More importantly than trying to "sneak" Christian content into her lessons, she treated students and parents alike as fellow siblings in Christ which meant more in the classroom and over the span of the last thirty years of my life.
I am grateful to have had Mrs. Landis as my third grade teacher and to have been given the privilege of knowing her as an adult even as I have moved far away from the small town in eastern Pennsylvania where I was raised and where Mary Landis served God faithfully as a teacher and child of God.
Companions on the Inner Way: Final Thoughts
1 year ago