Marla Kathryn (Kylander) Hershberger, 73, of Greenfield, passed away Thursday, June 11, 2015, at Hancock Regional Hospital Hospice. Marla was born on Dec. 22, 1941, in St. Charles Hospital in Aurora, Ill. She grew up in rural Wheaton, Illinois.
Marla graduated from Wheaton High school in 1959, worked for one year as a long distance telephone operator then attended Eureka College for two years. She was a member of Delta Zeta Sorority and a cheerleader in college. She regularly was on the Dean’s List for academic achievement.
She met Charles Hershberger at college and married him on June 30, 1962. She received a PHT certificate (Put Hubby Through) when her husband graduated. Their marriage of almost 53 years produced three children and five grandchildren.
Marla devoted her life to God and family. She was a former member of St. James Lutheran Church in Greenfield, and a current member of Cross of Grace Lutheran Church in New Palestine. She was a long time Sunday school, vacation bible school teacher and vacation bible school director. She served on church council, was a founding leader of Christ Care small group ministry, and served as a Stephen’s minister. She led Bible studies for adults with developmental disabilities from1992 until her death. The organization evolved its name from Lutheran Disabilities Ministry, to Friendship Bible Studies, and finally SonRise Bible studies. Marla was a consummate youth leader. She led two Girl Scout troops at different times, led a Hancock County 4-H Horse and Pony Club, participated in New Palestine PTO, Band Boosters, and Athletic Boosters. She was a Den Mother and member of the Troop 244 parent’s auxiliary. She served as a pairing official for the Indiana State Wrestling Association and at national tournaments for the USA Wrestling Association. She was a member of Kids and Kettles Homemakers Club for 39 years. She participated in 4-H for 10 years. Marla provided early childhood daycare for 17 years. She worked as a historical interpreter at Conner Prairie Pioneer Interactive History Park from 1980 until struck by cancer in 2004. She was a member of the Midwest Open Air Museums Coordinating Council.
Marla was renowned for her cooking. She spent most of her career at Conner Prairie in the museum’s cooking posts. She chaired the kitchen committee at St. James Lutheran Church and organized church wide and group dinners for many occasions over the years. She especially excelled at pies and breads winning blue ribbons in area contests. She further exhibited creative skills as a seamstress by hand sewing her pioneer costumes for Conner Prairie and exhibiting dresses at the state fair.
Marla is survived by her husband, Charles “Chuck” Hershberger of Greenfield; son, C. Douglas (Yifat) Hershberger of Fremont, Calif.; daughters, Mardi (Troy) Stewart of Holyoke, Colo. and Jaime Hershberger of Greenfield; brothers, Charles (Martha) Kylander of Baton Rouge, La. and Ralph (Sue) Kylander of McHenry, Il; five grandchildren, Ella (Brock) Stewart-Tendick, Charles “Luke” Stewart, Charlie Hershberger, Andrew “Drew” Stewart, and Joy Hershberger; sister-in-law, Kate Hershberger-Teter; two nieces; and five nephews.
She was preceded in death by her parents, Charles O. and Eleanor W. Kylander; sister-in-law, Christine Hershberger-Miner.
A memorial calling will be held from 10 – 11 a.m. Wednesday, June 17, 2015, at Cross of Grace Lutheran Church, 3519 S. 600 W., New Palestine, IN 46163, with a memorial service taking place immediately following. There will be no casket present at the memorial according to Marla’s wishes. Pastor Mark Havel and Pastor Aaron Stamper will be officiating. Burial will immediately follow the service at New Palestine Cemetery in New Palestine. Lunch will be served at the church after the burial. Friends and family are invited to join the family for lunch at the church whether or not they attend the burial at the cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be sent directly to Cross of Grace Lutheran Church, Attn: Endowment Fund in Memory of Marla Hershberger, 3519 S. 600 W., New Palestine, IN 46163 or Mooresburg Community Center, 318 McNeil Circle, Mooresburg, TN 37811. Envelopes will be available at the church. Friends may share a memory or send a condolence at www.erleweinmortuary.com or email condolences to email@example.com.
Arrangements are being handled by Erlewein Mortuary & Crematory in Greenfield.