Nora Burkhart Shantz (1915-2006)

Classification scheme: 
Hist. Mss. 1.221

Title: Nora Burkhart Shantz fonds

Dates of creation: 1940s

Physical description: 1 photograph album 27 x 34 cm.

Biographical Sketch: Nora Burkhart was born on 22 June 1915 in Waterloo Township. She was the eldest child and only daughter of Menno and Hattie (Lichty) Burkhart. After attending elementary school she did housework for a number of prominent families in Waterloo. She also assisted her mother in caring for her six brothers, Melvin, Mahlon, Eugene, Vernon, Ornan and Don. Early in her life Nora developed a keen interest in sports, probably because she grew up in a household of boys.

In the early 1940s she worked as a cook at the Ontario Mennonite Bible School, held at First Mennonite Church, Kitchener, ON. where she met her husband, E. Clare Shantz. He was the son of Titus and Mary Ann (Detweiller) Shantz. They were married by J. B. Martin and C. F. Derstine on 7 July 1945 at Erb Street Mennonite Church, Waterloo, ON. Nora and Clare had two children, Elizabeth born on 30 July 1947 and John born on 6 June 1952.

Both Nora and Clare were actively involved in the work of Erb Street Mennonite Church. Clare was ordained as deacon on 4 July 1948. Nora has been committed to life at Erb Street since she joined the church in 1929. She has taught Sunday School, Summer Bible School, and participated on the executive of the WMCEC. In her later years she was a prayer partner for one of the Sunday School classes.

An abrupt change came into Nora's life in 1958 when she was diagnosed with cancer in one of her sinus passages. After undergoing radiation and cobalt therapy at Princess Margaret Hospital and surgery at Toronto General Hospital she returned home to resume her role of wife and mother, taking care of both her children, her husband, Clare who fell from a roof at work and became a paraplegic in November 1960. She also continued to support her husband in his commitment to the work of the church. In her capacity as deacon's wife she mentored many women in the congregation who were experiencing challenges. Together Nora and Clare shared their faith journey with many people in Mennonite Churches across Ontario when they visited a number of congregations to promote the importance of physical accessibility.

In July 1989 Nora and Clare moved to Fairview Mennonite Home Apartments where they continued to be active until declining health limited their ability to participate. Clare died on 4 April 1995. Nora continued to live independently in the apartment until her death on 15 August 2006.

Custodial history: Donated to the Mennonite Archives of Ontario in early 2007 by Elizabeth Shantz.

Scope and content: The photographs are of persons and events at the Ontario Mennonite Bible School in the 1940s. Most pictures are identified


Original archival description created May 2007 by Sam Steiner.


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Mennonite Archives of Ontario
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