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Former EMU education professor dies

Kathryn F. (Kass) Seitz, a former member of the Eastern Mennonite University teaching faculty, died Sunday, June 5, at Oak Lea Nursing Home in Harrisonburg. She was 73.

Seitz was a member of EMU’s education department faculty from 1979 to 1986. Her teaching specialty was elementary education.

Her spouse, Kenneth L. Seitz, Jr., who survives, taught in the department of Bible and religion at EMU while also pursuing a doctoral program in Old Testament studies at Notre Dame University.

While teaching at EMU, Seitz compiled “A Working Bibliography of Peace Books for Children and Youth,” designed to help identify and teach concepts of compassion, justice, forgiveness and love in the classroom and in the home. The publication received praise from church librarians and teachers for its comprehensiveness and variety in promoting peace and justice concerns and went through three printings.

“Kass brought enthusiasm to everything and encouraged everyone to be excited about teaching,” said Sandra L. (Sandy) Brownscombe, professor of education at EMU. “She had so much joy. It was fun to be on committees and work with her. She was well respected by her students.”

“Kass Seitz was thorough and meticulous in her approach to teaching. She rejected behaviorism in favor of teaching the whole child the wonderment of God’s creation,” said Donovan D. Steiner, director of the MA in education program at EMU, whose teaching overlapped with Seitz from 1982 to 1986. “She was a master teacher in motion, highly successful with preschoolers as well as adults.”

Seitz earned a BA degree in elementary education from Goshen College in 1967 and and an MS in Ed. degree from Indiana University in 1973. She was a kindergarten teacher in South Texas, 1960-63, and taught primary grades in the Elkhart (Ind.) Community Schools, 1967-79, and later taught or supervised student teachers in several public and private university settings in addition to EMU. She was also an English teacher at Bethlehem University, Bethlehem, Israel via West Bank, 1977-78, and 1987-88.

Before retiring to Harrisonburg in July, 2009, the Seitzes served as country directors for Mennonite Central Committee in Beirut, Lebanon, five years.

A memorial service will be held Saturday, June 25, at Park View Mennonite Church with pastors Phil Kniss and Barbara Lehman Moyer officiating.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Scholarship for Education and Training Elementary Teachers with designation, Katheryn Seitz Scholarship Fund, Development Office, EMU, Harrisonburg VA 22802.

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