Services for Mildred Jean “Millie” (Brenner) Friesen, 97, who died Jan. 26, will be 11 a.m. Saturday at Parkview Mennonite Brethren Church, Hillsboro, after a graveside service at 10 a.m. at Marion Cemetery.
Born June 15, 1925, to William and Lillian Tiemann Brenner on a family farm outside Woodbine, she attended rural school north of town and was valedictorian in 1942 at Woodbine High School.
A pianist and member of Mount Zion Baptist Church, she was moved by a Tabor College choir performance to enroll at Tabor, receiving two associate’s degrees.
She married Tabor graduate Harry Friesen on June 1, 1945, at First Baptist Church in Durham. The couple moved to Dallas, where he began theological studies and she was secretary for the seminary’s registrar and business manager.
After his graduation, they applied to the Mennonite Brethren foreign mission board and were assigned to missionary service in postwar Japan after a one-year pastorate at a Baptist church in Scotts Bluff, Nebraska.
The couple lived in the Osaka area for 42 years and retired to a home near Marion Lake in 1992. After he died in 2009, she moved to a Parkside Homes duplex and later nursing home.
Survivors include children Marilyn Fast of Hillsboro; Steve Friesen of Newton; Grace Steele and Joyce Herrington of Tyler, Texas; Phil Friesen of Ashburn, Virginia; and Debbie Phillips of Rowlett, Texas; 16 grandchildren; and 27 great-grandchildren.
In addition to her husband, half-brother Paul Brenner, brother Warren Brenner, son Billy Friesen, a grandson, and a great-grandson preceded her in death.
A memorial has been established with Multiply, formerly Mennonite Brethren Missions and Services.
Last modified Feb. 15, 2023