Valette Hartong, 85

Mrs. Valette Eileen (Eppley) Hartong, 85, Sturgis, Mich., went to be with Jesus, Saturday, Sept. 13, at her home. She was born Oct. 13, 1928, in Wabash, daughter of Garl and Alice (Speicher) Eppley.

Valette attended Manchester College where she met her future husband, Dana Hartong. On Aug. 29, 1948, they married in Wabash, where they resided until moving to Roann, in 1955 and then to Sturgis, Mich. in 1969. As a pastor's wife, she faithfully served alongside Dana for 44 years.

At the tender age of ten, Valette began playing the piano in church. This would be her passion until she retired from playing at New Hope Community Church on her 85th birthday. She continued her music ministry by playing monthly at Thurston Woods Village, Sturgis and Fairview Nursing Home in Centreville, Mich. She also played at various senior citizen events. In the 1970s, Valette was a music teacher at Mendon Elementary as well as an accompanist for many choirs, ensembles, and solos. She gave piano lessons to numerous students.

Valette was renowned for her hospitality to friends and neighbors as well as to many visiting missionaries. Her famous raised donuts, no-bake cookies, and meatloaf were among the favorites she served to all.

In 1982, Dana and Valette founded the ministry New Hope for Broken Ministries and co-authored a book by the same title, which continues to touch lives throughout the world. Valette continued actively counseling over the phone until her final days. Beginning with the first couple in 1979 until the 5,000th in 2014, Valette prayed monthly for every couple, which included requests from 49 states and over 30 countries.

Surviving are her children: Sue (Herman) Behrends, Sturgis, Beth (David) Behrends, Three Rivers, Brad (Christine) Hartong, Centreville, and Jayne (Jim) Hover, San Antonio, Texas; 18 grandchildren, Chad (Rebecca) Behrends, Allissa (Tim) Bowers, Jonathan (Joy) Behrends, Leigh Anne Behrends, Jana (Sean) Guise, Jared Behrends, Megan (Joshua) Gremaux, Marianne Behrends, Joshua (Crystal) Behrends, Jesse Behrends, Joseph Behrends, Jason (Heather) Hartong, Adam (Veronica) Hartong, Cheryl (Eric) Byler, Joy Hartong, Joel (Jessica) Hartong, Aaron (Marie) Hartong, and Rebecca (Joel) Rouch; 41 great-grandchildren; four sisters-in-law, Lois Chain, Nedra Workinger, Mary (Earl) Mansfield, and Ruth Ann Hartong. She was preceded in death by her husband, Dana Hartong; her parents; two brothers, Howard and Russell; a granddaughter, Elisabeth Jo (Libby) Behrends; a great-granddaughter Poppy Bowers; and one brother-in-law, Jim Workinger.

Funeral services were held Sept. 16 at New Hope Community Church in Sturgis, with Pastors Tim Eash and Kevin Mitchell officiating.

The family suggests those wishing to make a memorial donation in Mrs. Hartong’s memory consider The Gideons International, P.O. Box 693, Sturgis, MI 49091 or World Gospel Missions El Sembrador Bible School, P.O. Box 948, Marion, IN 46952-0948.

The obituary is also at where personal messages of support may be left for the family.

Posted on 2014 Sep 17