Vernon Sprunger was born 3 June 1904 at Dalton, Ohio to Noah L. and Rosina Sprunger. Following high school he taught for several years and then secured employment with the B. F. Goodrich Rubber Company of Akron, Ohio. Restless at heart he enrolled in Bluffton College (Ohio) to prepare himself for other service. While there he met Lilly Bachman (b. 1 January 1907, d. 12 September 1960) of Pulaski, Iowa, who was pursuing her certification as a teacher. They were married on 19 July 1931 following their graduation.
They applied to the Congo Inland Mission in July 1931 and sailed in September for Belgian Congo (Democratic Republic of Congo). Upon arrival at Mukedi Station in Kwilu Province they quickly turned their training and energy to upgrading not only the school at their station, but also those of the entire mission. When a new colonial regime in 1948 offered government subsidies to Protestant missions for educational purposes, the Sprungers advocated accepting the offer and a decade of church growth followed as biblical instruction was incorporated into the curriculum of mission schools at every level. Vernon also served as field treasurer and legal representative. In 1951 he was named interim general secretary of the Congo Protestant Council representing all Protestant missions to the Belgian Congo colonial government.
The Sprungers returned to the United States in 1960 when Lilly was diagnosed as having cancer. Vernon was appointed interim executive secretary of the Congo Inland Mission (Africa Inter-Mennonite Mission). After Lilly died he returned to Zaire (Democratic Republic of Congo) where his broad experience was needed in the post-independence era. In 1962 he married fellow missionary Irena Liechty of Berne, IN. In 1972 they retired to Berne, IN, where they were living when Vernon died 27 December 1980.
"Former Missionary, Berne Pastor Dies." Mennonite Weekly Review (8 January 1981): 7.
"Kidron Database." Swiss Anabaptist Genealogical Association. Retrieved 20 June 2006. <http://www.saga-omii.com/tng/getperson.php?personID=I6336&tree=kidron>
"Newton and Vicinity." Mennonite Weekly Review (25 September 1960): 6.
|Author(s)||James E Bertsche|
Cite This Article
Bertsche, James E. "Sprunger, Lilly Bachman (1907-1960) and Vernon (1904-1980)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1989. Web. 18 Apr 2014. http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Sprunger,_Lilly_Bachman_(1907-1960)_and_Vernon_(1904-1980)&oldid=61052.
Bertsche, James E. (1989). Sprunger, Lilly Bachman (1907-1960) and Vernon (1904-1980). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 18 April 2014, from http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Sprunger,_Lilly_Bachman_(1907-1960)_and_Vernon_(1904-1980)&oldid=61052.
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