Myrl Nofziger
Photo provided by Myrl Nofziger

Myrl Nofziger was influenced early in his life by his parents, Jesse and Kathryn Nofziger, to be generous with his time and resources. Nofziger served with MCC in 1959-61 to fulfill his alternative service requirements, which he recalls as two of the greatest years of his life.

It’s no secret that MCC relies on the generosity of supporters who believe in the mission of sharing God’s love and compassion to all in the name of Christ. For many, a philosophy that encourages charitable giving and service is something that has been passed down through generations of their family.

Myrl Nofziger, a well-known businessman in the Goshen community, learned the importance of philanthropy at an early age from his father, Jesse L. Nofziger, along with his mother, Kathyrn Nofziger. “My parents taught us that tithing is expected, and that giving does not start until you are in excess of that amount,” said Nofziger.

Nofziger remembers his father serving on the Michiana Mennonite Relief Sale board when the sale was first initiated in 1967, including several years as chairman. Nofziger, with his brothers Roger and Daryl, continued to help their father with the antique auction for many years afterwards. In addition, the Nofziger boys participated with their father in MCC meat canning at a farm in the Goshen area.

The dedication to MCC and its various programs runs deep in the Nofziger family. Roger served two years with PAX in Europe and Northern Africa, and Roger’s wife, Earlene, purchased the first quilt at each Michiana Mennonite Relief Sale for 20 years.

Early exposures to MCC prompted Nofziger to volunteer through MCC in 1959-1961, when he served two years of voluntary service to fulfill his alternative service requirements. “Besides graduate school, those years of voluntary service were the greatest two years of my life,” said Nofziger.

His MCC assignment was far from boring, as he spent most of his time as a “human guinea pig” or “normal control” at the National Institute of Health in Bethseda, Md. After a year and a half, he was transferred to the Ohio State University Tuberculosis Hospital for three months and then on to a church camp in Badger, Calif., to complete his term.

In the years since, Nofziger has been very active in the Goshen community serving as chairman on a number of boards including Greencroft, Goshen Hospital, Indiana Association of Realtors, ADEC and Goshen College. His involvements with the Elkhart Rotary, as president, and MEDA (Mennonite Economic Development Associates) have led him on philanthropic trips literally around the world with his spouses, Ardith (deceased) and Phyllis.

“He [my father] felt strongly that one should give back to the church and community on a regular basis,” said Nofziger. “So obviously I learned that from him.” He has taken his father’s advice to heart, and throughout his career has made a commitment to spend one-third of his time being active in various church and volunteer organizations. “My spouse(s) have always been very supportive and encouraging in our giving program,” added Nofziger.

“It is through giving of one’s time and talents that blessings are returned many times over,” he said. “I have truly felt this and truly have been blessed.”

When asked for his advice to others, Nofziger said, “Do not stay in your own small cocoon. Reach out to serve and opportunities will overwhelm you. Become involved in local charities or not for profits and your church.”

Nofziger also emphasizes the importance of not only estate planning and deferred giving, but the value of preparing a testament to share with one’s family. “In the process, do not overlook your family,” he said. “A will dispenses things, but a testament carries on a legacy.” He has written a letter to his four children and six grandchildren outlining his hopes and encouragement to live a wholesome lifestyle.

Nofziger is supportive of MCC, particularly in light of his years volunteering early in his life and the connections that have remained. “MCC is one of the greatest church agencies we have,” he said. “In addition to other Mennonite agencies that I support, I feel very strongly about MCC and MEDA. The outreach that they offer cannot be measured in dollars and cents. ”