Glen D. Lapp
Glen D. Lapp, 40, of Lancaster, passed away Thursday, August 5, 2010, in Afghanistan while serving on a medical team. Born in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, he was the son of Marvin and Mary Lapp of Lancaster, and a member of Community Mennonite Church of Lancaster.
He is survived by his parents, his brothers Ernie and Jerry, and sister-in-law Mary Ellen Francescani. He will be greatly missed by all, especially his mutually adoring nieces and nephew, Anabelle, Henry and Maisy Lapp.
Glen was full of life and an enormous spirit. Three great passions were very close to his heart: he sought to help meet the needs of those less fortunate, especially in developing countries; he had an unquenchable thirst for adventure; and he was constantly on a quest for wisdom and knowledge. The opportunity to volunteer in Afghanistan was a perfect fit for him, and the realization of his passions.Glen’s gentleness, love, grace and kindness are and always will be a blessing to us all.
Glen’s zest for life and love of adventure was evident early on, and his passion for bicycling, hiking and mountain climbing grew with each passing year. In his short life, he bicycled across the United States twice, climbed several high mountains in the Chilean and Ecuadorean Andes and trekked extensively in the Himalayan mountains of Nepal. In this vein, he will be sorely missed by his two chief partners in crime, his brothers Ernie and Jerry, as well as many other friends.
Glen was born in Honduras on September 14, 1969, though he spent the bulk of his childhood in Lancaster. He returned to Honduras in 1989 with YES - Youth Evangelism Service. He had a gift for learning languages and was a fluent Spanish speaker.
He graduated from Lancaster Mennonite High School in 1987, and from Eastern Mennonite University in Harrisonburg, Va., in 1991, where he excelled in volleyball. He received his Bachelor of Science in nursing from Johns Hopkins University in 1995 and spent several years of his early career working as a nurse.
After his college graduation in 1991, he joined his brothers and a family friend on his first cross-country bicycling trip, and his travel bug was born. 1996 found him working as a nurse in a Tucson, Ariz., nursing home and in 1998 he moved to Nepal to teach English and trek the Himalayas.
Three years later he moved back to Arizona to work with Native Americans at the Indian Health Center in Supai, a remote village in the Grand Canyon. In 2002 he traveled to Thailand and Nepal. He was in Bangkok with family when his first niece, Anabelle, was born there. By 2003 he was back in Pennsylvania working at the Lancaster Regional Medical Center. A year later, he went to Afghanistan for the first time to visit a friend and fell in love with the people and culture of the country.
Glen returned to Lancaster Regional Medical Center and continued his work there until 2006, at which point he began a second career as a realtor. In November 2008, he went to Afghanistan again, working with International Assistance Mission (IAM), a Mennonite Central Committee partner organization. He had planned to serve for two years and return in October 2010. He initially worked in the IAM headquarters in Kabul. After he became conversant in Dari, the language of the region, he began working with IAM’s National Organization for Ophthalmic Rehabilitation to administer their eye care throughout Afghanistan.
Visitation will be Saturday, August 14, at Community Mennonite Church of Lancaster, 328 West Orange Street, Lancaster, from 6 to 9 p.m. A memorial service will be held Sunday, August 15, at 2:30 p.m. at Bright Side Baptist Church, 515 Hershey Ave., Lancaster, with light refreshments and another time of family visitation following. All cyclists are encouraged to ride to the ceremonies.
Contributions may be made in Glen’s memory (designating the gift ‘for work in Afghanistan’) to Mennonite Central Committee, 21 South 12th Street, PO Box 500, Akron, PA, 17501; donate.mcc.org.
August 11, 2010