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John Ray Bontrager

July 24, 1949 — May 25, 2023

Elkhart

John Ray Bontrager, 73 of Elkhart, passed away on Thursday, May 25, 2023 in the comfort of his home, after fighting and battling pancreatic cancer for nearly 5 years.

He was born July 24, 1949 in Lincoln, Nebraska, to Elman and Edith (Jantze) Bontrager. He married Raquel Chavez in October of 1981, who survives along with his children John M. (Brenna) Bontrager, Jennifer E. Bontrager (Patrick Lopez), Jacqueline L. (Joshua) Wise, Raquel M. (Gary) Middleton, Joseph A. Bontrager, and David W. Bontrager; 2 step children, Mike (Sandra) Castillo, and Sophia A. (Juan) Ruiz; 15 grandchildren, 7 great grandchildren, and his older siblings, Robert (Yvonne) Bontrager, and Ruth A. (Keith) Miller.

John earned his B.S. degree in Social Work after attending Hesston College for 2 years and graduating from Goshen College in 1971. He loved woodworking, traveling, and most of all spending time with his family. During his younger years, John spent a lot of time working on the farm working with crops and helping raise animals. Over the years, he has spent time working in numerous careers, with some of his most notable jobs being at Nebraska State Penitentiary as a counselor, Quality Glass, Lowe’s, and working part time at Sears for 6 years through his retirement. He officially retired from Sears in 2017 at the age of 68. Above all, John's favorite job was in carpentry, as he loved woodworking and building things from room additions to cabinetry, siding, sheds, playhouses, and anything in between.

Following his retirement, John began to spend more time with family and friends. He was a kindhearted man that would take time to talk to everyone and anyone who was willing to listen. During his years in a senior independent living facility, he offered Spanish classes to other residents. One of his pastimes was his love of learning about astronomy, as he would talk about the measurements of the moon, and planets such as Jupiter. Most of all, John’s favorite activity was being able to spend time with his family. He enjoyed watching and quoting memorable scenes from movies with his children. John loved having the whole family together and going out for dinner gatherings when the time called for it. He would take the time to arrange trips to see his children and grandchildren, and schedule activities for when they came to Indiana. He will be missed dearly by all his family and friends who remain.

Visitation will be from 1 pm – 3pm on Sat. Jun 3, 2023 at Stemm-Lawson-Peterson funeral Home, 1531 Cobblestone Blvd., Elkhart, IN 46514 where funeral services will start at 3 pm at the funeral home. Online condolences may be made to the family at www.stemmlawsonpeterson.com

To send flowers to the family in memory of John Ray Bontrager, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Visitation

Saturday, June 3, 2023

1:00 - 3:00 pm (Eastern time)

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Stemm-Lawson-Peterson Funeral Home

1531 Cobblestone Boulevard
Elkhart, IN 46514

*Standard text messaging rates apply.

Funeral Service

Saturday, June 3, 2023

Starts at 3:00 pm (Eastern time)

Add to Calendar

Stemm-Lawson-Peterson Funeral Home

1531 Cobblestone Boulevard
Elkhart, IN 46514

*Standard text messaging rates apply.

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