Cover photo for Sarah "Sally" Ann (Van Amber)  Bliss's Obituary
Sarah "Sally" Ann (Van Amber)  Bliss Profile Photo

Sarah "Sally" Ann (Van Amber) Bliss

March 7, 1935 — October 15, 2021


Sarah Ann (Van Amber) Bliss, known as Sally, was born March 7, 1935 in Syracuse, New York to Dorothy Ann (Seely) and Wesley D. Van Amber.  She met Orbra Walter Bliss at Homer Bible Conference when she was 14 and he was 15 in 1949.  They both wanted to become missionaries and eventually married on June 6, 1953.  After attending John Brown University and Moody Bible Institute where Orbra received Radio Technical training and they both graduated, they joined SIM International in 1959 and headed to Radio Station ELWA in Liberia, West Africa with 4 small children.  The fifth child, a daughter, was born 3 years later.  Sally did radio program preparation and editing, recorded some programs herself and taught in the nursery school. She also taught Sunday school and ministered to the women and children of the nearby village of Dwahzon as well as counseled young nationals who came to work at the station.

They returned to the United States in 1969, working first in Wisconsin at the Christian radio station WNWC and later moving to Elkhart in 1975 to join the HCJB World By 2000 project, located in facilities provided by Crown International. They moved to HCJB Radio station in Quito Ecuador where they ministered until 1987.  Sally worked in the correspondence department, sang with the HCJB Chorale, and helped in other areas as needed.

They returned to Elkhart, Indiana to design other transmitters for HCJB World Radio where
Sally did secretarial work in support of the projects. The HCJB World Radio name later
changed to Reach Beyond. The HCJB Engineering Center later became a separate entity, SonSet
Solutions. They were active at Zion Missionary Church, especially with youth groups, missions, and Bible studies.

Sally is survived by her husband of 68 years, Orbra Walter Bliss, their children Violet Ann (Michael) Bliss Dietz, Dorothy Christine “Chris” (Steven) Himsel, Elizabeth Jane “Beth” (Tim) Drake, Walter Orbra  (Gail) Bliss and Esther Sue Bliss; their grandchildren Christopher (Marion) Dietz, Sarah Ann Dietz, Benjamin (Margaret) Himsel, Danielle (fiancée Joshua) Atwell, Mark (Anna) Drake, Ashley (Grant) Hageman, Caleb (Abbi) Bliss, Elisha Bliss and Josiah Bliss; great-grandchildren, Zachary Lanczycki, Kendra Atwell and Kristian Atwell, Morrigan Himsel, Eleanor ”Nora” Hageman and Michael Bliss, and soon to be joined by baby boy Hageman. Sally is survived by her sister Bertha J. Van Amber as well.  Sally was preceded in death by her parents, her sisters Ellen (Richard) Woodall and Rosemary (John) Gilbert and her grandson-in-law Bryant Atwell.

Memorial service for Sally will be at 11am on Thursday, October 21, 2021 at Zion Missionary Church, 1135 East Hively Avenue, Elkhart, IN 46517 visitation will be one hour before services at the church. Stemm-Lawson-Peterson Funeral Home, 1531 Cobblestone Blvd., Elkhart, IN 46514 is assisting the Bliss family. She will be laid to rest in her family plot at Onondaga Valley Cemetery in Syracuse, New York. A memorial service is planned for New York state at a later date. Details will be posted when they are available.

Memorials can be made to SonSet Solutions 2830 17th Street, Elkhart, IN 46517 , Reach Beyond or SIM Online condolences may be made to the Bliss family at

To send flowers to the family in memory of Sarah "Sally" Ann (Van Amber) Bliss, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Thursday, October 21, 2021

10:00 - 11:00 am (Eastern time)

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Memorial Service

Thursday, October 21, 2021

Starts at 11:00 am (Eastern time)

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