1999 Culture for Service award winners

The Goshen College Alumni Board is honoring Adella Brunk Kanagy of Belleville, Pa.; Fred Speckeen of Calgary, Alberta, Canada, and Howard Zehr of Harrisonburg, Va., as 1999 Culture for Service award winners.

This marks the 10th year the board has recognized alumni whose lives demonstrate commitment to a life of service. The awards are given annually to individuals who have distinguished themselves through exemplary records of service and achievements at home or in their churches, colleges and communities and the larger world.

Brunk Kanagy, Speckeen and Zehr will be honored during a convocation presentation at 10 a.m. Oct. 1 in the GC Church-Chapel as part of GC’s Alumni Weekend Celebration.


Adella Brunk Kanagy

Adella Brunk Kanagy ’44 finds that the tasks of each day encompass the work she must do in service to God.

Born in Biglerville, Pa., Adella moved to Goshen with her family in 1934 when her father was asked to manage GC’s shirt factory. After receiving a GC bachelor’s degree in biblical studies, she attended LaJunta (Colo.) Mennonite School of Nursing to become a registered nurse; for 11 years, she has edited the alumnae newsletter.

Adella married Lee Kanagy ’49 in 1948. In 1951, they began a Mennonite Board of Missions assignment in Japan, planting a church in Nakashibetsu and serving in Furano and Ashoro.

“Serving the needs we found in Japan became the everyday application of Culture for Service; we served by being learners of the Japanese language and customs,” said Adella, whose children include Dan ’75, Ruth, David, Tim and Lois.

The Kanagys relocated to Fairfax, Va., in 1974, and gave leadership to a Japanese church in Washington, D.C. Adella returned to nursing and was licensed as a chaplain by the Northern Virginia Mennonite Church. She received a master’s degree in interdisciplinary studies and a certificate in gerontology in 1987; also during that year, she and Lee returned to his home area in Belleville, Pa. They attend Allensville Mennonite Church.

For five years, Adella served as a hospice chaplain, helped initiate “Nurse in the Congregation” roles locally and organized an Interchurch Health Group for education and support of healthy lifestyles.


Fred Speckeen

For 40 years, service has meant music, education and involvement with the Presbyterian Church for Fred Speckeen ’53.

Fred earned a degree in social sciences at GC and a divinity degree from Goshen Biblical Seminary in 1956. Ordained at First Presbyterian Church, Goshen, the following year, he received his doctorate in rhetoric/public speech from Michigan State University.

Fred was speech chair, forensics director and dean of students at the University of Dubuque (Iowa) from 1960 to 1962 and later dean of students and vice president at Waterloo (Ontario, Canada) Lutheran University. Between 1970 and 1994, he was president of four colleges and an interim pastor.

In the 1960s, Fred was a political candidate and contributed to numerous community-related organizations, including the Mayor’s Committee on Youth, Calgary, Alberta, and a community symphony he helped found.

Fred married his wife Joan, a nurse, in 1978. In 1987 they went to Nicaragua with educational and medical supplies during a civil war, starting a nursing school. They are planning to return to work with the University Polytechnical Institute.

Fred works with aboriginal people, is a member of the Professional Business Association and the Calgary Philharmonic Choir and chairman of the national, interdenominational Inter-Church Action Group for Asia and the Pacific Islands.

A member of GC’s alumni board from 1981 to 1984, he raised funds for the Bill Smoker Memorial Scholarship Fund.


Howard Zehr

Combining a love for photography and commitment to the restorative justice movement, Howard Zehr promotes peace and justice by challenging traditional attitudes toward the U.S. criminal justice system.

Howard attended GC from 1962 to 1963 before transferring to Morehouse College, Atlanta, Ga., where he received a history degree.

After freelance photography assignments in more than 20 countries, he turned to documentary work – exploring human experience through photographic images.

Howard pioneered reconciliation between victims and offenders through “restorative justice,” an alternative, biblically based program. With national and international experience, he is considered an authority in the field. He founded Elkhart County Prisoners And Community Together (now called the Center for Community Justice), directed the first U.S. Victim Offender Reconciliation Program (VORP) in Elkhart, Ind., and served as the director of Mennonite Central Committee’s office on crime and justice.

Howard has published Changing Lenses: A New Focus for Crime and Justice and Doing Life: Reflections of Men and Women Serving Life Sentences, a collection of portraits and interviews with men and women sentenced to life in prison. His exhibition, “Waiting on the Outside,” studies spouses of incarcerated, and “Dreams of St. Thomas” reflects life in a New Orleans housing project.

In 1996, Howard joined Eastern Mennonite University as professor of sociology and restorative justice.