Peter Shetler, 65, passed away on Monday in a vehicular accident in the parking lot of Bethany Christian Schools, where he served as technology director. Shetler also co-taught Swahili at Goshen College, and his wife Jan Bender Shetler is director of international education.

"His legacy will continue, but the world is diminished by his absence."

— John Roth

We asked members of the GC community to share memories of Shetler and the ways in which he impacted their lives.  


“In the midst of this tragedy, I’m holding closely my memories of Peter. As a new educator, he welcomed me. So many at Bethany were influenced by his work. His global callings modeled love for neighbor. May Peter’s passing inspire us all to live as he did: with kindness, goodness, wisdom, and love.”

Brody Thomas, performance venue production manager at GC and former teacher at Bethany Christian Schools 


“My sophomore year at GC I drove with Dan Shetler, Peter and Jan’s son, to join friends for Canadian Thanksgiving. On the way back, Dan’s car kept breaking down. We stalled out maybe four or five times and each time Dan (often in real-time phone consultation with his dad) drew on his Shetler ingenuity to get the engine running again. At least once we literally push-started the car. At about 2:30am, thirty minutes north of Goshen and with 8am classes the next morning, the car stopped for good. So we called Peter, who naturally had the gear and the gumption to tow us back into town with a grin. It’s hard to imagine a more amiable, resourceful, honest friend.”

Peter Miller, assistant professor of English


“Compared to many other students and faculty, I did not know Peter for very long. I wouldn’t be able to tell you his favorite color or whether or not he liked chocolate cake. However, in the process of learning from Peter, I learned to recognize the sparkle that would appear in his eyes right before he made the most dad-like joke you’d ever heard. Peter loved to laugh. More importantly, he loved to see others laugh. Not only did he help me understand what I believed I could never learn, but in so many ways, he believed in me so much that I began to believe in myself. Peter’s kindness and hospitality will forever be a part of who I aspire to be. To know him was to love him.”

Carmen Merino, sophomore peace, justice and conflict studies major and former Bethany Christian Schools student


“I worked with Peter Shetler a lot later in high school, but my first introduction came in 6th grade when I took a week-long class with him about butchering animals. I don’t know who approved this, but for a week Peter took a group of 6th graders, gave us super sharp knives, and methodically taught us how to carve up everything from pigs to ducks. Peter had a very welcoming presence, which helped greatly in his work. He contributed so much to so many things and did so while remaining his kind, hilariously sarcastic self.”

Tyson Miller, sophomore communication major and former Bethany Christian Schools student


“Peter was a rare person who combined so many seemingly contradictory qualities. He was clear about his convictions, yet absolutely gracious in making space for others. He was trained as a forester, yet fully at home in the IT world. He was rational and analytical, yet also a spiritually sensitive person, who prayed without ceasing and was not afraid to cry. Peter was pragmatic, and yet extravagantly generous with his time, expertise, tools, attention, and money.  He loved to build and repair things: furniture, electronics, cars … and relationships. At home in multiple cultures, he was an ultra-light pilot, a scuba diver, a master chef; and a world traveler.  Not least, he was one of my best friends. His legacy will continue, but the world is diminished by his absence.” 

John Roth, project director of MennoMedia’s “Anabaptism at 500” with MennoMedia and former professor of history at GC