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Rachel Anna Albrecht Varona was born during the great depression on November 3, 1933, the daughter of Wilbur and Ruth (Schrock) Albrecht. She was the eldest of four children. On August 17, 1973 she was married to Frank Varona in Amarillo, Texas. Rachel lived 87 years 6 months 5 days and went to be with her Lord on May 8, 2021.
Surviving are two sisters (Doris Zehr of Grand Rapid, MI and Shirley Bachman of Godfrey, IL), a sister-in-law (Linda Albrecht of Gibson City, IL), 6 nephews, 3 nieces, and many great and great-great nieces and nephews. Her husband, parents, brother (Jerry Albrecht), brothers-in-law (David Zehr and Wesley Bachman), and two nephews (Bob Zehr and Larry Zehr) preceded her in death.
Early in life she knew her parents had dedicated her to the Lord, even before birth. At age 12 she made a public commitment to trust in God’s redeeming love through the Lord Jesus Christ. She was baptized by J. D. Hartzler, at the Waldo Mennonite Church near Flanagan, Illinois in 1946. Her parents gave her a lovely Bible at the time of her commitment. She treasured the Word of God throughout life and she knew His Word will endure eternally.
During Rachel’s first eight years of school, she attended the Pleasant Hill Grade School. It was a rural school and she was the only pupil during those 8 years in her grade. She attended 3 years at Flanagan High School in Flanagan, Illinois and then transferred to Hesston College and Bible School in Hesston, Kansas for her senior year and two years of college. She graduated in 1956 from LaJunta Mennonite School of Nursing, LaJunta, Colorado and in 1965 from Goshen College, Goshen, Indiana with a BS in Nursing.
During her life she wanted more than anything to serve her Savior and Lord in every task she undertook. After graduation, Rachel’s first job was at Maple Lawn Nurse Home in Eureka, IL. She was the first RN ever hired there. Immediately, she transferred as Bethesda Mennonite Mission Church in the inner city of St. Louis. She served there 10 years and supported herself during that time by working at the Homer Phillip Hospital in the new-born nursery, with the Visiting Nurses Association, and as an instructor at the Barnes Hospital School of Nursing. Serving at Bethesda was highlight of her career and her true calling.
She moved west to Amarillo, Texas in 1970 at the invitation from college friends, Ben and MaDonna Eberly, to be the Director of Nursing at Golden Age Nursing Home. It was there that she met the man of her life, Frank (Frenchie) Von Varona. After marriage she worked in home care and geriatrics until retirement. After retirement she continued to show her love for the elderly by volunteering endless hours in nursing homes.
Her mother’s teaching was Rachel’s assurance; ‘when we are too sick, injured, or old to live on this earth, we will go to heaven to be with our Savior and Lord to the place He has prepared for us’. Throughout life, Rachel treasured her Mennonite Church heritage along with the many local Christian fellowships she attended; sharing the vision of healing, hope, and salvation through Christ alone.
A favorite Scripture of hers was Galatians 2:20: “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”
These two mottos from her alma maters were also very important to Rachel: LaJunta’s motto: “Not to be ministered unto, but to minister” and Hesston’s motto: “You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.”
There will be no visitation or services at this time. Cremation will be accorded. Burial will be in Llano Cemetery in Amarillo, TX. Argo-Ruestman-Harris Funeral Home in Eureka is handling arrangements for the family.
In lieu of flowers (or trees) if you would like to make a memorial, please do something for someone in Jesus’ name. “God calls us to be followers of Jesus Christ and, by the power of the Holy spirit, to grow as communities of grace, joy and peace, so that God’s healing and hope flow through us to the world.”
Online condolences may be sent to the family at www.argoruestmanharris.com.
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