Dr. Jonah Kliewer

Colleague, musician, artist, professor, mentor and friend, Dr. Jonah C. Kliewer, 75, Emeritus Professor of Voice and Choral Music at Tabor College, died July 12, 2008, at Hillsboro, following a battle with pancreatic cancer.

"I am confident that the heavenly choir welcomed him and together they are now singing praises beyond our description," said Tabor College President Jules Glanzer. "We were all touched by his life, ministry, and music during his stay on earth. The world is a better place because of him and the face of heaven is different because of his ministry on earth.

"We will all miss Jonah, and our prayers are with the family during this time of grief."

Dr. Kliewer graduated from Tabor in 1955 and received his M.A. from the University of Kansas in 1957, and his D.M.A. from the University of Southern California in 1970. Jonah came to Tabor as assistant professor in 1975 and served out the rest of his career in a variety of roles. He retired from full-time teaching in 1998. He was appointed Emeritus Professor of Voice and Choral Music in recognition of his excellent service to the college.

Jonah was born May 8, 1933, to J.C. and Mary Thomas Kliewer at Isabella, Okla. On June 24, 1955, he married Elinor Ewert, who survives in Hillsboro.

He also is survived by three sons, Jan Kliewer of Powell, Wyo., Kenneth Kliewer of Hillsboro, and David Joel Kliewer of Newton; a daughter, Joan Kennedy of Omaha, Neb.; brothers, Vernon Kliewer of Newton and Steve Kliewer of Isabella, Okla.; sister, Mary Elinor Gaede of Reedley, Calif.; 11 grandchildren; and one great-grandchild.

A celebration of life will be at 10 a.m. Tuesday at Hillsboro Mennonite Brethren Church with David Plett officiating. The family will receive guests at the church from 6 to 8 p.m. Monday.

The family has requested that memorial gifts be made to the Jonah Kliewer Music Scholarship fund at the college. Condolences can be sent to the family via