Western Friend logo
Memorials: Salem Friends Meeting

Horace Autenrieth

Date of birth

Jan. 21, 1923

Date of death

Jan. 24, 2015


Salem Friends Meeting

Memorial minute

Horace Henry Autenrieth, 92, son of Elden Henry Autenrieth and Gertrude Mary Tow Autenrieth, was born January 21, 1923 near Paullina, Iowa. His was a farming family who regularly attended the nearby Friends Meeting. Horace was educated for eleven years at the local Gaza Public School and then graduated his senior year from Olney Friends Boarding School near Barnesville, Ohio. It was there he met schoolmate Mary Hall, who became his closest friend and lifelong partner and companion. Horace passed away January 24, 2015 at Capital Manor Retirement Community in Salem, Oregon.

Horace attended William Penn College for two years, until June 8, 1943 when he was assigned as a conscientious objector to war to Civilian Public Service for work of national importance. He worked as a heavy machine operator, leveling land for irrigation with the Bureau of Reclamation near Trenton/Williston, North Dakota. He volunteered as an attendant for the mentally ill at Philadelphia State Hospital. At the end of World War II he volunteered under the United Nations Relief and Reconstruction Act to help transport horses to Poland and Greece.

Horace and Mary Hall were married in 1945 under the care of Upper Springfield Friends Meeting at Damascus, Ohio and after Horace’s assignments in Philadelphia and Europe, moved to Iowa where Horace earned a degree in agriculture at Iowa State College. In 1949 they moved to the Paullina, Iowa community where they grain and livestock farmed for the next 35 years. Two children, Aline Ann Autenrieth and Gregory Henry Autenrieth joined them in 1952 and 1954.

Their farm became a family Century Farm in 1984. During his farming career Horace helped reorganize the Northwest Iowa Farm Business Association, served on the O’Brien County Soil Conservation Commission, the Paullina Farmers Elevator board, and the Northwest Iowa Experimental Farm board. He also was a local 4-H Club leader. He was a Paullina Lions Club member and helped start the local American Field Service chapter. He loved to fly and joined the local Flying Club, using the club planes for farm business and family pleasure. For many years he traveled to Des Moines for committee meetings of the American Friends Service Committee and to West Branch, Iowa for the Scattergood Friends School Committee. He attended Paullina Friends Meeting regularly and served as Elder, Treasurer and Sunday school teacher.

Horace and Mary enjoyed hosting visitors in exchange programs, and traveling and visiting people who were engaging issues of food and peace. They joined a group of farmers and a Farm Journal editor in 1963 visiting farms and agriculture experiment stations in Europe, later in 1983 accompanying a dozen college students studying the human and animal population impact on the environment in Kenya. Horace participated in an American Friends Service Committee Middle East study tour of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in 1979.

After retiring from farming, the AFSC appointed Horace and Mary as Quaker Middle East Affairs Representatives to travel and report events in the Middle East from 1985 to 1988. He and Mary greatly valued a Winter Term as Friends In Residence at Pendle Hill near Philadelphia, and later served as Resident Couple for the Friends Center in Honolulu.

In 1995 Horace and Mary moved from their farm home in Iowa to Capital Manor, a life care retirement community in Salem, Oregon. Horace became involved in the activities at Capital Manor, was a peer counselor for Mid-Willamette Valley Senior Services and a member and regular attender at Salem Friends Meeting.

Horace is survived by his daughter Aline Autenrieth, Salem, OR; son Greg Autenrieth, Paullina, IA; sister Barbara Thygesen and her husband Bent Thygesen, Salem, OR; sister Norma Autenrieth and husband John Little, Mount Angel, OR; and numerous nieces and nephews in Oregon, Alaska, California, and the East Coast.

He is preceded in death by his parents, his wife Mary Autenrieth in 2005; one sister and brother-in-law, Emily Lewis and husband Paul Lewis; and three nieces.

Horace was grateful to participate in Oregon’s Compassion and Choices program and he willed his body to the Oregon Health Sciences School of Medicine. He has requested that the ashes be deposited by his children near the Horace Autenrieth/Mary Autenrieth headstone in the Friends Cemetery near Paullina, Iowa.

Two meetings of remembrance were held for Horace; one on 2/14/2015 at Salem Friends Meeting, Salem, Oregon and a second on 5/9/2015 at Paullina Friends Meeting, Paullina, Iowa.