Suderman, Dale Papers
Span Dates: 1948-2009
Bulk Dates: 1977-2009
Volume: 9.6 cubic feet
The collection contains records from Dale Suderman’s family, education, and finances. Of interest is his large correspondence from the 1960s. Many of his letters discussed issues related to gender issues and homosexuality, including some with his AMBS Professor, John Howard Yoder. After coming out regarding his homosexuality, he occasionally contacted GCMC leaders about impending issues related to church membership and the LGBT community. The collection includes his journals from the 1980s through 2000s on various issues related to war, poverty, addiction, and especially his homosexuality and gende, restricted until 2029. He worked extensively on a lengthy manuscript, his “men’s book.” The collection contains many hundreds of poems and short blurbs on a host of topics.
John Dale Suderman (1944-2020) was born in Hillsboro, Kansas, and grew up in the Ebenfeld Mennonite Brethren Church. His parents were Daniel M. and Edna Harder Suderman. Dale had two brothers, Art and Ron, and one sister, Elva. Dale graduated from Hillsboro High in 1961 and Tabor College in 1965. After one year of political science studies at Wichita State University, he served in the military, 1966-1968. He was a legal and supply clerk at Fort Leonard Wood and Fort Rucker before serving nine months in Saigon, February to October, 1968. After his military service, Dale worked as a social worker with the Aid to Dependent Children program in Wyandotte County for one year, 1968-69.
In 1970-71 he studied full time at Mennonite Biblical Seminary and then took a few courses each semester while he worked as associate director of the Partly Dave Coffeehouse in Elkhart, Indiana, 1970-1974. As part of this role Dale also counseled young adults during this period and served as a liaison for them to various community services. He returned to MBS full-time, 1974-1975, and in 1975 he received his MA in Religion. Following his graduation, Dale returned to Kansas as Associate Director of Mennonite Voluntary Service (GCMC), Newton, 1975-1979. He then became a community bookstore owner and manager (Logos of Chicago) in Chicago, 1979-1989.
Following his work for the bookstore, Dale served in a variety of roles as a counselor, first as a mental health counselor for two years in the psychiatric unit of the Swedish Covenant Hospital in Chicago, 1990-1992. He then did similar work for the University Hospital, 1992-1995. From 1990 to 2000 he worked for the Federal Community Corrections program of the Salvation Army with inmates returning to community living. From 1995 to 2005 he was also working for the Harbor Light Freedom Center, an outpatient Clinic, providing addiction counseling. Still with the Salvation Army from 2005 to 2008, he worked with their Correctional Services Program providing individual and group therapy to clients under supervision of the US Probation Office.
Dale was very active in gay rights issues and in a number of community organizations, including as a board member of the Urban Life Center, 1980-1987. He taught courses in men’s studies at Garrett Evangelical Seminary in Evanston. He gave many presentations and authored a number of essays in various publications. He wrote a newspaper column for the Hillsboro newspapers. He had a major stroke in 2008 and moved back to Hillsboro. He passed away on January 5, 2020.
The collection is not yet processed, but a guide to the collection can be obtained by contacting the archives at the library.
Mennonite Library and Archives
North Newton, Kansas
Activist (religious institutions) | Author/editor | Chicago | Illinois | Mennonite Church USA | Kansas | Suderman, Dale