Global Ministries is saddened to learn of the death of Hans Meyer

Global Ministries is saddened to learn of the death of Hans Meyer

Johannes Ernst Hermann Meyer, called Hans, was born on October 26th, 1926, in Bolkenhain, a then German, now Polish small town.

In October 1949, he began studying chemistry at the University of Mainz. In the summer of 1951, Hans took part in an international service camp in France, organized by the World Council of Churches, to help build a parish house in a town in Normandy. It was at this service camp that he met a young American woman, Sylvia Nilson, who had grown up in Turkey, but at the time was teaching in Syria. In 1952, he was given a scholarship and went to Goshen College, Indiana, where he earned a bachelor’s degree.

Hans and Sylvia were married on June 9, 1953, in Wheaton, Illinois. The young couple started their married life in Istanbul, Turkey, as teachers at a girls’ school. It was one of the schools run by the American Board (a predecessor mission body of Global Ministries, once called American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions). The purpose of these schools was to give education to young Turks, so that they could help in the development of their country. After 2 years of teaching in Istanbul, Hans and Sylvia were sent by the mission to a school for boys in Tarsus, on the south coast of Turkey (St. Paul’s hometown; Sylvia’s parents had served there before). They taught at this school for 16 years. They decided to return to the school in Istanbul so their 4 children could have an education at the German high school in Istanbul. 

After the last of the children graduated from the German high school in Istanbul and had gone to Germany for further education, Hans and Sylvia returned to Tarsus in 1989 to teach. In 1991 Hans retired from teaching, followed by Sylvia in 1993. Reluctant to leave Turkey, they stayed after their retirement for more than 10 years. They eventually moved to Greenville, South Carolina where they lived in a retirement village. Sylvia passed away in October 2019.

On early April 7th, 2024, just after midnight, Hans took his last breath here on earth, with his son Armin and his granddaughter Mimi at his side. He is survived by daughter Helene, three sons (Christoph, Markus, and Armin), nine grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren.

A memorial service for Hans was held on April 15, 2024, at Rolling Green Village.

Condolences may be sent to Christoph Meyer, Amalienstrasse 77, 76133 Karlsruhe, Germany (Email: