Werner K. Fransen was born in Vineland, Ontario, Canada, the son of Russian immigrants displaced by the revolution. He was a loving husband and a devoted father to two daughters. A skilled urological surgeon, Werner was a leader in his profession who promoted patient rights and performed innovative procedures. Werner had many interests; he was a hobby farmer with 250 apple trees and an avid traveler to many parts of the world. He enjoyed singing hymns and entertaining in his home. He loved to spend time with his family.

But it was Werner's devotion to the Anabaptist faith that is his strongest legacy. Attending Bethel College in North Newton, Kansas, as a young adult, Werner began a lifetime of active giving to the Mennonite church and many of its institutions. Two of his passions were Anabaptist/Mennonite history and Mennonite education. For many years he taught an adult Sunday School course on Mennonite history in his church, the Mennonite Church of Normal, Illinois. He served on the boards of both Bethel College and Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary. Werner was a visionary leader who helped initiate the Student Mutual Aid Fund at the Mennonite Church of Normal so that anyone who wanted to attend a Mennonite institution of higher learning could do so without cost preventing them, and Werner was the sponsor and inspiration behind several conferences focusing on worship and the future of the Mennonite church. It is in honor of Werner's deep faith and commitment to Jesus Christ and the Anabaptist teachings that each gift of this foundation is given.