Rev. Harry Yoder, 99, Was Mennonite Pastor, Farmer

The Rev. Harry Yoder died of pneumonia on October 1 at the Mennonite Memorial Home in Bluffton, Ohio. He was 99.

He was married to the late Jean M. Martin for 64 years. Following his retirement in 1974, the Rev. and Mrs. Yoder lived for two years on Martha's Vineyard, where his wife's family had a cottage.

Born August 29, 1904, in Goshen, Ind., he worked on the family farm after eighth grade and eventually graduated from Goshen Academy. Mr. Yoder studied at Bluffton College's Witmarsum Theological Seminary and graduated in 1932. He continued studying theology at the Hartford Theological Seminary in Connecticut. Following graduation in 1935, Rev. Yoder became pastor of the former Silver Street Mennonite Church in Goshen. In addition to his duties as pastor, he drove a school bus and ran a farm with hundred of chickens.

Mr. Yoder went to work for Bluffton College in 1946. After five years, he became assistant to the president at Bluffton College and traveled to churches in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Ohio and Pennsylvania to raise money.

Mr. Yoder was pastor of several Mennonite churches over the years including the Carlock Mennonite Church and the Little North Church in Carlock, Ill.; the Calvary Mennonite Church in Washington, Ill.; and visitation pastor at the First Mennonite Church in Bluffton. He received an honorary doctorate from Bluffton College in 1983.

According to his daughter, Edith Yoder of Vineyard Haven, Mr. Yoder was a people person, enjoyed traveling and meeting people and was known for his sense of humor. He refinished furniture that he collected in his travels through the Midwest in his spare time and was a member of the Bluffton Lions Club.

Surviving are his son, Ronald Yoder, of Portland, Ore.; daughters Edith Yoder of Vineyard Haven and Laura Gliga of Oak Bluffs; brothers Allen Yoder Jr. of Middlebury, Ind. and Dale Yoder of Goshen, Ind.; sister Ruth Leichty of Goshen; four grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

There will be a memorial service at 3 p.m. on Oct. 19 at the First Mennonite Church in Bluffton. The family suggests tributes to Bluffton College, First Mennonite Church or the Mennonite Memorial Home.