Former EMU Staffer Dies

Mary Jane Detweiler

Paul R. Yoder, Sr., a long-time advocate for Eastern Mennonite University, died Tuesday, Nov. 29, at Rockingham Memorial Hospital in Harrisonburg. He was 89.

A native of Elverson, Pa., Yoder, was a farmer 15 years before entering the ministry. He was pastor of Huber Mennonite Church, New Carlisle, Ohio, and Bay Shore Mennonite Church, Sarasota, Fla. He was also interim pastor two years of Ridgeway Mennonite Church, Harrisonburg.

Yoder was associate in church relations at EMU, 1986-1998, and served on the steering committee of the Loyal Royals, an EMU athletic support group, at the time of his death.

"Paul had a remarkable passion for Eastern Mennonite University and a love for youth that grew out of his children’s educational experience at EMU. said Phillip N. Helmuth, executive director of development and director of church relations at EMU. "Paul was an effective representative of the university at Mennonite conference annual assemblies, as a fundraiser to states west of the Mississippi, WEMC radio in the local community and as a long-term volunteer to Loyal Royals."

On Aug. 19, 1939, he married the former Grace Wingard, who survives.

Also surviving are four sons – Paul R. Yoder, Jr., a member of the EMU board of trustees; N. Wayne Yoder, Richard A. (Rick) Yoder, professor of business and economics at EMU; and Larry E. Yoder; their spouses, 10 grandchildren, four step-grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren. Yoder was the last surviving member of his immediate family.

A memorial service was held Dec. 3 at Harrisonburg Mennonite Church, where Yoder was a member.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Paul R. and Grace Yoder Endowment Fund c/o Eastern Mennonite University, Harrisonburg, VA 22802.