COLUMBIA CITY â€” Joe W. Yoder, 71, of Cape Coral, Fla., a retired Whitley County Consolidated School teacher, died Wednesday, January 19, 2011 after battling cancer for nine months.
He was born Oct. 8, 1939 in Columbia City, the only child of Whitley County educators Harry T. and Hallie Z. White Yoder.
His formative years were spent on the Yoder farm in Washington Township.
He attended the Washington Center School and graduated from Columbia City High School with the Class of 1957.
He received his bachelorâ€™s degree from Manchester College in 1961, completed his masterâ€™s degree at St. Francis University and had additional degree work at Indiana-Purdue Fort Wayne.
His first teaching position was at the Etna-Troy School, then Thorncreek Township School and for many years, he taught the fourth grade at Marshall School and also the gifted and talented, retiring in 1995, completing thirty-three years.
On July 5, 1969, he was united in marriage to Dee Kreglow from Ohio, whom he met during his college days at Manchester.
They made their first home at Wawasee Lake, moving to the Yoder family farm south of Columbia City after his parents moved to town. Since 1996, they have made their home in Cape Coral.
He was always interested in the performing arts, produced and performed in summer stock theatre, was involved in writing the performance objectives in performing arts for the State of Indiana.
He was a founding member of the Wawasee Playhouse, a member of The Sounds of Florida Chorus, performed in the Cape Coral Theatre Group and judged competition on the Stars of Tomorrow. He spent five years as an arts and crafts counselor at Camp Winnebago in Maine.
Joe always felt connected to his community, especially his classmates of the CCHS Class of 1957, and using his writing ability and great sense of humor to publish and mail the class newsletters.
He established the Yoder Memorial Art Scholarship, which was awarded annually at the Columbia City High School with the art being placed on display at the Peabody Library.
Joeâ€™s family invites his friends, colleagues and former students to an informal celebration of Joeâ€™s life Friday, June 24 at the Smith and Sons Coach Room, 205 North Main Street, Columbia City.
The celebration will be from 1 to 3 p.m. with a brief tribute at 2 p.m.
Family members attending will be his wife, Dee; son, Michael Yoder and his wife, Lynn Hoffman of Green Bay, Wisc.; a daughter, Shannon Berry and her husband, Richard of Salt Lake City, Utah; and his three grandchildren, Jacob, Abigail and Elliott Berry will also be present to honor their Papa Joeâ€™s life.
Memorials may be made to the CCHS Alumni Association in care of the Whitley County Community Foundation.