Obituary

Ruth Yoder

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WEST LIBERTY – Ruth Ellen Yoder, 92, of West Liberty, passed away on January 31, 2015, at Mary Rutan Hospital after a short time of rapidly declining health. She was born in West Liberty to Earl M. and Barbara Allgyer Yoder on May 24, 1922. Her four siblings, Olive, Roy, Stanley and an infant brother, Byron, preceded her in death. Ruth Ellen had been living at Green Hills Retirement Community where she enjoyed the camaraderie of friends and relatives.

Ruth Ellen earned her teaching certificate at Goshen College and began her career in 1944. She and a helper taught 56 first graders that year. During the 20-plus years when she returned to teach at West Liberty-Salem Schools, she earned her Bachelor's degree at Ohio Northern University, and none of this creative, enlightened teacher's students failed to learn to read.

Ruth Ellen and Gail Hubert Yoder, high school sweethearts, were married on June 5, 1946. They moved to Gail's family farm where he farmed and where he and Ruth Ellen raised their three sons, Jerold (Susan), La Mesa CA, Samuel (Arleta), Bristol IN, and Charles (Deborah), Marion OH. Their family also includes beloved grandchildren, Simon (Barbara), Adam, Abigail (Joshua) Damron, Joel, Hannah, Naomi, and Alex, and four great-grandchildren. Gail passed away on April 10, 2011, at the age of 89.

Ruth Ellen, a musician at heart, was given piano lessons at an early age and became an accomplished pianist and, as an adult, an organist. She graciously and gladly used her talent as an accompanist at South Union Mennonite Church where she was a member. Even into her late eighties, she continued to be an organist for church services. She was the accompanist for the West Liberty Choral Society and accompanied its performances of the "Messiah" for many years.

At South Union Mennonite Church, Ruth Ellen formed and directed children's choirs, wrote and directed Christmas pageants, established and directed a chime choir. She frequently adapted musical arrangements to fit the character of these groups. For many years, she taught Sunday School classes and was president of the Women's Missionary and Service Auxiliary.

As the alto and bass singers along with Roy and Wilma Yoder (Ruth Ellen's brother and Gail's sister), Ruth Ellen and Gail formed the Yoder Quartet that sang at weddings, funerals, banquets and other special events during a span of forty years. She also was the impetus behind the Yoder Family Singers, composed of the Yoder Quartet's families, while the children were growing up, and which sang at churches across Ohio and into Pennsylvania and Canada.

Ruth Ellen had a special knack for composing lyrics to be sung to well-known tunes, and many celebrations were enlivened by the singing of her humorous renditions!

Ruth Ellen was also known for her culinary skill. Her moist carrot cake and eagerly anticipated banana salad, served in a green bowl, always appeared at family reunions. The extended family's ice cream suppers were even sweeter thanks to the rich butterscotch sauce that came from her kitchen, and no one could fry farm fresh eggs better than she.

During their retirement years, Ruth Ellen and Gail and their siblings visited the western United States, western Canada, Newfoundland, Europe and China. Often they traveled in minivans and not only relished the opportunities to learn about and see the world but also treasured their time together.

To know Ruth Ellen was to know joy! Welcoming and warm, she had the ability to make people of all ages feel special. She was kind and jolly with an infectious laugh. She expected a lot of herself, expected no less from her family and students but was always encouraging! Throughout her life, she attempted to live as a child of God, a precept that had guided her parents and grandparents and that had been taught and modeled for her. "Remember who you are…." is an adage that has been passed down through generations to guide and perhaps to chasten! Ruth Ellen's well-lived life reminds us to use our talents, to look on the bright side, to be hospitable and charitable, to be involved and engaged in the circumstances in which we find ourselves, to make sweet, cold meadow tea when life needs sweetening.

Memorial contributions may be to the South Union Mennonite Church, 56 St. Rt. 508, West Liberty, Ohio 43357, or Mennonite Central Committee, 21 South 12th Street, P.O. Box 500, Akron, PA 17501.

Pastor Matthew Williams and Bishop George Bashore will officiate a memorial service on Saturday, March 14, 2015, at 11 a.m. at the South Union Mennonite Church, West Liberty, where friends may call 10-11 a.m. Private family burial will be in Fairview Cemetery, West Liberty.

EICHHOLTZ DARING & SANFORD FUNERAL HOME, West Liberty, assisted the family with arrangements.

Condolences may be expressed at www.edsfh.com.


Funeral Home
Eichholtz Daring & Sanford Funeral Home
101 Zanesfield Road
West Liberty, OH 43357
(937) 465-3940
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Published in Weekly Currents from Feb. 6 to Feb. 7, 2015