Sept. 11, 2019

Amos J. Yoder, 102, of rural Grove City died Wednesday, Sept. 11, at his home in Grove City. Funeral service was Sunday, Sept. 15, at the Paynesville Evangelical Free Church in rural Paynesville. Visitation was Saturday at Paynesville Evangelical Free Church in rural Paynesville. Burial was in Burr Oak Cemetery in rural Grove City. Services entrusted to Johnson Funeral Home in Paynesville.

Amos J. Yoder was born Nov. 26, 1916, to John A. and Barbara (Yoder) Yoder, in Custer County, Oklahoma.

Oklahoma always had a special place in his memories, especially attending Deer Creek School with Native American and Amish children and farming during the Great Depression. Amos was known as a good horseman who could make sharp corners with a horse and plow.

Amos was baptized September of 1935, and became a member of Old Order Amish church in Custer County.

The Second World War brought huge changes to his life. He registered as a conscientious objector. When the letter came, he rode his horse 7 miles to Weatherford early in the morning, then turned the horse loose to walk home by itself while Amos boarded the bus to report for Civilian Public Service (CPS).

He was told he would be gone for a matter of months, but it was five years before the war ended and he was free to go home. During this time, he served in a variety of CPS camps in the West where he served as camp cook and also worked in soil conservation, forestry and dairy farming.

After CPS, Amos was asked to serve with Mennonite Central Committee in Paraguay. He and 5 other young men took a freighter to Brazil and then went upriver to Paraguay, where Russian Mennonite refugees were being resettled.

Amos returned to the United States and, in an unusual step for an Amish man, attended Eastern Mennonite College in Harrisonburg, Virginia, and received a bachelor’s degree in German in 1954. During breaks from college, Amos would visit his college friend Moses Beachy in Iowa, where he was introduced to Sara Miller, daughter of Adam and Anna Miller.

Amos and Sara were married at her parents’ home in Kalona, Iowa, June 15, 1954. This union was blessed with six children. They were married for more than 59 years before Sara passed away in 2013.

In the years following his marriage, Amos earned a master’s degree at the State University of Iowa. He also taught school in a number of different states and communities, including two different Hutterite colonies in Montana.

The family moved to Grove City, Minnesota, in 1972. Amos farmed for a number of years, then continued raising various animals until well into his nineties. He remained in Minnesota until his death.

Amos was known for his curious mind, his love of reading and his prolific letter-writing. He was fascinated by different cultures and loved talking to strangers and figuring out their national heritage.

After Sara’s passing, Amos lived with his son Marcus and his wife Anna. He spent many hours writing a history of his life. These stories were compiled and published into a book called A Chirp From the Grass Roots.

Amos is survived by his six children: Philip of Newberg, Oregon, Marcus (Anna) of Grove City, Fred (Loraine) of Corn, Oklahoma, Rebecca (Rod Barbo) of Chicago, Illinois, Dorcas (Paul Smucker) of Harrisburg, Oregon, and Margaret (Chad Koehn) of Cheraw, South Carolina; 17 grandchildren; three great-grandchildren; brother John Yoder, Jr.; and many nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his parents; five siblings; his wife Sara; and one grandson Leonard Yoder.

Recommended for you