The Reverend George William Yoder, 69, of Lancaster, died on Thursday, May 2, 2013 at Hospice & Community Care surrounded by his family. Last September, he and his wife, Nancy A. (Plasterer) Yoder, celebrated their 46th wedding anniversary. He was born in Carlisle, PA, to the late Arthur W. and Margaret (Tilson) Yoder.
George graduated as valedictorian from Carlisle Senior High School in 1962. He received his B.A. in English from the University of Pennsylvania in 1966. In 1971, he was ordained as a Lutheran pastor after receiving his M.Div. from the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia. He was called as Pastor to the following ELCA congregations: Salem Lutheran Church, Oberlin, PA; Grace Lutheran Church, Lancaster, PA; First Lutheran Church, Carlisle, PA; Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, Hasbrouck Heights, NJ; and Zion Lutheran Church, Garfield, NJ. He was an intern supervisor at The Lutheran Church of the Redeemer, Maywood, NJ. In retirement, he served as Interim Associate Pastor at The Lutheran Church of the Redeemer, Lancaster, PA.
Throughout his career, he focused on worship, music, Christian education, evangelism, youth ministry, and the adult catechumenate. In particular, George loved working with people of all ages as a creative teacher. An avid writer, George wrote ‘Where in the World?’ (Augsburg Fortress, 1992), sermons, plays for worship, newsletters, and prayers. He combined art, music, and community engagement while being active in local and global communities. With Project Via Crucis, he fostered a sister parish relationship between Iglesia Luterana Divino Redentor of San Miguel, El Salvador and First Lutheran Church of Carlisle, PA.
George enjoyed rich relationships with family and friends. He loved to dance at weddings. He loved good food. He loved to sing. He enjoyed hiking, swimming and napping at the beach, and his beloved schnauzers. His last sermon was, “God loves you.”
He is survived by his wife and their children: Matthew W. Yoder and his wife Yu-Chen Hwang; Peter J. Yoder and his wife Allison C. Yoder and their children William James and Andrew George; and Katharine E. Yoder and her husband Neal J. Klitsch. He was predeceased by his sister, Marguerite Yoder Degenkolb.
A Funeral Service will be held on Tuesday, May 7, 2013 at 1:30 P.M. at Grace Lutheran Church, 517 North Queen Street, Lancaster, PA with the Reverend Stephen P. Verkouw and the Reverend Jean Kuebler officiating. Viewings will be held Monday, May 6, 2013 at Kearney A. Snyder Funeral Home, 141 E. Orange St., Lancaster, PA 17602 from 6:00 P.M. to 8:00 P.M. and on Tuesday at the church from 12:30 P.M. until the time of the service. In lieu of flowers, contributions in Pastor Yoder’s memory may be made to any of the parishes he served.