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Published: Sunday, 2/9/2003

Postmaster was volunteer firefighter

KANSAS, Ohio - Joyce “Eileen” Yoder, former postmaster and volunteer firefighter here, died Friday at Fremont Memorial Hospital of heart failure. She was 76.

Mrs. Yoder of Kansas lived all her life in northwest Seneca County. She graduated from Jackson Liberty High School in 1944 and married Robert Yoder several months later.

From 1957 until 1968, Mrs. Yoder ran the small post office in Kansas. She was the only one in the office, but she enjoyed chatting with customers.

“Mom was a people person,” her daughter, Eugena Wellington, said.

Mrs. Yoder was committed to helping her community. Her husband was a volunteer firefighter for many years. When there was a shortage of volunteers, Mrs. Yoder and her daughter both volunteered for the squad.

Mrs. Yoder and her daughter trained with a class of six other women in 1972. They were among the first women in the state to become volunteer firefighters, her daughter said. Mrs. Yoder was the oldest member of the class.

“We had to go through the very same training as the men,” her daughter said. “We had to learn to climb the ladders and carry the hoses. ... we carried 300-pound dummies.”

Mrs. Yoder volunteered for the department for about 10 years.

She also volunteered for several years with the Kansas Sunflowers 4-H Club when her daughters were young. She enjoyed a variety of activities with the young club members. On an outing to a roller skating rink, she even strapped on skates and participated. Her daughter said it was a daring move for a middle-aged woman at the time.

She was a member of the Kansas United Methodist Church, where she formerly taught Sunday school.

Mrs. Yoder led the Kansas Majorettes for several years in the 1950s. The group performed at area parades and celebrations.

She belonged to the Kansas Firemen's Auxiliary and was the secretary of Kansas Cemetery for 18 years.

Mrs. Yoder enjoyed crocheting and taking camping trips with her husband. The couple loved to travel and hunt for mushrooms to use in cooking.

Surviving are her husband, Robert; daughters, Sharon Barnett and Eugena Wellington; brothers, Nash and Robert McHaffie; sister, Thelma Little; four grandchildren, and one great-grandchild.

Services will be at 10:30 a.m. tomorrow in the Harrold-Floriana Funeral Home, Fostoria, where the body will be after 2 p.m. today.

The family requests tributes to Kansas United Methodist Church or the Kansas Fire Department.



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