James Yoder, 82

James E. Yoder, 82, of Sturgis, Mich., and Weslaco, Texas, passed away Saturday, Jan. 16, 2010, surrounded by his family at the Knapp Medical Center in Weslaco.

He was born Aug. 11, 1927, in Nottawa, Mich., a son to the late Ernest and Lovina (Eicher) Yoder.

Jim resided in the Sturgis area most of his life. In 1950 he married Jackie Bowen. She preceded him in death on March 23, 1999. On Sept. 25, 2005, he married Mary Reed.

He was proud to have served his country in the U.S. Army from 1950-1952 during the Korean War stationed at Fort Bragg, N.C. Following his honorable discharge from the Army he and Jackie returned to Sturgis and resided there and raised their family. Following their retirement he and Jackie began spending their winters in the Rio Grande Valley in Texas. Jim and Mary were currently living in Sturgis and also Winter Texans in Weslaco.

In the 1950s and ’60s he was a member of many championship fast pitch softball teams. He was a very talented southpaw first baseman. Jim continued his love of sports encouraging and cheering loudly at his sons athletic events. For many years he umpired Little League Majors baseball games in Sturgis. He loved to run the two lane roads while traveling and took Mary down some interesting roads.

Jim was always willing to give of his time to help others and had volunteered at Thurston Woods Village and was a driver for the American Cancer Society in the Valley. He attended the Locust Grove Mennonite Church in Burr Oak.

His care and compassion for all his family and friends will be greatly missed but he loved the Lord and has gone home in victory. He would want us to celebrate his life.

He is survived by his loving and dedicated wife, Mary; one daughter, Linda (Doug) Large of Sturgis; five sons, Doug (Sue) Yoder of Austin, Texas, Bob (Marilee) Yoder of Sturgis, Steve (his friend Sheryl Putnam) Yoder of Sturgis, Stan (Vicki) Yoder of White Pigeon, Tim (his fiancée Vicky Singleton) Yoder of Sturgis; one step-son, Jeff Moline of Garita, N.M.; two step-daughters, Michelle (Scott) Carr of Sturgis and Alecia Frutig of LaGrange, Ind.; 21 grandchildren; 11 great-grandchildren; one sister, Mary Ellen Schragg of Kalamazoo and many nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death parents; wife; two sisters, Lena Reed and Barb Weber; and one brother, Ernest Yoder.

In accordance with his wishes, cremation has taken place. The family will receive friends from 11 a.m. –

1:15 p.m. Saturday at the First United Methodist Church in Sturgis where a memorial service celebrating the life of James Yoder will begin at 1:30 p.m. Saturday. The Rev. Robert Keim and the Rev. Deb Johnson will officiate. Placement of the ashes in the Columbarium at Oak Lawn Cemetery in Sturgis will follow the service. Full military honors will be conferred by Captain John J. Kelley Post #1355 VFW and the U.S. Army Honor Guard.

The Hackman Family Funeral Homes – Rosenberg Chapel of Sturgis is handling the arrangements.

The family suggests those wishing to make a memorial donation in Mr. Yoder’s memory consider the American Cancer Society, 1400 West Milham, Kalamazoo, MI 49091 or St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, TN 38105.

The obituary is also at www.hackmanfamilyfuneralhome.com where personal messages of support may be left for the family.

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