Dr. Don Yoder, (1921-2015)–in Memoriam

Dr. Don Yoder, 93, of Devon, Pennsylvania, passed away at his home of natural causes on Tuesday, August 11th. He was born on August 27th, 1921, in Altoona, Blair County, to the late Jacob H. and Ora M. (Cronister) Yoder.

Dr. Yoder was Emeritus Professor of Folklife Studies, Religious Studies, and American Studies at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, where he taught for forty years (1956-1996). He introduced the term “Folklife” into academic use and helped to found the Center for American Folklife at the Library of Congress.

His influence was also important for the Fife Folklife Archives at Utah State University, Logan Utah, where he shared his work. It was here that I first learned the extent of his work in German-American genealogy, read his books and articles, and became a follower of his philosophy of the influence and importance of culture and folklife as a background for the building of accurate family trees.

In his early career, Dr. Yoder he taught at Franklin and Marshal College in Lancaster, and later at Muhlenberg College in Pennsylvania. Both of these colleges have substantial collections for the study of Pennsylvania German ancestry.

Dr. Yoder wrote seventeen books, and countless articles on Pennsylvania Dutch folk culture and ancestry. He encouraged European archivists to index and publish records that would document Pennsylvania Dutch families in their places of origin. And he addressed at least three generations of genealogists at seminars and conferences across the country (including me) and in Europe.
His memorial service will be scheduled at a time to be determined at the Friends Meeting in Haverford, Pennsylvania. – See more at: http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/readingeagle/obituary.aspx?pid=175513148#sthash.ePx7Pnhi.dpuf

Your favorite genealogist, Arlene Eakle http://arleneeakle.com

PS Dr. Donald Martin notified me of Dr. Yoder’s passing. They were friends of many years. And as I contemplated their influences in my life, and my skills in family history and genealogy, without them and their work, mine would have been quite different. I’ll always be grateful.

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