Theo Yoder, 87, of Archbold, OH, passed away peacefully on Nov. 20, 2022 at Fairlawn Haven.
She had been looking forward to the day that God would take her home.
Born Theodosia Ruth Hartzler on June 25, 1935 in Lewistown, PA to H. Harold and Dorothy (Baker) Hartzler, Theo was the second of three children.
She grew up in a country home outside Goshen, IN, where she helped in the family garden and prepared food for the farmers’ market.
During her father’s sabbatical years, the family lived in Bluffton, OH and Tucson, AZ.
Theo graduated from Hesston Academy in 1953 and from Goshen College in 1957 with a degree in Nursing.
At Goshen College, she met the love of her life, Elvin Dale (Ed) Yoder. They married in 1956 and were the parents of four children.
They were both active members of Zion Mennonite Church (Archbold, OH) since 1965.
As a registered nurse, Theo worked at Elkhart Hospital (IN) for 8 years, Fairlawn Haven Nursing Home (Archbold, OH) for 8 years, and the Fulton County Health Center (Wauseon, OH) for 22 years.
Helping to deliver babies and caring for them in the nursery was one of her passions. In her 60s, she fulfilled a childhood dream—to be a missionary nurse—when she volunteered with Medical Ministry International in five Latin American countries.
At Zion, Theo was choir member, committee member, MYF sponsor, Sunday School teacher, founder of the nursery, active participant in women’s service groups and helped to establish a Student Aid Fund along with her husband in Sept. 1982.
Theo also volunteered for numerous organizations, including Meals on Wheels, Fulton County Human Services, Little Eden Camp, Fairlawn Haven Auxiliary, Hospice, Hands of Grace, Care & Share, and Ten Thousand Villages.
She provided childcare for her grandchildren and others. She lived out her faith by helping others. She was known for her kindness, hospitality, and delicious cinnamon rolls.
Theo enjoyed walking, swimming, reading, entertaining guests, sewing, gardening, and music. She also valued studying the Bible and nurturing her spiritual life.
Theo is survived by her husband, Ed, and their children and spouses: Patricia, married to Douglas Schmucker; Terry, married to Joan Gotwals; Cynthia, married to Robert Gravelin; and Sandra. In addition, she leaves seven grandchildren: Jason (Melanie), Natalie (Stephen), Kimberly (Jordan), Jeremy (Carmen), David (Samantha), Alyse (Abe), and Austin; and nine great grandchildren: Caitlin, Nora, Isaiah, Ruth, Samuel, Audra, Amy, Naomi, and Emma. She is also survived by a brother, Jonathon Hartzler (Judy Bishop), sister-in-law, Rachel Nafziger Hartzler, Ed’s three sisters—Lois (Lewis Brubacher), Dorothy (John Nyce), and Evelyn; nieces and nephews—nine on the Hartzler side, and seven on the Yoder side.
Preceding Theo in death were her parents and her brother, Harold E Hartzler.
Theo’s family is grateful to the staff at Fairlawn Haven and many others who cared for her over the past seven years.
Visitation will be held at Zion Mennonite Church on Monday, Nov. 28, 2022 from 4:30 – 7:00 pm and on Tuesday, Nov. 29 from 10:00 – 10:45 am. A memorial service will follow on Tuesday at 11:00 am. The family invites you to join them in the church fellowship hall immediately following the service. A luncheon will be served, and there will be opportunity for fellowship together.
In lieu of flowers, the family welcomes memorial gifts to Zion Mennonite Church for either Student Aid or Mennonite Central Committee. www.ShortFuneralHome.com
“We would like to express our gratitude for your prayers and expressions of love and support.”
–The family of Theo Yoder
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