For those of you who have been involved in the Community Development Society for a long time, the name Del Yoder probably rings a bell. He was quite involved in the Society until his retirement from West Virginia University about 15 years ago or so.
Unfortunately, Del, 83, of Morgantown, WV, died Jan. 30, in Bali, Indonesia. He was hiking in the green hills near Ubud when he slipped at the rim of a deep ravine and was instantly killed. Delmar Ray Yoder was born in Kalona, Iowa. He is survived by his wife, Linda; three sons; and four grandchildren.
An early volunteer experience at Calling Lake, Alberta, Canada, set a pattern for his life. After receiving a degree in biology in 1961, from Eastern Mennonite University, Del and his wife went to Timor, Indonesia, where they managed a program of village-level agricultural education and community development. This program introduced a high-yield corn seed that helped the early season food shortage.
Del earned his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees at the University of Wisconsin before going to work at Iowa State University as an Extension Community and Economic development Specialist. His next appointment was at West Virginia University in a similar role. During the years in WV, he created Owl Creek Farm, where he did mixed farming and rescued and restored old log buildings. He is best known for his strawberries. He was a member of the Clinton District Volunteer Fire Department. Del was an officer in the Community Development Society, a member of the Rural Sociological Society, active in the North American Strawberry Growers Association and a regular participant at the Creative Problem Solving Institute. He was a lifelong member of the Mennonite Church.
A remembrance service was held in Bali on Feb. 3, attended by friends from many nations, followed by a cremation. A celebration of his life will be scheduled later in Morgantown. Donations in his memory are invited to two of the many causes dear to his heart: care for the environment and teaching peace for a better world. Contact The Nature Conservancy, at nature.org, or the Center for Justice and Peacebuilding, at emu.edu/cjp. Condolences may be sent to the family at: 640 Goshen Road, Morgantown, WV 26508-2431.