Kay Yoder’s Obituary


Kay Yoder Smiling

Kathryn Louise Mulhollen Yoder passed away at her home in the early morning hours of July 25th. It was as she wanted it. Family and friends visited her bedside to serenade her, read to her, and wish her well on her journey. She was happy! Kathryn was all about giving to others and making sure she left a bit of herself on Earth—in paintings, needlepoint, poems, collages, and in many words of wisdom. She was always the teacher and philosopher!

Trained as a home economics teacher, Kay went on to become a substitute teacher at Princeton High School—on too many subjects to mention. She became a full-time English teacher there later in life. She passed on that love for education to her older daughter who became an English teacher.

When Kay retired, she devoted herself to painting, pottery, collages, and poetry. Even later in her life she was a frequent guest at her younger daughter’s writing retreats where she thoroughly enjoyed offering opinions and tips to aspiring authors. She was an author herself, writing for children’s magazines and authoring a poetry book, Portraying My Life in Paint and Poetry.

Kay was born unexpectedly in Lebanon, Pennsylvania, in her grandmother’s bed when her mother was home for her mother’s funeral. She was raised in Portage, Pennsylvania, and moved at a young age to Johnstown. She had a Little Women type of childhood with four sisters, Belle, Mae, Gladys, and Marjorie and a loving mother and father, Lillie and Victor. She played the French horn in orchestra and band, survived the 1936 Johnstown Flood, starred as Elizabeth Bennet in her school play, and danced with Gene Kelly (she loved to tell people that).

It was during the summer of 1942, while attending summer school at Penn State, that she met Wayne Yoder when she asked him to join her bridge party (she loved playing bridge!). A tennis date followed, which is ironic, since they never really played again. They were married two years later and remained married for 64 years—living in Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Princeton, Savannah, and then back to Pennsylvania and Princeton. Their lives included three children—Charlotte, Thom, and Carolyn. They loved to travel and attend plays, musicals, and the symphony. And they continued to play lots of bridge.

Grams to her grandchildren and great-grandchildren, she was known to play badminton, whiffle ball, and golf and also enjoyed traveling to her son’s home for Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners.

At the age of 88, Kay moved to Stonebridge where she lived independently and continued to paint. She took up collage and pottery and poetry and found peace sitting on her porch surrounded by her flowering begonias and listening to the birds.

She is survived by her children and their spouses, Louis Longo and Jean Schluter Yoder; grandchildren Tim Sherwood and his wife, Arleen; Scott Sherwood and his wife, Renee; and Margaret and Elizabeth Yoder; and great-grandchildren Sam and Ben Sherwood and Abigail and Owen Sherwood.

Donations can be made to the Kay Yoder Scholarship (she had such an impact that a scholarship was created in her honor!) at highlightsfoundation.org/kay-yoder-scholarship. A memorial service will be held at the Foundation’s Barn, Boyds Mills, PA. Details to come.

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