Anne Marie Yoder was born April 8, 1930, in Emporia, Kansas, to Dr. John and Ruth Breukelman. She spent her childhood in Emporia, traversing most of the lower 48 states by the time she was 10 with her biologist father and mother. Anne and her younger sister, Betty, were joined by first cousin Neysa Koehler when she was still a young girl, creating a family of three ambitious girls.
After World War II, Anne met a handsome veteran from Peabody, Kansas, named Robert Yoder. They were married Dec. 28, 1947, in Emporia, Kansas. For the next 34 years, they operated the family farm northwest of Peabody. They ventured into SPF hogs in the 1950s and ’60s. Later a Grade A dairy kept the family busy. Five children were born to this union — Carol, Denis, Evan, Felisa, and Geri, who along with Anne and Bob, were a great start on the alphabet, as she’d been told by a friend after the birth of Carol. Anne earned a bachelor’s degree from Bethel College and later a master’s degree from Emporia State University during her time on the farm. Her first teaching position was as a special education instructor in the Hillsboro school system in the mid-1960s.
During their formative years, Anne taught her children the beauty in a simple pearly white onion, the value of a good book, and to have a sense of humor. She never missed an opportunity to watch her children perform, be it in sports, 4H, or musical productions. The Peabody bands under the direction of Robert Marshall were a particular joy. She was a local legend in providing snacks at any gathering involving her kids.
Anne was a lifelong fan of track and field. She would tell stories of watching Al Feuerbach and Wilma Rudolph as they trained at Emporia State for the Olympics. A favorite memory was watching Jim Ryun set track records in Wichita in the ’60s. Anne received an autographed poster from the legendary runner last year, which was a special thrill.
All her life Anne loved theater and could hum along with any of the classic Broadway musicals, a gift she was given by her parents. After moving off the farm in 1983, Anne worked extensively with Music Theater of Wichita coordinating outings for senior citizens, and rarely missed a rehearsal or performance.
While rehabilitating in Parkside Homes in Hillsboro, from a broken hip suffered a month earlier, Anne took a turn for the worse and passed away on Friday, June 5, at Hillsboro Community Medical Center.
Anne was preceded in death by her husband, Robert; parents John and Ruth Breukelman; and granddaughter Shari Hylton. Survivors include children Carol (Blaine) Warkentine, Denis (Kim) Yoder, Evan (Becki) Yoder, Felisa Osburn, and Geri Doll; 13 grandchildren and eight grandchildren; and sisters Betty Schelske (Claire) and Neysa Eberhard.
A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday, June 20, at First Presbyterian Church in Wichita.
Memorials to Music Theater of Wichita in care of Jost Funeral Home, P.O. Box 266, Hillsboro KS 67063. Online condolences at www.jostfuneralhome.com.