CANTON -- Abner A. Yoder, 84, born Oct. 5, 1932, into an Amish family near Charm. Abner was brought up in the Amish church. Despite this, he would frequent Cleveland Indians baseball games or would listen to the radio broadcasts of the games in secret.
Abner would tell of a time when his father was working in their barn and unknowingly nearly pitchforked the motor bike Abner and one of his brothers had hidden in the hay. He would recall that the pitchfork must have been mere inches from hitting it with every stroke. Abner later upgraded to a car, which he kept hidden in the woods of his elder brother's house.
It wasn't that Abner didn't know the rules or didn't care, he simply found it easier to do what he wanted and then confess to it later on. When Abner left the Amish church in his early 20s, what pushed him to do so was a desire to learn more about what the Bible said regarding the Holy Spirit.
Eager to know more about God, and equipped with an eighth-grade education, Abner set out into the world. He found people with a similar background and interest in the Lord and together they pursued the knowledge of the Lord and developed their faith, a faith that Abner carried with him for the rest of his life.
Abner then started a business in 1963, Stark Truss Co., and became involved in a group called Full Gospel Businessmen, and eventually served as president of the local group. Working relentlessly in his business, over the years he was able to grow it and used the proceeds to fund ministry and missionary work around the globe. He even started a foundation that has helped start orphanages in India, a hospital in Guatemala and many other projects. What Abner has given over the years and the impact that it has had is incalculable. Thousands of people have benefitted from his generosity and kindness.
Abner retired in the mid-2000s and took up golfing and fishing. He spent part of his time in Florida and part in Ohio with his family. He passed on March 22, 2017. He was preceded in death by his parents, Abraham and Mary Yoder; and his brothers, Henry and John Yoder.
Surviving are his wife of 56 years, Esther (Hostetler) Yoder; their children, Wendy (Mark) Spillman, Janice (Jay) Dickey, Javan Yoder and Stephen (Tracy) Yoder; 11 grandchildren; four great-grandchildren; and his sisters, Anna Miller and Fannie (Jonas) Miller.
Abner dedicated his life to the Lord and to building the church here on earth. His relationship with God is what guided him in his life, and he gave God all of the credit for his success, knowing that he could never have done it all by himself. His legacy lives on through his family, Stark Truss Co., and the foundation he created. The influence he had was immense, and the seed that he has sown will continue to be harvested for generations to come.
Funeral services were Tuesday, March 28, 2017, at 11 a.m. at Faith Family Church, 8200 Freedom Ave., NW, North Canton, with Pastor Michael Cameneti officiating. Visitation was Monday, March 27, from 2-7 p.m. at the church and Tuesday from 10-11 a.m., also at the church.
The family asks that memorial donations be made to the Abner and Esther Yoder Charitable Foundation, P.O. Box 80469, Canton 44708. The Reed Funeral Home North Canton Chapel is handling arrangements. Please visit www.reedfuneralhome.com to send condolences.