in loving memory of
LaVerne Ruth Zehr Yoder
August 26, 1938 – December 14, 2022
Friday, January 13, 7:00 p.m.
Community reception for family, friends, educators, neighbors
at Kyger Funeral Home (3173 Spotswood Trail).
Saturday, January 14, 2023 at 9:45 a.m.
Attend in-person at Park View Mennonite Church,
then join a food, fellowship, and memory-sharing time
afterward in the fellowship hall.
Or view the service live, or later, by clicking on the video image below.
Please sign the guest book below to indicate that you have viewed the service.
Slides of LaVerne's life
LaVerne Ruth Zehr Yoder, Early Childhood Educator and Leader, 84, of Harrisonburg, Virginia, passed away on Wednesday, December 14, 2022, peacefully in her home surrounded by her family. She was born on August 26, 1938, to the late Pastor Elias M. Zehr and Martha Widrick Zehr in Lowville, New York.
LaVerne graduated from the Lowville Academy and Central School in 1956 in up-state New York. In 1963 she graduated from Eastern Mennonite University in Harrisonburg, VA, with a BS degree in Elementary Education.
She was united in marriage in 1960 to Lee M. Yoder, formerly of Belleville, Pennsylvania for 62 years, who survives. LaVerne is survived by her three children, Lawrence R. (Bonnie Nyce) of Broadway, VA; Lela Faye Yoder of Harrisonburg, VA; and Lawson F. (Mary Pimentel) of Harrisonburg, VA; seven grandchildren, Janae Yoder, Jordyn Yoder, Patrick W (Navy) Graber, Liesl (Seth) Dandurand, Larissa Graber, Sophia Yoder and Valentina Yoder; eight siblings Eileen (Elmer) Lehman, Pauline Myers, Ralph (Betty) Zehr, Milton (Dorothy) Zehr, Margaret (Emanual) Gingerich, Carolyn (Milford) Lyndaker, Joseph (Malinda) Zehr, Donna (Gerry) Keener; and two sisters-in-law Pearl Zehr and Pauline Zehr.
LaVerne was preceded in death by two brothers, Floyd Zehr and Walter Zehr, one sibling-in-law, Homer Myers an infant sister, Judith Marie Zehr and nephew Eric Zehr.
As an Early Childhood Educator and Leader, LaVerne taught at Belleville Mennonite Elementary School in Belleville, PA, where she met her future husband. She taught at A. M. Kulp Elementary School in Hatfield, PA; Pleasant Valley Elementary School in Harrisonburg, VA and Grottoes Elementary and South River Elementary Schools, Grottoes, VA. She created two new American Kindergarten Schools from scratch at The MISR Language School (2000-2001) and the Narmer American College (2001-2008) both in Cairo, Egypt and she supervised the Early Childhood Grades at The American Schools in Egypt and at The American School of Vietnam (February 2012-2013) in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.
In her professional career, LaVerne taught Elementary School for 25 years in Rockingham County (VA) Schools and for ten years outside of Rockingham County, with 35 years of educational work and early childhood leadership in Pennsylvania, Virginia, Cairo, Egypt and Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Her educational work and leadership were featured in Living, an every-home paper, and published in Harrisonburg, VA, in 1998. She advised parents: “When parents have given their children lots of experiences before kindergarten, then they come (into the classroom) with big bright eyes and lots of curiosity”. She encouraged parents to “help the children to be aware of their surroundings. Point out what they are seeing, hearing, touching, smelling, tasting—talking to them from earliest days.”
LaVerne loved to travel, enjoy new experiences, and explore historical sites, and she always held a welcoming spirit with everyone she met. Together with her husband, Lee, LaVerne traveled to 42 countries and maintained her international contacts with teachers and parents.
LaVerne loved the out-of-doors: boating on rivers, identifying wild animals (on a Safari in Kenya Masai Mara) and tame animals (for several years she raised registered Shih Tzu puppies); and hiking mountains. Of note, she hiked Old Rag Mountain in Virginia, Mount Sinai in Egypt for an early morning excursion to reach the top by the Easter Sunday Sunrise in 2001, and the “Great Wall” in China in 2013.
LaVerne was a skilled educator, gifted mother, creative hostess, voracious reader, talented home chef, green-thumb gardener and hobby florist. Her family, including siblings, children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews were always a high priority for her, in the context of her Christian Faith, life and service. She was a reader of the writings by Father Richard Rohr, Franciscan Friar, in his Daily Meditation Center for Action and Contemplation. Summer vacations with family and friends were a joy for her, including trips to North Myrtle Beach, SC., and family travels, which she planned for many local and international settings. She was active in her three children’s development with positive affirmation and encouragement while supporting her husband in his educational leadership work in the United States, Cairo, Egypt and Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.
A Community Reception for Educators, Family, Friends and Neighbors will be held at the Kyger Funeral Home, in Harrisonburg, Friday, January 13, 2023, 7:00 pm and a Celebration of Life Service will be held at the Park View Mennonite Church, 1600 North College Avenue in Harrisonburg, Saturday, January 14, 2023, 9:45 am with Lunch to follow in the Church Fellowship Hall. To benefit and affirm future educational teachers and leaders, memorial contributions may be made to “The Lee M and LaVerne Zehr Yoder Endowed Scholarship” at Eastern Mennonite University, 1200 Park Road, Harrisonburg, VA 22802-9928.