PENOBSCOT – Peter D. Yoder, 75, died of a rare and prolonged blood disorder Sept. 5, 2012, at home with his family. He was born Aug. 10, 1937, in New York City, the son of Theodore O. and Helen D. (Potts) Yoder.
Peter grew up in Nashville, Tenn., and graduated from Westtown School in Pennsylvania, class of 1955 and Hamilton College in New York, class of 1960, and did graduate study at the University of Maine, Orono, in the mid-1960s. He married Judith Young of Rockport, in 1959. He coached soccer and taught at Fryeburg Academy in Maine, 1960-1962, and Oakwood School in New York, 1962-1968. He was assistant head of school and director of development at Poughkeepsie Day School in New York where he organized the addition of grades 10-12 from 1968 to 1971. He moved to Penobscot in 1971 and worked for Helen and Scott Nearing and for H.O.M. E. craft cooperative in Orland. In 1973 he married Carolyn A. Merriell. They recently celebrated 39 years of marriage. He worked as assistant administrator for Downeast Health Services, 1973-1977, and founded South Penobscot Wood Works with partner David Larson in 1973, which became Peter’s principal workplace from 1977 to 1981. He returned to school administration as headmaster of Adirondack Mountain School, Long Lake, N.Y., 1981-1982; headmaster of Olney Friends School, Barnesville, Ohio, 1982-1985; and director of admissions at Moorestown Friends School in New Jersey, 1985-1987. He returned to Maine in 1987 and resumed woodworking and construction work with David Larson, retiring in 2000. His volunteer work included serving on Penobscot School Committee, George Stevens Academy Joint Board and Board of Trustees, and on the Washington Hancock Community Action Program Agency Board in the 1970s to early 1980s. Later he served on the boards of Bay School, Blue Hill; Downeast Health Services, and Maine Initiatives. He was clerk of the board of Olney Friends School as it was restructured from 1999 to 2008. Peter enjoyed organic gardening with initial influence from Helen and Scott Nearing, camping in Baxter State Park with friends, and fly fishing in Pennsylvania and northern Maine. He completed many construction projects including his new home in 2007. National news and connecting with extended family, old friends and former students continued to engage his interest. Working in the woods was a constant activity, and he was known for his neatly cut and stacked firewood. People asked him if he used a plumb bob and level while putting up the piles. Some credited his Swiss genes.
Surviving in addition to his wife, Carolyn A. (Merriell) Yoder, are his children, Tom Yoder and his wife, Colleen, of Durham, N.H., Ted Yoder and his wife, Michelle, of Penobscot, and Jennifer DeJoy and her husband, Derek, of Belfast; five grandchildren, Lucas Yoder, Tate Yoder, Aidan Yoder, Isabella DeJoy and Marlee Yoder; one sister, Anne Paxson Vogt and her husband, Kenneth W., of Blue Hill; and a niece and nephew, Elizabeth Kreitzer of Ellsworth, and Robert Vogt of Livermore, Calif., and their families. Special thanks to friends, relatives and caregivers who helped Peter to journey well through this difficult time.
Peter requested that there be no funeral.