Neta Faye Yoder, 90, died April 22, 2023. She lived in Wellman, Iowa, for 24 years and in Japan for 35 years. She was a member of West Union Mennonite Church, Parnell, Iowa.
She was born Dec. 27, 1932, in rural Perryton, Texas, to Milton and Effie (Kauffman) Sweigart.
She attended Hesston Academy and College and worked as a teacher at a country school in Yoder, Kan. Later she attended Goshen College.
On Aug. 2, 1953, she married Marvin K. Yoder of Wellman.
In 1961, they moved to Japan with their children, as missionaries for Mennonite Board of Missions. They lived in Tokyo, Nakashibetsu, Sapporo and Ashoro. They retired from the mission field in 1996 and moved to Wellman.
Neta Faye gained a remarkable command of the Japanese language and used it to spread her warmth, compassion and humor. She immersed herself in Japanese culture, collecting ceramics as an art form, learning skills of Japanese cooking and taking lessons in flower arrangement.
She taught English and cooking classes to women’s groups and taught English at Hokusei University, Sapporo. She served on the Executive Committee and Peace Committee for Japan Mennonite Christian Church Conference and served on the school board for Hokkaido International School.
She also devoted her life to raising her four children, imparting on them an identity as Mennonites through her storytelling, parental guidance and cooking from back home. She entertained them with whimsical poems recited from memory and sang songs and read stories to them every night.
After the children were grown, she and Marvin pastored a congregation in Ashoro.
After retiring to Wellman, Neta Faye served as an elder at West Union. She served in the Iowa-Nebraska Mennonite Conference on its Executive Committee of Mennonite Women Program Committee as its spiritual life and wellness secretary.
She was a docent at Kalona Historical Village and cashier and greeter at Crowded Closet in Iowa City.
She is survived by her husband, Marvin, of Kalona; daughter Deborah (Robert) Kartheiser of Rockford, Ill.; sons Stephen (Karen) Kreider Yoder of San Francisco and Jay (Diane) Yoder of Chicago; seven grandchildren; two great-grandchildren; and a sister, Donna Moreland of Arthur, Ill.
She was predeceased by daughter Rebecca Mae Yoder and brothers Marvin Sweigart and Earl Sweigart.