Cover photo for Gloria Yoder's Obituary
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1957 Gloria 2024

Gloria Yoder

November 28, 1957 — May 27, 2024


Gloria Yoder passed away peacefully surrounded by her family on Monday, May 27th after battling endometrial cancer for two years. Gloria Jean Vance was born on November 28, 1957, to Ardis and Elaine (Shackelton) Vance in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

She graduated valedictorian from Alburnett HS in 1976. Gloria attended Grace College, graduating in 1980. She started teaching Business and later taught Math at Iowa Mennonite School. She met Galen in the fall of 1980 and they were married on June 11, 1982. She taught one more year before starting a family and staying home. When their first son Caleb was 2½ years old, their second son, Zachary Sean, was stillborn. That was a very difficult time for the family, but they received much support from their church and community. They were blessed later with three daughters, Rebecca, Maria, and Nicole.

During the years that Gloria stayed home to take care of her family, she taught piano lessons and became a 4-H leader. Gloria served in many capacities over the years at West Union Mennonite Church. Gloria had a lifelong interest in music. She enjoyed playing piano, and later learned to play the organ. 

In 1998 she had the chance to return to IMS (now Hillcrest Academy) teaching Math part-time until retiring in 2019. In retirement, she enjoyed directing the Iowa Mennonite Museum in Kalona. After Nicole went to college, they began hosting international students who went to IMS. Over the years they hosted 10 different students, staying from two months to two years. 

Gloria deeply loved her six grandchildren and was constantly doing special things for them. She also enjoyed flower gardening and traveling. Some of her favorite trips were attending the Mennonite World Conference in Zimbabwe with Galen, visiting Caleb in Spain, Honduras, and Ecuador, traveling to Ireland with her siblings, dad, and her dad’s cousin, and taking an Alaska cruise with Galen, her sister Carol and her brother-in-law, Karl.

Gloria leaves behind her husband, Galen, of almost 42 years; a son, Caleb (Beth) Yoder of Minneapolis, MN and three daughters, Rebecca (Tristan) Rensema of Seattle, WA, Maria (Matt) Swartzentruber of Harrisonburg, VA, Nicole (Katie) Yoder of Reston, VA; six grandchildren - Austin and Josiah Yoder, Lydia, Eli, and Molly Swartzentruber, and Will Yoder. She also leaves behind her siblings - Gaylen (Carol) Vance of Shueyville, IA, Carol (Karl) Hagen of Alma, MI, Anita (Dan) Buck of New Paris, IN  and James (Renee) Vance of Port Huron, MI.; and eighteen nieces and nephews.  She was preceded in death by her son Zachary, her parents, and her brother-in-law Marcus Yoder.

Visitation will be from 1:00 to 7:00 pm Friday, May 31, 2024, at the Yoder-Powell Funeral Home in Kalona where the family will greet friends from 4:00 to 7:00 pm. Burial will be 11:00 am Saturday, June 1, 2024 at the West Union Cemetery, rural Wellman. A Celebration of Life Service will be held 2:00 pm Sunday, June 2, 2024, at West Union Mennonite Church, Parnell, Iowa.    A memorial fund has been established for Mennonite Historical Society of Iowa and West Union Mennonite Church.

Yoder-Powell Funeral Home is caring for Gloria and her family. 

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Gloria Yoder, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Friday, May 31, 2024

1:00 - 7:00 pm (Central time)

Yoder-Powell Funeral Home

504 12th St., Kalona, IA 52247

Family will greet friends from 4-7 p.m.

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Graveside Service

Saturday, June 1, 2024

11:00am - 12:00 pm (Central time)

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Memorial Service

Sunday, June 2, 2024

2:00 - 3:00 pm (Central time)

West Union Mennonite Church

3253 305th St, Parnell, IA 52325

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