Edward D. Yoder’s Life Story
My family can trace its roots back to the Decatur area for over 100 years, and Central Illinois for over 150 years. I was born at St. Mary’s Hospital in the City of Decatur and then raised on a grain/hay/livestock farm in Long Creek, Illinois. I attended Mt. Zion Public Schools from first grade until graduating high school. I was raised in a farm family of 7 siblings (6 surviving) of various ages, and money was always tight. I have been farming and operating farm equipment for as long as I could remember. In addition to farming, my family operated a small freight company and contract U.S. Mail “Star Route” delivery between Decatur and surrounding communities. My high school experience was tough due to the tight farm finances, so I began working a night job when I was a Sophomore in high school. From Monday through Saturday, 12:30 AM-5:30 AM, I drove 120 miles transporting newspapers from Decatur to surrounding local communities, 6:00 AM to 7:00 AM I had livestock chores, and then it was off to school until 3:00 PM. After school was more chores and homework, plus farming. On Saturdays and Sundays, I took on the U.S. Mail Star Route delivery from 3:00 PM – 9:00 PM. In addition to the hectic work schedule, I actively participated in Mt. Zion High School’s Future Farmers of America Chapter. I spent my high school afternoons building Decatur homes in the Construction & Building Trades Classes through the Decatur Area Vocational School. Somehow, I managed to graduate from Mt. Zion High School!
After high school, I went to Lake Land Community College (Richland Community College did not exist) in Mattoon, Illinois. After two years, I received my Associates of Science Degree in Agriculture.
After graduating from Lake Land C.C., I volunteered for the United States Marine Corps, and I married Cheryl. We moved to Oceanside, California, and I went to Camp Pendleton for Boot Camp. My daughter was born at USMC Camp Pendleton Hospital. After Boot Camp, rather than being sent to infantry training school as most of my graduating classmates, I was selected to become Military Police (MP), and I received police enforcement training from the U.S. Army. I was assigned to the USMC Camp Pendleton Base Military Prison, and I was the personnel guard for 86 military prisoners in the medium security dormitory. While there were armed USMC MP guards in the locked guard towers, my duty was to walk unarmed amongst the prisoners in the prison dormitory, prison mess hall, and prison yard. I was the first line of defense against a prison riot. As a farm kid from Central Illinois, this was the first time that I experienced nearly every ethnic culture from all over the United States, and I quickly learned to respect diversity as a means to maintain order in the prison yard. The guiding principals that I learned in the United States Marine Corps are the same ones that I follow today, which are honesty, respect, diversity, justice, honor, duty, family, and love of country.
After two years and nine months of active Marine Corps duty, I took an opportunity from the USMC to go on “inactive” duty for an education deferral to attend Illinois State University in Normal, Illinois to get my a Bachelor’s Degree in Agricultural Sciences. While attending ISU, I worked at Pioneer Hybrids in nearby Morton, Illinois as a seed production technician.
By 1975, I had my Bachelor’s Degree and USMC Honorable Discharge, so I moved to the same farm and farmhouse that I live in today to begin farming in Long Creek Township. My son was born the following year. Since then, I have continuously raised grain crops, namely wheat, corn, and soybeans. During my earlier operating years, I also ran a custom hay/straw baling business, and I raised Angus and Hereford cattle. As a farmer, I learned how to run a business, manage employees, expenses, family, customers, government bureaucracy, and how to negotiate with banks. These are critical survival skills for all successful business owners.
I am a lifelong member of the Long Creek United Methodist Church, and I began getting interested in politics after serving on various church committees and the Macon County Farm Bureau. I started politics in local township politics, and then I progressed to the county level.
I am both humbled and proud to serve you today, and I will continue to serve you if I am re-elected for Macon County Treasurer.