Ruth Eileen Yoder
April 11, 1926 - February 7, 2024

Ruth Eileen Yoder

When Ruth Eileen (Hilbish) Yoder was born on April 11, 1926, in Syracuse, Indiana, the world didn’t know what a special gift it had been given. Nine decades of retrospection are a reminder that often the legacy of another’s life is recognized in death, but for Ruth, this simply wasn’t her story. She was a living celebration of everything good that made everyone who knew her better.

The fourth child of seven siblings, Ruth left her parents’ home in 1953 and married Robert Yoder. For 54 years, they built a home (literally), raised their four daughters, traveled, welcomed numerous grandchildren and great grandchildren and loved the life they made together. Everything she touched she improved because she was a space maker.

Ruth welcomed everyone.

To spend time with her was to know you were special. Her embrace was tender and her laughter magnetic, personal hallmarks of her felt presence to the very end of her life. She could out bake, out work and outpace most people, but the blessing of her bounty always benefited others.

Ruth was love.

If you ask those whose lives intertwined with hers, they will tell you she was the embodiment of love. Compelled by her goodness and guided by her faith, Ruth lived the meaning of her name: compassionate friend. She loved her family deeply, their outpouring a reciprocated response because of the example she set. Every person desires authentic human connection, and with Ruth, it was the only way she lived her life. Her closing goodbye at the end of every conversation was “I love you a bushel and a peck and a hug around the neck.”

Her legacy lives on.

When you’ve lived a life this lovely and this long, it makes saying so long more sweet than sour. She would want us to eat dessert, hug one another and laugh. She would encourage us to tell stories and savor the presence of each other, because life is short, and love makes us better. She might even suggest we sip a McDonald’s Coke together. Then she would blow us a kiss to catch.

February 7, 2024, surrounded by family and loved by so many, we threw her our last kiss.

“When Christ shall come, with shout of acclamation and take me home, what joy shall fill my heart. Then I shall bow, in humble adoration and then proclaim, my God, how great Thou art.”

Ruth Eileen Yoder—daughter, sister, wife, Mom, Grandma, Nana—for the rest of our lives you will be missed and completely loved. May we be reminded that your goodness lives in each of us, because knowing you made us just that much better.

Ruth Yoder was preceded in death by her beloved husband Robert D. Yoder, parents Grover and Belva Hilbish, sisters Helen, LeEtta, Esther, Pauline; brothers Grover & Homer.

She is survived by:

  • CHILDREN: Becky [Nelson] Benson, Debbie [John] Harrington; Patty [Fred] Taylor and Kay [Drew] Wilkerson.
  • GRANDCHILDREN: Christie [Jeff] Banks, Robert [Brenda] Benson, Eric Ashley, Josh [Emily] Culp, Sarah [Stephen] Simkins, Stephen [Crystal] Culp, Andrea [Dominic] Cerniglia, Melissa [Jay] Bookout, Matthew [Samantha] Wilkerson and Mari [Mitchell] Cisney; Matt [Gabby] Taylor & Zac [Melissa] Taylor.
  • GREAT GRANDCHILDREN: Perrin, LucyAnne, Benson [Bre] and Jackson Smith; Natalie [Dana] Russell; Wes [Gillian Puffer] Brister; Thomas [Bailey] Benson; Jillian, Alexa and Alayna Culp; Chase and Christian Simkins; Charlotte Culp; Addison & Vincent Cerniglia and Emma, Lucy and Evelyn Wilkerson; Isaac Graber, Zachary, Katie, & Kara Taylor.

Ruth will be laid to rest in Solomons Creek Cemetery in Syracuse, Indiana, with her husband at a later date. Coastal Cremations in Lutz was entrusted with her arrangements.




  • Doug Warren Posted February 8, 2024 1:49 pm

    Cristie, our deepest sympathy to you and your family. Beautiful tribute! Thankful for the assurance of reunion in Heaven.

  • Eric Ashley Posted February 8, 2024 4:23 pm

    Love you, Grandma.

  • Nichole Smyth Posted February 8, 2024 6:16 pm

    Sending my love and praying for peace for the whole family. Remember all the wonder times you had together.

  • Kathy Lovell Posted February 10, 2024 8:50 am

    This is a beautiful tribute. She always had a smile that showed through her sparkling eyes, warm hugs, endearing words with enthusiastic laughter. Fly high Ruth, Jesus has a special chair for your charity and Grace.

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