January 1, 1971 ~ June 8, 2023
Christopher Neal Yoder, 52, of Lee’s Summit, Missouri, died on June 8, 2023, at Mercy Hospital in Des Moines, Iowa.
He was born to his loving parents, Elvin “Al” and Bonnie Yoder, in Iowa City, Iowa, on January 1, 1971 – earning the title of the first baby born in Johnson County that year.
A memorial service will be held at 3pm on Friday, June 23, 2023, at the Longview Funeral Home and Cemetery of Kansas City, Missouri.
Chris spent his early years on the move, first in Iowa, then Tulsa, Oklahoma, and eventually landed in Colby, Kansas. It was in Colby where Chris found himself, making lifelong friends while attending Colby High School, where he excelled in track, and Colby Community College. Chris’ warmth, constant smile and inviting nature helped him make meaningful connections his entire life, often making people more family than friends.
Chris was a lifelong fan of the Dallas Cowboys, even through the bad years – and without the 1-15 season, there never would have been the Big Three – Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith, and Michael Irvin. After he associated his brother’s birthday with Smith’s jersey number, he never forgot Ben’s birthday again.
As much as Chris loved the Cowboys, he loved his family and friends even more, spending hours of endless play in Grandma Roth’s basement on the farm and marathon video game sessions with the Lowe boys, who were more like brothers than cousins. Chris was the ultimate “Map Man” and he “never let gold lie.”
After CCC, Chris moved to Manhattan, Kansas, where he attended Kansas State University and worked many years at Kaw Valley Greenhouse. His love of gardening and plants led to a degree in Greenhouse Operations and Management in 2002, but he found his calling when he obtained his degree in Psychology in 2005.
Chris began an accomplished career in Human Resources at a Caterpillar facility nearby in Wamego, Kansas. Within a year he was promoted and met his future wife and son, Susan “Susie” and Paris Burke of Manhattan, Kansas. Chris and Susan were married on July 4, 2009, and welcomed another son, Jackson, 2 years later in Waco, Texas, where Chris had again been promoted to a new position within the Caterpillar HR Department. There he served as a Caterpillar representative and Board Member on the United Way of Waco-McLennan County for almost 5 years.
In 2015, Chris accepted an HR Manager position for Caterpillar in West Plains, Missouri, where the family soon moved. He eventually became both the HR Manager of this facility and another in Booneville, Missouri, simultaneously. During this time, he also served on the United Way of the Ozarks, where he had the honor of serving as Board President in 2017.
In 2020, Chris and his family moved to Lee’s Summit, Missouri, to be closer to relatives and longtime friends. He finished his career as a Senior Human Resources Manager at Spectrum Brands, Inc. of Edgerton, Kansas. Chris’ focus on positivity and words of affirmation/encouragement made him a compassionate and caring leader among his coworkers and peers. His professional accomplishments were outdone only by his passion and commitment to building strong personal relationships with both the people he loved, as well as those he worked with. He was a completely dedicated husband, father, brother, uncle, son and friend.
He was preceded in death by his father Al Yoder. He is survived by his wife Susan, sons Paris and Jackson of Lee’s Summit, Missouri; his mother Bonnie Yoder of Cedar Rapids, Iowa; his brother Ben (Christine), and their children, Katharine and Alex, of Ankeny, Iowa; his brothers- and sisters-in-law, Jenny (Joe) Fernandez, and their children India, Laren and Joe of Greenwood, Missouri; Dan (Leslie) Burke, their son August and daughters Annabelle and Lidia Valenti of Kansas City, Missouri; Sarah (Keith) Nguyen, and their children Eisley, Evie and Ethan of Dallas, Texas; Joey Burke of Atchison, Kansas; and a long list of cherished cousins, aunts and uncles.
In lieu of flowers and plants, the family is requesting memorial contributions to the educational fund for Chris’ sons Paris Burke and Jackson Yoder.