James R. “Buddy” Yoder, former editor and publisher of The Weimar Mercury, died Nov. 25 of complications from a hip fracture. He was 90.
Yoder was born Jan. 10, 1922, to Beuna “James” Yoder and Robert Hill Yoder in Weimar.
He was a graduate of Weimar High School and received a journalism degree from the University of Texas at Austin in 1943. He was an avid UT fan all his life.
Yoder served in the U.S. Marine Corps Forces Reserve from 1939 to 1943 and on active duty with the Marines from 1943 to 1946 in the Pacific theater. He was honorably discharged as a captain.
He married Grace Brauner of Schulenburg on April 8, 1944, in Quantico, Va.
After the war, he returned to Weimar in 1946 and became co-owner of the Mercury, which his father had purchased in 1913.
When his father became ill in 1961, Buddy and Grace became full owners, and Buddy served as both editor and publisher.
He started his career at the Mercury in 1935 at age 13 and retired in 1993 with more than 50 years of newspaper service.
Each week he chronicled the lives of Weimar residents and the life of the town.
In June 1993, Yoder received the Texas Press Association Golden 50 Award for more than 50 years of selfless contribution to journalism.
“Weimar has benefited from Buddy’s energy and community spirit for years,” TPA said in bestowing the award.
Under Yoder’s direction, the Mercury was one of the first weekly newspapers to microfilm newspaper pages for preservation.
He researched the process he learned at newspaper conventions and formed a microfilm library of the Mercury starting from the founding of the Mercury in 1888.
In addition to his work with the newspaper, Yoder was active in civic affairs.
He served on the Weimar City Council for 24 years and held the position of mayor pro tem.
He also was a longtime member of the Weimar United Church of Christ and served the church in a number of capacities, including president of the church council. He also taught the men’s Bible class and was active in the UCC Men’s Brotherhood.
He was a member of the Weimar Quarterback Club and served as a volunteer fireman.
Yoder also was a longtime member of the Weimar Rotary Club, member and past president of the Weimar Chamber of Commerce and the Weimar Parent Teachers Association. At one time, he was scoutmaster of the Weimar Boy Scout Troop.
He was a longtime member of the American Legion and served as post commander.
After World War II, he played a major role in the planning and construction of the Weimar Veterans Memorial Hall.
Yoder was awarded the Community Builder Award in 1999 by the Weimar Masonic Lodge as a tribute to his years of service to the community.
He is survived by his wife, Grace; two children, Karen Williamson and her husband Roger of Harker Heights and Ken Yoder of Freyburg; two grandsons, Stephen Williamson of Harker Heights and Eric Williamson and wife Lynnea of Marblehead, Mass.; and one great-grandson, Nolen Williamson of Marblehead, Mass.
He was preceded in death by his parents and four sisters, Motsy Schlicker, Helen Oder, Betty Jaye and Beuna Marie Chandler.