IN LOVING MEMORY OF
Mary Frances Yewdall
April 19, 1930 — April 9, 2018
Thursday, April 19, 2018 at 11:00 a.m.
Mountain View Cemetery
1411 W. Belmont, Fresno, California
Husband: Robert Yewdall (deceased)
Son: David Yewdall (deceased)
Daughter: Lisa Yewdall
Brother: Bill Lander
Brother: Eddie Lander
Don’t grieve for me, for now I’m free,
I’m following the path God laid for me.
I took His hand when I heard Him call,
I turned my back and left it all.
I could not stay another day,
To laugh, to love, to work or play.
Tasks left undone must stay that way.
I found that place at the close of day.
If my parting has left a void,
Then fill it with remembered joy.
A friendship shared, a laugh, a kiss,
Ah yes, these things, I too, will miss.
Be not burdened with times of sorrow,
I wish you the sunshine of tomorrow.
My life’s been full, I savored much,
Good friends, good times, a loved one’s touch.
Perhaps my time seemed all too brief,
Don’t lengthen it now with undue grief.
Lift up your heart and share with me,
God wanted me now. He set me free.
Birth date and place: April 19,1930 … Spring Township, Boone County Illinois
Another angel was taken from us on Monday, April 9, 2018 named Mary Frances Yewdall. Born April 19, 1930 in Spring Township, Illinois, Mary was the first child of three born to Russell and Leone Lander. Russell was a county agricultural agent who also instructed World War II veterans in farming techniques, and Leone was a nurse and mid-wife. Mary, along with her two younger brothers William (Bill) and Edward (Eddie) lived on the family farm in southern Missouri, that had no electricity or running water until 2 years after Mary graduated from Richland High School in 1947!! After graduating high school, Mary attended Central Missouri State at Warrensburg for her freshman year, transferring in her sophomore year to Southwest Missouri State (SMS) in Springfield, Missouri, which is now Missouri State University, where she met her husband, Robert (Bob) E. Yewdall, jr. [Bob passed away on September 13, 2016].
During her high school days, Mary could always be counted on to assist with the musical shows and concerts as well as at her home church of First Baptist Church in Waynesville, MO where she also married her life partner, Bob Yewdall on November 24, 1949. After their wedding, Mary and Bob worked on their educational degrees in Springfield as well as looking after her younger brother, Eddie (12 years younger than Mary) with the assistance of her other brother, Bill (2 years younger than Mary) when her mother fell very ill. On October 30, 1950, Bob and Mary were blessed with their only child, David Lewis Yewdall [who passed away July 4, 2017 of pancreatic cancer, in Winston-Salem, NC].
After teaching first graders at a country school near Dixon, MO, Bob and Mary and David moved to California in 1954, so Bob could use his teaching degree at Coalinga Elementary School, where he taught for 38 years. Mary, who did not complete her teaching degree, substituted near Huron, CA for 1 – 2 years before proceeding to put her varied art and music talents to work designing and sewing magnificent period costumes for Renaissance festivals, Christmas madrigals and a big variety of year round musical events in area churches and schools as well as West Hills College in Coalinga in addition to lending her singing talents (many along with Bob and David) as well. Every day was an event, and every event was a joy. She received and gave joy to everyone she met. Mary’s enthusiasm would also add to the festivities of the seasons with her decorations and delightful home cooking.
After the earthquake of 1982 that hit Coalinga and neighboring towns, Mary’s love of cats was honored by a local poet who titled the poem, The Cat Lady of Coalinga. It paid homage to her for feeding and taking care of the many misplaced kittens and cats that used West Hills College as a temporary shelter. Every evening, Mary would take enough food up the street to feed more than 50 cats and kittens who knew the time she would arrive on campus. To see more than 50 pair of cat eyes light up from the ambient light as they recognized her footfall, was indeed an event. Each group of cats knew the place they would be fed and that all of the kittens were fed first. As cautiously as the cats came, they returned to the shadows until the following evening when feeding time returned and so did Mary. Mary and Bob also did their best to get the “college cats” as they were known, spayed and neutered so the cat population wouldn’t increase.
In their twilight years, Mary and Bob stayed close to home in Coalinga. Mary was baptized into the Lutheran faith in the 1990’s, and when the Episcopalian and Lutheran congregations merged, Mary became the overall choir director. The past few years, Mary and Bob have lived in assisted housing in Fresno. Mary is survived by her daughter-in-law, Lisa Howes Yewdall who is living in Winston-Salem, NC and her brothers, William Lander, of Clever, MO and Edward Lander of Collinsville, IL. No services will be held. Mary will be laid to rest next to her husband Robert in Mountain View Cemetery in Fresno, CA. In lieu of flowers, donations should be made to your favorite charity, pet shelter or church choir.