David Jury Yoder
Slow and steady. Steady and slow. That’s but one of the many mottos that David Jury Yoder lived his life by and may be the one that best encapsulated his personality.
When David struggled with spelling as a child and young adult, a result of his dyslexia, he made stacks of notecards with words he misspelled. And then committed them to memory, one card at a time.
He was a magician, a craft he picked up after reading dozens of magic books, and practicing hours in front of his mirror. He performed at civic clubs as a teenager and as an adult at his children’s birthday parties. Even after his days on the stage, it was not uncommon for him to pull a quarter out of your ear or nose, levitate a fork, or make a cotton ball disappear.
As a high school and college wrestler, he would study his opponents’ moves and learn their weaknesses. He trained incessantly to rise through the ranks and twice become Ohio State Champion. He was equally dogmatic training for the multiple marathons he ran in the ’70s and ’80s. He read up on the latest trends. Ate the right foods. Followed a training plan for months. Over a decade, he ran more than a dozen marathons, including his last in 1987 with his son Alan.
David was born April 11, 1937, in Cleveland, Ohio, to Lester Leo Yoder and Eleanor Jury, and grew up in Bedford. After graduating from Ohio Wesleyan University in 1959, he headed to New York City, where he started his career in advertising.
Slow and steady was also how he approached that work. David was soft-spoken, didn’t brag, and shared credit. His low-key style gave him authority when he did speak. He was both the person with the answers and the person that created a safe space so others could discover their full potential. Starting as a research assistant for BBDO in New York, he worked on the Campbell’s Soup account for $65 a week. After having relocated to San Francisco, he began specializing in tech clients in 1980 with Chiat/Day/Mojo and helped launch products for Intel, IBM, and Sun Microsystems. One of his proudest accomplishments was being part of the team that placed Apple’s famous “1984” ad during the Super Bowl, which Advertising Age put on the top of its 50 greatest commercials. In 1998, he retired as Vice President and Media Director for Anderson & Lembke.
He also met his yin to his yang, Elizabeth (Betty) Zimmerman, in New York City. Betty and David had many adventures together. In 1965, they spent the year circumnavigating the globe on their honeymoon. Over the next five decades, they traveled to Mexico, China, Japan, Canada, Italy, New Zealand, Australia, Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, Ecuador, and Peru. They biked, hiked, and ran many miles through the hills of Marin County and wherever else they could find a trail. They raised two children, Alan and Karen Yoder, in their Reed Ranch home, which they bought in 1972, and sold in 2015. And they bonded and celebrated with family and friends over life’s triumphs, small and large. As David said many times, “I had a good life.”
Just over the last decade, much of David’s life turned to becoming a caregiver for Betty, who had Alzheimer’s. He applied his slow and steady mantra when caring for her, recognizing it wasn’t his job to change Betty, but instead to change with Betty. He adapted so she could thrive. And their devotion to each other was apparent. They would walk hand-in-hand through the halls of Laurel Parc, the Portland, Oregon, retirement community they lived in since 2015. They’d laugh with each other. Tease each other. And make sure the other had a glass of wine and some crackers during cocktail hour.
David passed away on March 10, 2021, and was predeceased by Betty, who died in December. He is survived by his two children, his daughter-in-law, Julie Smith, his three grandchildren, Ella, Dane, and Rhys, all of whom live in Portland, Oregon, and his two older sisters, Judy Webster of Glen Ellyn, Illinois, and Marge Mitchell of Media, Pennsylvania, and their six children.
To celebrate David’s life, take an adventure, big or small. Maybe go on a trip to a foreign place. Or try a new food. Have a conversation with a stranger. Literally take the path less traveled. Relish in the small things, for they add up to a magnificent life.