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Autobiography for Dorothy

I was born in a funeral home! My parents—Herman M. and Bessie King Yoder of rural, Kalona, Iowa—effectively met the public of a small town through a modest funeral business. They modeled ministry to people in need; our living room informally became public space. They both were graduated from a two-year college in Hesston, Kansas. We four children (myself the third) could use our home’s “back stairway” or make “bread soup” meals when both parents had professional duties to perform or friends of the deceased came to ‘view.’ My tasks with the funeral-cum-ambulance business were to uncover and open/close the caskets or wash the hearse. Aware of speed needed to respond to an ambulance call, I also sensed the interplay of life with death. I will always be grateful that my parents exposed me firsthand to this reality.1 Both parents have now died, Mother twenty years after my father. She addressed five hundred alumni of Hesston College on the occasion of her 80th class reunion.