Ceremony Honors Mayor Yoder
Article by Dave Kurtz | KPC News | January 17, 2019
AUBURN — Mayor Norman Yoder always opens Auburn Common Council meetings by reading a list of visitors who have signed in at the door.
Tuesday night’s list ran longer than usual, because the council chamber in City Hall had filled with two dozen friends and colleagues of the mayor, who had come to surprise him.
As Yoder neared the end of the list, he came to the name of Peg Yoder, his wife.
“Uh-oh,” he reacted, causing the crowd to burst into laughter.
Mrs. Yoder was supposed to be at Purdue University watching a basketball game. Instead, she had stayed home to witness a ceremony honoring her husband, who recently revealed that his 20th year as mayor will be the last.
Chris Crabtree, senior adviser to U.S. Rep Jim Banks, stepped to a microphone to read a resolution Banks placed in the Congressional Record, listing Yoder’s lifetime accomplishments.
The resolution described how Yoder graduated from Auburn High School in 1967, earned a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Purdue University in 1972, then began a business career that included Yoder & Yoder Concrete and Construction and Auburn’s Skatin’ Station.
Yoder served on the Auburn Board of Public Works and Safety and Eckhart Public Library board of trustees in the 1990s before winning election as mayor for the first time in 1999. He has been reelected four times on the Republican ticket.
“He led the revitalization of downtown into a thriving, small-town commerce center and oversaw the development of Rieke Park,” Banks’ resolution added. Yoder worked on the creation of Auburn Essential Services “so that the citizens of Auburn could join the information revolution,” it said.
It concluded, “Mayor Yoder will leave Auburn a more prosperous community, and his leadership will long be remembered.”
“I get credit for a lot more than I’ve actually done,” Yoder said after accepting the award.
Gesturing toward the council members and audience, the mayor said, “These people up here, and all you out there and hundreds, if not thousands, of other people in the community have helped me and provided and done what I’m getting this award for.
“So, thank you to everybody for making Auburn a better place, and I’m looking forward to seeing the next chief executive take it to the next level.”
Yoder added, “I’m just sort of the captain of the ship. It’s all the people of the crew, and the passengers — which are the citizens — they’re the ones that do the work making it a nice place to live, a nice place to build businesses and a nice place to raise a family. I look forward to a nice place to retire.”
Yoder is beginning 20th year as mayor. His term in office will continue through Dec. 31.