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I first heard about this story on Jeff Houck’s food blog The Stew and it was particularly moving to me because I have just recently done a restaurant review of Yoder’s Amish Restaurant in Sarasota and had the pleasure of getting a glimpse of Mrs. Yoder at the restaurant while I was there. Yoder’s is one of most popular restaurants in Sarasota and for good reason. The food is phenomenal, especially Mrs. Yoder’s peanut butter pie. She will be greatly missed by all, but has left behind a fantastic legacy for so many to enjoy in the future.

The Yoder’s Facebook page announced yesterday:

With deep regret and sadness Yoder’s Restaurant announces that Amanda J. Yoder, founder of Yoders Restaurant, passed away at the age of 84 on Monday, July 2, 2012. Mrs Yoder was at home surrounded by family, when she died peacefully Monday morning after suffering a brief illness. Mrs Yoder was considered a well loved matriarch of the community .

Mrs. Yoder became well known for her homemade pies and Amish homecooking in what began as a small restaurant in downtown Sarasota in 1976, which is now located on Bahia Vista Street in Sarasota (since 1984). She with her husband and two daughters started what has become recognized as a Sarasota tradition, a statewide destation and also became nationally recognized when Mrs Yoder and her pies were televised on the sindicated TV show Man Vs Food.

Mrs. Yoder’s pies have become a long time favorite of Sarasota and surrounding areas for over 35 years. At Thanksgiving and on holidays she has sold thousands of her famous pies, which have graced most Sarasota homes at one time or another. She has been featured by many local and national print medias as well as featured on various television programs.

Mrs Yoder’s humble beginnings began on an farm in Nappanee, Indiana where she was raised Amish in a large family. She began her love for baking at the age of 9 years old, and became known as the baker of her family at a very young age.

Amanda Yoder is preceded in death by her husband Levi Yoder, and survived by her four children, (Harold Yoder, Lorene Kenyon, Mary Lou Emrich, and Anna Marie Yoder), Eight grandchildren and 13 great grandchildren.

Yoder’s Restaurant and Amish Village is owned today by daughters Mary Lou Emrich and Anna Marie Yoder with son-in-law Todd Emrich acting as CEO since 1995 with many family members involved in its ongoing daily operations.

Yoder’s Amish Restaurant and Amish Village will be closed Monday July 9th in honor of Mrs Yoder’s passing and funeral.

As her family, we are blessed not only to have had her as our mother and grandmother, but to have known her, loved her, and to have been loved by her. She was a humble woman of great faith and the legacy she left will continue in our hearts forever. She will be deeply missed by the community, and especially by those who loved her most.

Visitation and funeral services for Mrs. Yoder will be conducted by Palms Memorial with visitation services there open to the public on Saturday and Sunday July 7 and 8 from 5 to 8 PM. Funeral service will be held at Bahia Vista Mennonite Church on Monday July 9 at 10 AM with visitation one hour prior to service.

In Leu of flowers, donations in honor of Mrs Yoder may be made to Palm Grove Mennonite Church Missions or to Miriam Neff of Widows Connection Ministries.