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Armon Frederick Yanders, April 12, 1928 — May 7, 2012, of Columbia

Tuesday, May 8, 2012 | 4:44 p.m. CDT

Armon Frederick Yanders, 84, of Columbia passed away Monday, May 7, 2012.

A visitation will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. on Thursday at Memorial Funeral Home. A private burial will be held at a later date.

Armon Frederick Yanders was born in Lincoln, Neb., on April 12, 1928, to Beatrice Pate Yanders and Fred Westamer Yanders. He lived in Washington, D.C. and Corpus Christi, Texas, as a child and graduated from Peru (Nebraska) High School in 1944. He received the A.B. degree from Peru State College in 1948, and married his college sweetheart, Evelyn Louise Gatz in Falls City, Neb., on August 1, 1948.

He is survived by his wife, of the home, a son and daughter-in-law, Kent and Elizabeth Yanders, and grandchildren Eric and Samantha, all of Blue Springs, Missouri. His parents and a son preceded him in death.

Mr. Yanders was a teaching assistant and an Atomic Energy Commission Fellow at the University of Nebraska and received a Ph.D. in Genetics in 1953. He was a Research Associate at Northwestern University and Oak Ridge National Laboratory (Tennessee) in 1953 to 1954, where his research in radiation genetics involved participation in the atomic weapons tests in Nevada. He served in the Navy from 1954 to 1958, primarily as a biophysicist at the Naval Radiological Defense Laboratory in San Francisco, Calif., where he continued radiation genetics research. After completing his active duty commitment, he remained in the Navy Ready Reserve for thirty years, retiring as a Captain, Medical Service Corps, in 1988. He was a member of the Reserve Officers Association and a life member of The Military Officers Association of America and the Association of the United States Navy.

Mr. Yanders was an Associate Geneticist at Argonne National Laboratory (Illinois) from 1958 to 1959, and joined the Department of Zoology at Michigan State University as an Associate Professor in 1959. He was appointed Director of MSU’s Biology Research Center in 1963, and became Professor of Zoology and Assistant Dean of the College of Natural Science in 1965. He spent a sabbatical leave as a Visiting Scientist at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization laboratory in Canberra, Australia, 1966 to 67.

Mr. Yanders was Dean of the College of Arts and Science of the University of Missouri from 1969 to 1982, and Director of the Environmental Trace Substances Research Center and Sinclair Comparative Medicine Research Farm from 1983 to 1994. After retiring in 1994 as Professor Emeritus of Biological Sciences, he worked part time as Director of the Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders Research Program from 1994 to 2004, and Director of the Spinal Cord Injuries Research Program from 2001 to the present.

He was the author or coauthor of a number of papers dealing with the biological effects of ionizing radiation and chemical mutagens, and the behavior of toxic chemicals in the environment. Support for his research came from the Atomic Energy Commission, the National Science Foundation, the Navy Bureau of Medicine, the Environmental Protection Agency, the American Cancer Society and other sponsors. 

He was a member of many professional organizations, including the American Association of University Professors, the Environmental Mutagen Society, the Genetics Society of America, the Radiation Research Society, the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, Sigma Xi, the American Society of Naturalists, the Zoological Society of America and was a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He served as a consultant to various federal and state agencies and private corporations and had testified before the United States Congress and state regulatory bodies on matters related to environmental hazards.

Mr. Yanders served in various capacities in the Argonne Universities Association from 1964 to 1977, including Trustee, Chairman of the Board Committee on Biology and Medicine, Vice President, President and Chairman of the Board of Trustees. He was the recipient of the 1971 Robert W. Martin Award of the Missouri State Conference of the American Association of University Professors, "In Recognition of Outstanding Contribution to Academic Freedom." He was a member of the Board of Directors of the United Way of Columbia, 1971 to 1975, a member of the Board of Directors of the Council of Colleges of Arts and Sciences, 1980 to 1982, a member of the Missouri State Dioxin Advisory Committee, 1984 to 1985, and served on the Board of Directors of the Mid-Missouri Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association and the University of Missouri Friends of Music. He was appointed to membership of the Department of Veterans Affairs Advisory Committee on Environmental Hazards at its inception in 1985, and was chairman of the committee from 1989 to 2001. He was the recipient of the Distinguished Service Award from Peru State College in 1989, and was a member of its Alumni Foundation Board of Directors. In 2007 he was recognized as Dean Emeritus and received a Distinguished Service Award from the University of Missouri College of Arts and Science.

Mr. Yanders was a member of the Golden K Kiwanis Club of Columbia, where he was President in 2003-2004, and took part in many of its volunteer activities. He also enjoyed flying and continued to be an active pilot until his mid 70’s. He was a long time member of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association and the Missouri Pilots Association. 

Memorials are suggested to the Armon F. Yanders Scholarship Fund, Office of Development, University of Missouri, 109 Reynolds Alumni Center, Columbia, MO 65211; the American Cancer Society or the Mid-Missouri Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association, 2400 Bluff Creek Drive, Columbia, MO 65201.

Online tributes and photos may be shared at memorialfuneralhomeandcemetery.com


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