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Armon Yanders, former MU College of Arts and Science dean, was dedicated to helping others

Tuesday, May 8, 2012 | 6:22 p.m. CDT; updated 6:32 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, May 8, 2012

COLUMBIA — During lunch at the annual MU Retirees Association meeting, Armon Yanders would enliven the group with stories and quizzes from radio programs and history. 

Roger Mitchell, former dean of the MU College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources, said he remembers Mr. Yanders talking about a different radio program every year.

Mr. Yanders would amaze everyone by knowing all the different characters, Mitchell said. He "had a gift of humor" and was "very enlightening," Mitchell said. 

Armon Frederick Yanders died Monday, May 7, 2012. He was 84.

Mr. Yanders was born in Lincoln, Neb., on April 12, 1928, to Beatrice Pate Yanders and Fred Westamer Yanders.

As a child, Mr. Yanders lived in Washington, D.C., and Corpus Christi, Texas. He graduated from Peru High School in 1944 in Nebraska and from Peru State College in 1948. Also in 1948, he married his college sweetheart, Evelyn Louise Gatz, in Falls City, Neb. 

Mr. Yanders was a teaching assistant at the University of Nebraska and received a doctoral degree in genetics in 1953. 

Mr. Yanders began working as a professor at Michigan State University in 1959 and was appointed director of the university's biology research center in 1963. Afterward, he spent two years as a visiting scientist at a research organization laboratory in Australia.

Mr. Yanders was the dean of the MU College of Arts and Science from 1969 to 1982. He retired in 1994 as professor emeritus of the Divison of Biological Sciences. 

Mitchell knew Mr. Yanders as the dean of Arts and Science but said Mr. Yanders was also "a very special person" because of his work as director of the University of Missouri System's Alzheimer's Disease and Related Disorders Research Program from 1994 to 2004 and as director of the UM System's Spinal Cord Injuries Research Program since 2001.

He was "dedicated to helping others," Mitchell said.

Mr. Yanders read to disadvantaged children when he volunteered with the Golden K Kiwanis Club of Columbia. 

Mitchell said Mr. Yanders was a "wonderful contributor." 

Mr. Yanders is survived by his wife; a son and daughter-in-law, Kent and Elizabeth Yanders, of Blue Springs; and his grandchildren, Eric and Samantha, also of Blue Springs. 

Visitation will be from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday at Memorial Funeral Home, 1217 Business Loop 70 W. A private burial will be at a later date. 

Memorial contributions can be made to the Armon F. Yanders Scholarship Fund, Office of Development, University of Missouri, 109 Reynolds Alumni Center, Columbia, MO 65211; the American Cancer Society, P.O. Box 22718, Oklahoma City, OK 73123-1718; or the Mid-Missouri Chapter of the Alzheimer's Association, 2400 Bluff Creek Drive, Columbia, MO 65201.

Online tributes and photos can be shared at memorialfuneralhomeandcemetery.com

Supervising editor is Hannah Wiese.


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