Bishop Joseph Yeakel
Born in Mahanoy City, Pennsylvania, Joe Yeakel attended the Pottsville, Pennsylvania, public schools. His matriculation to Lebanon Valley College was interrupted by a tour of duty with the United States Navy Seabees, returning to Lebanon Valley College from which he graduated with an A.B. degree.
He served the Gardners-Mt. Victory Charge near Mt. Holly, Pennsylvania, during his senior year in college. He attended United Theological Seminary in Dayton, Ohio (M.Div.), serving as a Student Assistant Pastor at the Euclid Avenue EUB Church in Dayton.
He became a member of the Central Pennsylvania Annual Conference of the former Evangelical United Brethren Church as a probationary member, and was ordained an elder by Bishop George Edward Epp. He was Assistant Pastor at Otterbein Church in Hagerstown, Maryland; Pastor at Messiah Church in York, Pennsylvania; and Memorial Church in Silver Spring, Maryland.
In 1963 he was elected Assistant General Secretary of the Board of Evangelism with offices in Dayton, Ohio. In 1965 he became the General Secretary of the Board and at the time of church union in 1968, he became the General Secretary of the Board of Evangelism of The United Methodist Church.
The Northeastern Jurisdictional Conference elected him to the episcopacy in 1972. He administered the New York West Area, 1972-84, and the Washington (DC) Area 1984-1996. He retired on August 31, 1996.
From 1972-1980 and 1988-1996 he served on the General Board of Church and Society, and as President 1976-1980 and 1992-1996. In 1980-88 he served on the General Council on Finance and Administration, and as its President 1984-88. He was President-Designate of the Council of Bishops (1991-92) and President of the Council of Bishops (1992-93)
Lois Josephine Shank and Joe Yeakel were married while Joe was a college student. Lois passed on March 5, 2014, and Bishop Joseph H. Yeakel passed on July 4, 2021. They were the parents of five children: Claudia Jo (McIntyre), Joseph Douglas Yeakel, Joanna Irene (Drushal), Mary Jo (an elder in the Ohio West Conference), and Jody Lucille (Kampmeier). They had twelve grandchildren.