Yockey, Steele Henderson


June 16, 1858 - October 16, 1953
October 16, 1953 was the date a priestly and peerless soul turned heavenward reaching for the “crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give that day.” For Steele Henderson Yockey had “kept the faith;” had “finished the course.”
Brother Yockey’s career began in 1858 when he was born in Salina, Pennsylvania. Little was recorded of his early life, but, as an adult, he moved to Colby, Kansas where be served as postmaster for a time. However, it was “go West, young man, go West” for him and in 1894 he landed in Baker, Oregon where he joined the Free Methodist Church. It was also there that he wooed and won the heart of Miss Sarah Whittaker, who was his helpmeet for the fifty-eight remaining years of his life.
While still in Oregon, Brother Yockey was called into the ministry of the Free Methodist Church. He became a member or the Columbia River Conference when the Methodist Episcopal Church recognized his orders as an elder, and in 1901 he was appointed to the church in Ephrata, Washington. In 1910 he transferred from the Columbia River Conference to the Southern Conference, and in September of the same year he became shepherd to the flock of the Midfield, Texas Methodist Church..
The Southern Conference was his home until after his retirement in 1929, at which time he was serving in Ebenezer, Louisiana. Mr. and Mrs. Yockey then lived in Lake Charles, Louisiana, later moving to Rodeo, California to be nearer to their only son.
It was while in Lake Charles Brother Yockey’s eyesight began to show definite signs of fading. Such a condition continued until he spent the last eight years of his life in total darkness. He was 94 years, 8 months, 3 days old when he died of a stroke in a Martinez, California hospital.
There was no Methodist Church in Rodeo at the time of his death, so it was a Presbyterian minister who read his eulogy and funeral service. He is interred in the Sunset View Cemetery of El Carrito, California. His wife and son, Ralph, survive him. One daughter died in Houston, Texas in 1937.
Tis said it is a duty to feel grateful, but it is a privilege for me to feel grateful for having known Brother Yockey. He was a wise and watchful father; his religious experience was positive, definite, and inspirational. He wholly accepted Wesley’s teaching of Christian perfection, and those who knew him realized it in his daily life.
Truly, a fine man is gone!
Source: Journal of the Louisiana Conference of the Methodist Church, Pages 167-168, 1954 by C. S. Rodgers.

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