James Henry Yoke, inventor, writer, builder, father of four, grandfather of eight and husband of 61 years, died Thursday, March 6, 2014, in Greenwood.
He was born to Clarence and Ruth Yoke on Nov. 11, 1925, in Acton, the third of five children. James graduated from Clark High School in Johnson County before serving in Gen. George Patton’s Third Army as a World War II infantryman.
He attended Purdue University for four years and later earned his professional engineer license. In 1953, he married Margaret Louise Martin, and together they raised a family on the same ancestral property where James was born.
James was a true Renaissance man and one of nature’s natural engineers; he was happiest with his tools and his workshop. He was a magician with a welder or a set of socket wrenches or wood chisels. By the end of his life he held several patents, though his greatest creation was the home he designed and largely self-built for his family. The work of his life, this substantial Greek Revival home has marble floors, a library, salvaged mahogany, walnut and bird’s-eye maple doors, a flat roof, a spacious covered patio with goldfish pond, an eight-column frontal facade and cast window lintels with bas-relief ox yoke designs, as well as Greek-relief cornices.
He authored two books and was passionate about classical music, architecture, beauty and politics. James was a member of MENSA, chairman of Acton United Methodist Church’s building committee (in charge of building the beautiful sanctuary) and a great reader of books.
James is survived by his wife, Margaret; four children, Mary Yoke of Bloomington, Tom Yoke of Richmond, Va., Jonathan Yoke of Olympia, Wash, and Benjamin Yoke of Asheville, N.C.; and eight grandchildren.
Memorial services will be at 2 p.m. Saturday at Greenwood Village South Retirement Community, 295 Village Lane, Greenwood.
Any contributions to the Alzheimer’s Association would be greatly appreciated.
Arrangements were entrusted to Wilson St. Pierre Funeral Service and Crematory.