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    The Upper New York Conference of The United Methodist Church

    news article

    UNY mourns Bishop Joseph Yeakel’s death

    July 7, 2021 / By UNY Communications

    Bishop Yeake'ls memorial service has been rescheduled for May 20, 2022. Click here for more information.

    The Upper New York Conference as well as Methodists across the Connection mourn the death of Bishop Joseph Yeakel who died this past Sunday at the age of 93.

    He served as Resident Bishop of the New York West Area, which at the time included three Conferences (Western New York Conference, Northern New York Conference, and Central New York Conference) from 1972-1984 and is fondly remembered. 

    Upper New York Area Resident Bishop Mark J. Webb, said, “Bishop Yeakel loved the Church of Jesus Christ and the people he served among in various settings.  As a residential bishop, he was known as a gifted parliamentarian and presider of annual conference sessions.  We shared a bond that included a common home conference and talked often about the experiences that he and his wife Lois had when they served the Western NY Area.  Joe was always willing to be a listening ear and share his wisdom when asked. He was an encourager to me and many who entered the Council of Bishops. Bishop Yeakel had a deep love for Casowasco Camp & Retreat Center.  His cremains will be inurned in the Lakeview Columbarium on the grounds of Casowasco. I give thanks to God for the life of Bishop Joe Yeakel.”

    Bishop Yeakel’s leadership roles in the Methodist Church are extensive. From 1972-1980 and 1988-1996 he served on the General Board of Church and Society, and as president from 1976-1980 and 1992-1996. During 1980-1988, he served on the General Council on Finance and Administration.

    His latest episcopal residency was with the Baltimore-Washington Conference, where he served from 1984-1996. He retired in 1996.

    Bishop LaTrelle Easterling, the current Bishop of the Baltimore-Washington Conference, celebrates Bishop Yeakel’s commitment to his call, which was "rooted in his deep love for God and God’s people. He leaves a palpable legacy within the Baltimore-Washington Conference where I have heard many stories extolling his wisdom, witness and wit," she said. "The phrase I most often hear associated with Bishop Yeakel is, 'Keep the main thing, the main thing.' Bishop Yeakel did so with faithfulness, humility, and generosity.

    Click here to read the press release about Bishop Yeakel from the Council of Bishops.

    Click here to read an article about Bishop Yeakel from the Baltimore Washington Conference.

    A service of faith and memories will be held at a later date. There will be no viewing as Bishop Yeakel requested his remains be donated to the Cleveland Clinic to be used for medical education and research. His cremains will be inurned in the Lakeview Columbarium at Casowasco Camp and Retreat Center in Moravia, NY.

    Gifts may be made in his honor to Casowasco Camp and Retreat Center. For more information, click here.

    Memories of Bishop Yeakel can be sent to or posted on the UNY Facebook page by clicking here.

    With more than 134,000 members, the Upper New York Annual (Regional) Conference of The United Methodist Church comprises 865 local churches and 85 new faith communities in 12 districts, covering 48,000 square miles in 49 of the 62 counties in New York state. Our mission is to “live the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to be God’s love with our neighbors in all places."