Joseph H. Yeager


Joseph H. Yeager was born and raised on a small farm in Cullman County. He finished high school in Cullman, graduating as valedictorian of his senior class. He went on to Auburn University, where he earned a degree in agricultural administration. During his studies at Auburn, he cleaned rooms for his board and worked for minimum wage in the academic department that would later become the Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Sociology. Despite his two jobs, Joe graduated top in his class in 1943.

After a brief stint as an assistant county agent in Marshall County, Joe joined the Army in 1944. He served as a training officer and later was assigned to the Philippine Islands as part of what would been the largest invasion in history had the atomic bomb not ended World War II.

After the war, he returned to Auburn to earn a master’s degree in agricultural economics. From
Auburn, he went on to earn his Ph.D. in agricultural economics at Purdue. In 1951, he returned to the Auburn faculty as an assistant professor. He worked in the department from 1951 until 1989, serving the last 25 years as head of the department.

In 1989, Joe left the department to become associate dean for research, helping to establish many of the guidelines under which the College of Agriculture and Alabama Agricultural Experiment Station operate today. He retired in 1991.

Joe’s beloved wife of 53 year, Hattie, died in 1997. They have three children, Joseph E. Yeager, Dr. Thomas Yeager, and Paula Yeager Kennedy.