October 7, 2022 Local Stories in and Around St. Joseph, Illinois

10 things you don’t know about me… Tonya Yeazel

Every week we ask a St. Joseph area resident to tell us 10 things we don’t know about them. This week we spoke to Tonya Yeazel, the owner of St. Joseph Christian Daycare.


This post is sponsored by the St. Joseph Dairy Queen.

I was born in Dothan, Alabama. I have lived in Louisiana, Mississippi, Geogia, Texas and of course Illinois.

My favorite childhood memory is riding my bicycle. We moved a lot growing up, I was always ready for my bike to be unloaded off the truck. I enjoyed the peace and quiet, time to myself. Especially enjoyed checking out the new neighborhoods we moved into, trying to scope out possible new friends. I have a personal goal to be able to ride my bike on the new rail trail. I think the Kickapoo Rail Trail is an awesome asset to our community.

I have been a vegetarian for 8 years.

My first pet was a cat I got in third grade, her name was“Missy Bright Eyes”. She was my best bud, always there for me through all of the 20 something moves. I knew after the first day at a new school she would be home waiting for me, she was a great companion for 13 years.

Something that you might not know about me, my husband and I eloped after only dating five and half months.

I most proud of my family. Just recently my husband Ryan and I celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary! Our oldest Kayla is in college, she is 19. Daniel is 13 and William is 11 years old.

I got into childcare because we had just moved to St. Joseph and I had just given birth to Daniel. I had to quit my job at First Busey to stay home and care for Daniel because he was colicky. One of Kayla’s friends mom from kindergarten asked if I could watch her daughter after school and during the summer, I said ‘Sure I can do that!’ The business took off, and at one time I owned a daycare center. I love being home when my children are home, I have been blessed with over 13 years of doing daycare in St. Joseph. I have had families travel from Covington, IN and Bloomington, IL to have their children attend daycare here.

I have a strong desire to nurture and care for kiddos. I treat these kids like their mine, I rock them, sing to them, lots of snuggles. I read, dance, play pretend try to improve my pinterest arts and craft skills! I love to just sit and talk to the kids. hear what’s on their hearts, what’s going on in their lives. Praying for them and their families. I want this house, to be their home away from home. I want all children to fill loved and included here! I love the sounds of happy children!

My favorite season is fall, I’m a sucker for beautiful foliage. Especially driving down the country road to my house seeing the corn in the fields and the vibrant colors of trees as you turn into my subdivision. I live north of town in the Willow Dale subdivision, it’s my home away from home. I’m originally from Alabama, so I love that our neighborhood is full mature shade trees, reminds me of Alabama.

My husband is from St. Joseph. Ryan grew up here, played Spartan football, was an Eagle Scout for Troop 40 and now helps with our son in scouts. My father in law was the SJO High School Principal many years ago. St. Joseph is an excellent small town to raise a family. We have been so blessed by this community with living near family, friends and church small group. I feel safe allowing my children to be outside playing with friends. I’m proud to call St. Joseph home.

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