We rise by lifting others. Despite considerable challenges early in his life, Don Yeager persevered, worked hard, and achieved success – though he would never describe himself as successful. By edifying others, he knew success was contagious. Don Yeager was an encourager.
Don Yeager passed into the Lord’s presence Saturday evening February 20, 2021, from Primrose Retirement Community with family by his side. He was 98.
Born Donald Wayne Yeager June 15, 1922 in Morrow County to Carlton and Viola Yeager. His mother died when Don was 3-years-old. Years in the Worthington Methodist Children’s Home were followed by years in foster care until he was brought into the Nikolaus family home. He graduated from Johnsville High School in 1940, and then served in the Civilian Conservation Corps until joining the US Navy. As a Gunner’s Mate 2nd Class, Don served his country aboard the USS San Juan participating in nearly every major naval battle of the Pacific theater.
Upon returning stateside, Don was buying rationed candy for a friend at Fanny Farmer’s when a beautiful young worker there named Mary Lou Stowell caught his eye. Don later sought her out at a Sr. High-Canton McKinley football game and eventually won her hand in marriage July 11, 1946. A true gentleman, Don was committed to serving and loving his wife.
Don worked 43 years as a receiving inspector for Tappan and retired in 1984. He was a Master Mason of the Grand Lodge of The Free Accepted Masons of Ohio for over 70 years. He was an avid supporter of Ontario High School athletics and enjoyed all sports. He was dedicated to the Ontario community and took pride in remembering names and faces of those he met. Most importantly, Don truly cared about what was going on in the lives of Ontario students and was known for encouraging multiple generations of athletes. He was also an avid fan of The Ohio State University Buckeyes and Cleveland professional teams.
He is survived by his daughter and son-in-law Suzanne & Ronald Smith of Gulf Shores, AL; daughter-in-law Laurie Yeager of Fort Myers, FL; grandchildren Alyssa (Richard) Nieves and Kimberlee (Brian) Zeller all of Cape Coral, FL; great-granddaughter Elliott Nieves; his Nikolaus family; and his church family.
He was preceded in death by his parents, his son Jeff Yeager, loving wife of 68 years Mary Lou Yeager, and five siblings.
A Celebration of Don’s life will be held Saturday, March 13, 2021 at 11:00 AM in Ontario United Methodist Church 3540 Park Avenue West, with Pastor Christine Bell presiding. Military honors will be performed by the Richland County Joint Veterans Burial Detail. Friends may call on the Yeager family from 10:00 AM until time for the service. Don & Mary Lou’s final resting place will be in Mansfield Memorial Park cemetery in Ontario. The Lexington Avenue Snyder Funeral Home is handling arrangements.
Contributions in his memory to Ontario United Methodist Church or OhioHealth Hospice may be made at the memorial service or sent to the funeral home at P.O. Box 3085, Mansfield, OH 44904.