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Obituary of Richard David Yates
Richard David “Dick” Yates, 83, of Lacey, Wash., passed away surrounded by his wife and children on March 27, 2019. He was born December 18, 1935 in Olympia, Wash., to Harold and Miriam Yates. Dick lived his entire life in Olympia, where he graduated from Olympia High School in 1954 and attended Saint Martin’s College. After high school, he took up roller skating, competing in the amateur division where he took 2nd place in a national competition in the 26-mile speed skating.
Dick married Janet Sawyer in 1960, and they raised four children. He worked in the family business, “Yates Eggs,” with his father, eventually taking over the business until he retired in 1987. Dick and Janet divorced in 1976 and, in 1977, Dick married Georgia Nixon, who passed away suddenly in 1978. In 1979, Dick married Patricia “Pat” Frasier and they were together for almost 40 years. They enjoyed traveling and spent many hours on road trips.
In late 1989, Dixieland musicians Dave McCrary, Terry Strong, and Phil Wayt, along with local Dixieland devotees Janet Haag and Dick Yates founded The Greater Olympia Dixieland Jazz Society. For many years, Dick was an avid golfer, spending many weekends at the Capital City Golf course; he also traveled and played in many tournaments around the Puget Sound area.
Dick enjoyed being involved in the community and was a member of the Elks, Eagles, and the 40 & 8. He served on the Port of Olympia Advisory Board, and the Lacey Historical Society. He took great pride in being a member of the Historical Society and enjoyed sharing Olympia’s history with anyone who would listen to his stories growing up in the area.
Dick was preceded in death by his parents and daughter, Kimberly. He is survived by his wife, Patricia Yates of Lacey; son, Kenneth Yates (Kim) of Kansas City; daughters, Katherine (Mike) Pursey of Bremerton, Wash., Donna Etchey of Poulsbo, Wash., and Peggy Yates of Gig Harbor, Wash.; four grandchildren, Steven Bynum, Jacob Pursey, Amy Yates, and Joshua Morse; seven great grandchildren; and sisters, Janet Asbjornsen of Graham, Wash., and Brenda VanOrnum of Lyden, Wash.; along with one nephew and five nieces.
Services will be held Saturday, June 1, 2019, 1:00 p.m. at Olympia Elks #186, 1818 4th Ave. E, Lacey, WA 98506.
Memorial donations may be made to the Elks National Foundation.
Yates Family History
Dick joined the Lacey Historical Society Board in 2008, served as its vice president for many years, and was a trustee. He wrote the following about his family:
Edward “Teddy” and Margaret Yates immigrated to the U.S. from Manchester, England in 1900, and settled in Roslyn, Washington. Grandpa Yates was a coal miner in Manchester and then in Roslyn. They had four children, Peter, Margaret “Bessie,” Harold and one baby that froze to death in her crib.
Because of the crib death, in 1917 Edward and Margaret bought 36 acres on the Steilacoom Road in Thurston County where they moved to in 1919 and started a chicken ranch. During the Depression, they lived by having a huge garden and green house. Aunt Bessie owned and ran a small grocery store in Lacey at the corner of Pacific Ave. and Carpenter Rd.
They put three kids through Lacey Grade School and Olympia High School. Uncle Pete went on to college at WSC and graduated in engineering. He eventually moved to Puyallup and bought a 22-acre raspberry farm.
In 1932, the Miller brothers in Tacoma and the Simpsons in Shelton lost their egg-man. They came to Grandpa Yates and asked if he would deliver eggs to them. Grandpa turned them down but said his youngest son Harold (my dad) could do the job.
Dad bought a small home on Hicks Lake (100-foot frontage and 510 feet deep) on Carpenter Rd. in what is now Lacey, and built an egg processing plant on that property. When I got married in 1960, dad had to increase his business from small grocery stores to small supermarkets, state institutions, Fort Lewis and McChord Commissaries. He also had to contract with bigger farms to get more eggs. So that’s a brief history of my family.