Thursday, April 3, 2014

C is for Clarence Eugene Yeakley - Uncle Gene

My uncle Gene was the second youngest child of Ernest Marvin Yeakley and Nancy Ellen Jones. He was born in Oklahoma on May 30, 1923 and died in Sacramento, California on July 18, 1963. He was five years younger than my mother.
This is the photo taken after Ellen's death. In the back, Noel, Don, Marvin (my grandfather), Jay Dee, and Lee. In the front, Gene, Ruby (my mom), Ruth and Lola Mae. Not the best picture but the only one I have with Gene. 
Uncle Gene never married. His whole life was about the Air Force. He served in World War II and Korea. He always wanted to be a pilot but never passed the physical because his eye sight was not good enough. So, instead, he rode in planes, taking care of the photographic equipment. Since my grandfather was a photographer, Uncle Gene came by it naturally.

When I was small, he would pop in unexpectedly and spend weeks with our family. He was always fun to have around. He would bring gifts for my mom. My brother has the tea set he brought her from China. If you hold the teacup up to the light, a geisha appears. He brought her scrimshaw from India. He had interesting stories and I loved it when he arrived. After he left us, he would head to Washington to visit Aunt Lola and her family.

He was 40 years old when he died, way too young. He was killed in an auto accident when two young kids, sharing the driver's side seat belt, lost control of the car, hitting him head-on in his lane. The whole family gathered in Sacramento to say goodbye. 

The family at the cemetery. 
Ruby (Yeakley) Rhea, Paul Curtindale, Ernie Rhea behind Paul, Ruth (Yeakley) Edmonds, Marlin Rhea, Jay Dee Yeakley behind Marlin, Marie (White) Yeakley, Jerry Curtindale, Noel Yeakley, Alta (Rogers) Yeakley, Lola Mae (Yeakley) Curtindale, Vivian (Crawford) Yeakley, Don Yeakley. 

Uncle Gene should have been in this picture. I wasn't because I took the picture. 


  1. Uncle Gene sounds like an amazing guy, and yes, he was way too young. Life happens that way sometimes. It's nice that you have so many fond memories of him.

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  2. He sounds like a very exciting uncle to have. Too bad he didn't have longer with you and your family.

  3. That was my first reaction when I saw his birth and death dates "he died too young". I am sorry you lost him in such a senseless accident; you paid him a nice tribute, and I'm sure he had an element of "exotic" to him because he traveled to what were then faraway and mysterious places for us.

  4. A very special tribute to your Uncle. His service and dedication to his country and family is the greatest legacy one can leave. It is very admirable and special that you have done so. He is also remembered with a Memorial on Find A Grave...Here is the link:

    If you are not familiar with Find A Grave, it is a wonderful place for Family Research.
    Sue at CollectInTexas Gal