On Thursday, Aug, 4, 2022, it was a sad day. We lost a great man, Herbert Eugene Yantis. He was a husband, a father of two, grandfather of seven, great-grandfather of 12, and a great-great-grandfather of one and a second one due Oct. 1. He was a wonderful uncle to many nieces and nephews, plus a very dear friend to many.
Herbert Eugene Yantis was born to Frank and Yetta Yantis on Dec. 31, 1923, in Turvey’s Logging camp where they worked and lived. He was always proud to have been born there and to be named after the owner of the camp. He attended first grade there. His dad was a logger, so they moved around a lot to Tenino, Pe Ell and Mossyrock. He attended many different schools during that time.
While in Mossyrock, his dad decided he wanted to give up logging and move to Milton- Freewater, Oregon, where Herb’s uncle owned a grocery store. There happened to be a clothing store available that Herb’s parents took over, so a new adventure began. Herb got a job delivering groceries for his uncle when he was 13. He often reminisced about driving the delivery truck past the police and they just assumed he was older.
Herb attended junior and senior year there. He played many sports including football, track, and basketball, becoming an All Star and earning a college scholarship to Whitman College.
In 1942, he had just gotten a nice start at Whitman playing basketball and studying to become a doctor when he received a letter from Uncle Sam saying, “We need you.” He chose the U.S. Navy and left college to serve his country in 1943. He spent three years serving as a pharmacist mate first class in the South Pacific. During this time, he learned first aid and because his ship did not have a doctor, he became the doctor earning him the nickname “Doc.”
He treated a lot of men for a variety of things. One of his stories included saving a man’s life from being bit by a snake that had snuck on a ship. Another story he told was about an ammunition ship that was bombed right alongside his ship. His ship was damaged some with the debris and shrapnel that they took on. He treated many wounded that day all the while being temporarily deaf from the sound of the explosions.
There were no survivors of the ammunition ship. Herb was always bothered by the fact that the ammunition crew never received the Purple Heart. He left the Navy in 1946. He was always very proud to be part of the Navy and “the greatest generation” to serve.
While Herb was in the Navy, his parents bought a big farm in Toledo, Washington. That’s where he came home to. He helped his dad on the farm when he wasn’t out on tour with what was known then as professional basketball for the Waldorf Astoria traveling team. They played Portland, Seattle, Bellingham, and Vancouver, Canada. He played by maintaining eye contact and watching for signals as he could not hear the calls very well due to the hearing damage he received while in the Navy. He enjoyed playing until he found a job with Longbell Lumber Company in Longview, Washington, that paid more than pro ball. (Pro ball didn’t pay much back then.) At the mill, he worked in the first aid department because of his medical knowledge he learned from the Navy.
While at home in Toledo, he explored and met new people in his free time. One night he went to a dance at the Toledo Community Hall. This is where he met a girl and they danced. Her name was Bummy Lowe. He found out she was attending Toledo High School, so one day he went there to meet her. He asked her to go to a show. She said she had to get permission to go. After that, he would show up more often to take her out and date more. They got serious and Herb used his charm to persuade her to get married instead of going to college.
One month after Bummy’s graduation on June 27, 1947, they were married at the Toledo Presbyterian Church in Toledo, Washington. They lived in Kelso, Washington for a few months then moved to the next town over in Longview.
After one and a half years, they decided to start a family and bought their first home in Longview. Then on May 17, 1949, their first child, a son, was born. They sincerely enjoyed their new addition so much they decided to have another. On Nov. 19, 1951, a baby girl was born, completing their family and making them feel like the luckiest couple in the world.
They lived in Longview until 1954 when Herb’s job went on strike. When Herb’s coach from his basketball days learned of this he said,” come to Anacortes.” Never having been there before, they packed up the family and moved to Anacortes, Washington. There he became a parts and service manager for Fox motors and rented a home while they waited for theirs to be built. He decided to try a job at the Texaco Refinery then he bought a Shell Service station.
Fifteen years later, he received a call about a Shell Station being available in Chehalis, Washington.
This meant coming home to Herb and Bummy. They rented a home on Newaukum hill. While Herb managed the station, Bummy managed their burger bar next door. Five years went by, and the freeway bought them out with plans to expand.
In 1974, they purchased what would be the home they would live in for almost 49 years. At this home, they were able to get a couple of mules. First Ted then Jack. They had a lot of fun with them, hooking them up to the wagon and going for rides, until one day, the mules decided to take off with them down the road at full speed. That was the end of the wagon rides. Jack lived to be 37 and Ted 52.
Ted was given a big party that included carrot cake. Herb enjoyed his mules immensely. Other animals he enjoyed were birds. He loved feeding the wild birds in their pasture every morning, noting the doves were his favorite because they would coo. Every time he and Bummy would take a trip to the beach they would always take bread to feed the seagulls.
Herb was involved with many organizations. He had joined the Newaukum Grange in 1969, becoming a 53-year member this year. He held office for many of those years, including eight years as master. He participated in every job the grange had done while he was able. He loved overseeing the candy sacks for the Christmas parties. While involved at the grange, he and Bummy joined five others to form a band called “The Newaukum Mountaineers.” They played all over the county. He is a Chehalis Eagles Member. Herb has been a member of the American Legion in Centralia for 60 years and a member of the Veterans Museum. He was also an attendee of the Methodist Church in Chehalis and became a member for the last 20 years.
All in all, Herb and Bummy led a busy, eventful life. They traveled a lot while they could. They went to Hawaii, Florida, the Bahamas, Puerto Rico, and other closer places within the states.
He was a gentle, kind, family man, who always called Bummy “his beautiful wife” and played an ongoing game of “tag” and “I love you more” with the kids and grandkids.
He and his “beautiful” wife made it to 75 years of marriage on June 27 this year. That was his number one goal when he came home on hospice. Next would be to see his new great-great-grandchild in October, then to make it to 100. But God had other plans for him.
He was happy and loved by his family. He always encouraged their endeavors. May you rest in peace, Herb. We will always love and miss you.
We would like to thank the American Legion for their honors and to thank Herb’s great-grandson Bryant Croy, the U.S. Army, granddaughter Serene Yantis-Gonzeles, and the U.S. Marines for folding and presenting the U.S. Flag to their grandma Bummy.
We would also like to thank the Chehalis United Methodist Church for the refreshments and the Newaukum Grange for the use of the hall.
Thank you Pastor Zack Taylor and Jerry Owens for the eulogies given at the service and the celebration of life.
Thank you to Assured Hospice for their guidance in and caring of Herb.
Thank you to the grandsons and great-grandsons for being pallbearers: Aaron Wilson (Dollie), Jesse Wilson, Frank Wilson, Wyatt Wilson, Daniel Lazaris (Celeste), Steve Gonzales (Serene).
Honorary pallbearers were son-in-law Vernon Croy (Janie), and dear friends, Darryl Dow (Naomi) and Harlow Martinson (Betty).
Thank you to the Toledo Sticklin Funeral Home.
- The Herb Yantis Family
God Saw You Getting Tired
God saw you getting tired
And a cure was not to be
So he put His arms around you
And whispered "Come to me."
With tearful eyes we watched you
As you slowly slipped away
And though we loved you dearly
We couldn't make you stay.
Your golden heart stopped beating
Your tired hands put to rest
God broke our hearts to prove to us
He only takes the best.
By Frances and Kathleen Coelho