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David Yakes

On Monday, September 2, David Craig Yakes, loving husband, father of three children, and grandfather of two grandchildren passed away at the age 72.

David (who went by Craig) was born on October 24, 1946 in Memphis, Tenn. to Robert and Janet (Reed) Yakes. He received his Master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh. Craig started his career in Education as a teacher, and spent the greater part of his career as an Elementary School Principal and Administrator at school districts throughout state of Wisconsin. Throughout his career, he also worked at schools in: Colorado, Vermont and Alaska. On August 16, 1969, he married Penelope Ann Toal. They raised their son, Tyler and two daughters, Kasey and Nealy.

From 1966 to 1968 Craig served with the 101st Airborne during the Vietnam War. He was an avid reader and had a passion for the history of the United States. Family vacations were to places such as; Gettysburg and Abe Lincoln’s birth site. His bookshelves were filled with historical biographies, and pictures of past presidents decorated the house.

Craig was a kind and humble man that loved kids. Whether it was in the classroom, on the ballfield or in the backyard, his greatest joy was playing with and being around his students and grandkids. Always looking to lift someone’s day − with kind eyes and a friendly smile − he was quick with a joke, and knew just how to make someone laugh. His brightest moments, and favorite role of all, was being a granddad. He was a deep thinker, always there to listen, and a man who did everything to help family and friends.

Craig was a compass and source of unconditional love for his family. He believed and would often say that, “Life is an adventure.” From hitchhiking with friends across the country as a young man, to traveling the rugged roads of Alaska in an R.V. during retirement along side his beloved brother-in-law, he had quite a ride. He enjoyed being in his workshed, building tables, bookcases, and bird feeders that he always placed in the window of his favorite chair, and looked out at all the visitors that came by for a snack, hummingbirds being one of his favorite to watch.

He had a talent for woodworking, and together, he and his wife, Penny, created thoughtfully beautiful homes to raise their family. He loved Wisconsin country. As children, we all remember him driving us along the rolling hills and rivers, sitting behind the wheel singing Willie Nelson’s “On the Road Again.” He was known for his selfless ways, his infectious humor, and his kind, creative and compassionate spirit.

David is preceded in death by his father, Robert, and mother, Janet. He is survived by his wife Penelope; his three children, Tyler, Kasey and Nealy; his grandchildren, Anabel and Clayton; his sisters, Penny and Dawn; brother-in-law Bill, along with several nieces and nephews that he loved dearly.

In honor of David:

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