Richard Ellis Yarbrough, Sr., age 84, died on Monday July 13, 2020, after a brief illness. He was born on April 19, 1936 in Savannah, Ga, to Jesse Linton Yarbrough and Leola Thomas Yarbrough. Along with his parents, he was preceded in death by his beloved wife of 58 years, Nancy Werntz Yarbrough, daughter Margaret Ann Yarbrough, sister Ann Yarbrough Burk, and brother Jesse Leroy Yarbrough.
He is survived by his three loving children, Richard Ellis Yarbrough, Jr. (Ann), Theresa Yarbrough Dileo, and Christopher Lee Yarbrough, Sr. (Amanda), eight grandchildren, Kyle Christian Yarbrough (Katelyn), Glynn Ellis Yarbrough, Julian Taylor Quesada, Alexandra Christina Dileo, Santo Anthony Dileo, Jr., Christopher Lee Yarbrough, Jr. (Megan), Jenna Marie Yarbrough, and Margaret Ann Yarbrough, four great-grandchildren, Grayson Randall Yarbrough, Makenzie Faine Yarbrough, Christopher Lee Yarbrough, and Sandlyn Marie Yarbrough, along with Sister-In-Law Helen Werntz Mathis (James), Brother-In-Laws Gilbert Hooper Werntz, Jr (Lynda), Charles Michael Werntz (Jeanne), and many nieces and nephews.
Richard was the youngest of three siblings, as brother Roy was 12 and sister Ann 11 when he was born. He lost his Mom Leola at the age of 12 from a surgical complication, and his poignant remembrances of her throughout his life, will always be remembered and cherished by his children. He graduated from Savannah High School, attended Armstrong State College, and Mercer University, but it was a fateful meeting of a delivery truck, palm tree, and "the most beautiful girl he had ever seen" that set his life path in motion. At 19, while delivering laundry to the Werntz household on Wilmington Island, he caught his first glimpse of Nancy Werntz, and then promptly backed the truck smack into a palm tree. Who knows what happened to the truck, but he sure got the girl (they were married on June 30, 1956), and through almost 60 years of marriage, his favorite line while introducing our Mom was, "I'd like you to meet my first wife Nancy"!
Richard studied and converted to Catholicism at the time of his marriage, and his strong faith never wavered throughout his life. After the birth of four children by the age of 26 in 1962, he attributed a specific visit to church, and kneeling at the alter in prayer, for help in securing a better job to support his family. In fact, the very next day, he received a call for an interview with S.C. Johnson & Son, was hired, and after 36 years, retired in July 1998.
Family life was everything, as the memories of school events, Mass on Sundays, sporting events, and being "out on the boat" are as vivid as they all happened yesterday. And that is even before you throw in Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, St. Patrick's Day, and the always and impromptu gatherings with aunts, uncles, cousins, neighbors, and friends at the Yarbrough house. In short, life was a party! Richard's love of music, and in particular jazz, was a lifelong passion, and along with the proverbial foot tapping or hand slapping to a song, you never knew when he may get up and dance or sing. His and Nancy's dance moves together were a sight to see!
Along with the legacy that he and Nancy left with their children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren, is his most supreme legacy - his genuine humbleness, kindness, and compassion for others. Countless upon countless observations by all of us siblings growing up, saw him go out of his way to say a kind word to a stranger, offer encouragement, a pat on the back, or a joke to bring a smile to their face - no matter who they were, or their lot in life.
Along with Mom, we were so very proud to have you as parents, and are so happy that you are
together again! Until we all meet again Dad, Daddy, Papa, Go Rest High On That Mountain!
Special thanks to Lay Ministers Barbara and Jim Nowak, and to Sister Terencia for their weekly visits to spend time with Dad, and bring the Holy Eucharist to him. In addition, we would like to thank the entire staff at Summer Breeze for their loving care. He was so very grateful to all of you.
A graveside memorial gathering of family and friends will be held on Monday December 7, 2020, at Forest Lawn Memory Gardens, at 2:30 PM. Our entire family's beloved Father Patrick O'Brian will officiate.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that remembrances be made to Hospice Savannah, P.O. Box 13190, Savannah, GA 31416.