WILLIAMSON — For many years, the Yates brothers, Garland, Carl and Frank, have been a familiar sight on the downtown streets of Williamson. One could not attend a Belfry High School home football game without seeing them there, cheering for the Pirates. Sadly, the brothers are now missing a sibling after the death of Garland over the weekend that was said to have been caused by a heart attack. Garland was the eldest of the three.
Garland, 79 years of age, was a well-known fixture in Williamson. He and his brother Frank would often be found in the Mingo County Court House, making their rounds from office to office speaking with the employees they considered their extended family. The deceased always had a smile and a handshake for everyone he met, and never wavered from reminding you that you were always in his thoughts and prayers. He loved to joke and laugh, and said he loved to make people happy.
Garland was a veteran newspaper deliverer, having worked for the Williamson Daily News for approximately 12 years before giving up his walking route due to health problems. He had also been a Justice Drive In employee for many years. Garland was a member of the Williamson 5th Avenue Church of Christ and enjoyed spending time worshiping with the congregation and taking part in the many events sponsored by the church. He attended political functions and could be seen standing at the front of the crowd, waving his American flag. He was also credited for reporting two downtown fires that occurred early in the morning, one being the Army Navy Store that was located on 3rd Avenue and the other being the historical Coal House. His reports allowed firefighters to arrive on the scene and fight the battles that could have ended with more damage than was sustained.
Ramona Mahon, the Mingo County Assessor, has known the Yates brothers for many years, and recalls fond memories of the visits they have paid to her office and said that Garland would certainly be missed.
“He was such a humble man,” stated Mahon. “He loved to come in our office and tell us stories; he would have us laughing in a matter of minutes. Anytime we had a luncheon or a dinner in the courthouse, Frank and Garland would always attend. I would make him a plate and make sure he ate before they left. He loved to come around when we had birthday parties and would spend hours at a time with us.”
Mahon commented that everyone that came to know Garland loved him, and said it saddens her to think of not looking up from her desk and seeing his smiling face.
“He was one of a kind; there will never be another Garlie.”
Garland is survived by his brothers Carl, Frank and Joe Yates; sisters Jenny Cooper, Loraine Sesco and Betty Sue Yates, plus a host of family and friends. Visitation will be held tonight after 6 p.m. at the Rogers Funeral Home at Belfry, Ky. The funeral is scheduled to be held at the same location on Thursday at 2 p.m. Burial will follow in the Mountain View Memory Gardens at Huddy, Ky.
Donations to help pay for funeral expenses may be made directly to the Rogers Funeral Home.