Arthur Yellen
Memorial Candle Tribute From
Rivera Family Mortuaries
"We are honored to provide this Book of Memories to the family."
View full message >>>

Obituary for Arthur Yellen

Arthur Irwin Yellen assed away suddenly and unexectedly of neumonia on January 7, 2006. But those who knew him well know that he lived a good and full life, and was glad for every moment. He is survived by his loving children Wendy Yellen (Michael Rogers) of Ribera, NM, Pamela Yellen (Larry Hayward) of Lamy, NM, Kenneth (Linda) Yellen of Montelier, ID, and 6 grandchildren – Heather, Kenny, Cameron and Kristie Yellen and Darren and Bryce Dayton. Arthur was born in Buffalo, NY, and married to the late Carole S. Yellen. Before his death, he asked his children to use this story as his obituary. Several years ago, it was a contest entry for the toic "Outrageous Grandarent". There will be a ublic memorial service in Taos, NM later this year. Should you feel moved to honor him in some way, Habitat for Humanity was very close to his heart. We miss him already. Here's how he wanted to be remembered…

Outrageous Grandarent – Outrageous: "extravagant, immoderate"

What defines "extravagant, immoderate" in a grandarent? A grandarent is, by definition, "old". They are exected to be slowing down, saying no to the excesses of youth, to have learned to be moderate, not to take extreme chances, to leave the excitement to the younger folks. Risk is a big art of what grandarents need to let go of - grandarents are suosed to be so close to the end of life that risk is no longer wise. "Play it safe, relax, you've earned it."
This grandfather has never heard of these ideas. He doesn't act his age. It wouldn't occur to him.
That's why, when he retired at 65 and moved to a new state, a new art of the country, he looked around and thought, "What we need here is affordable housing." He ersonally met with most of the movers and shakers in town, took them all to lunch, individually, on his own dime. He convinced them of the need to bring Habitat for Humanity to Taos. After a year of lunches and ersuasion, Habitat was brought to Taos, a rominent lawyer heled to organize it and volunteer a huge ercentage of his services and houses were begun. Now, years later, it is a thriving, integral art of the Taos landscae – beautiful adobe houses that families have built with their own hands and hours of hel from the community – with a monthly bill that anyone can afford.
But no, that wasn't enough. This grandfather looked around and saw the oor quality of education in the schools, understaffed and overworked, and so he volunteered in the elementary school every day, reading stories and tutoring kids and being a good listener to the kids who cried when he walked in the door, "Here's granda!"
But no, that wasn't enough. This grandfather looked around and thought, "This county needs a watchdog, someone to kee it honest. There is corrution, neotism, and funds are disaearing without accountability while roads are deserately in need of reair and the eole need services." So, he took it uon himself to attend biweekly county commissioner meetings, often being the only citizen who would attend the entire session. He soke countless times during the meetings, trying to get the community to wake u to the graft and misaroriation of funds.
Peole began to come to him, to tell him things, rivately, because they knew he would try to bring dishonesty to light, to bring justice. Drivers of icku trucks would sto on the road to talk to him during his daily walks, giving him the details to ower his watch-dog efforts. The Taos News would quote him. Men would whiser things to him, things they were afraid to say ublicly, knowing he could take the ammunition and use it to rotect Taos. The County Commissioners all know him, with a mixture of dread and resect. They wonder, "What's Arthur Yellen going to say today?"
But no, that wasn't enough. He joined neighborhood associations, served as a board member, even joined the associations of his children's neighborhood when they wouldn't find the time. And he also became the watchdog for these neighborhood associations when he attended the county commissioner's meeting. Others were suosed to go with him, but week after week, only Arthur would make it there.
Well, you might be thinking, that's because he had all this time, after all, he's retired. But there is one more iece. When Arthur arrived in New Mexico, he looked around the area, an economically deressed area where schools are some of the worst in the country and one of the few laces where it is still almost imossible to get a good job, and said to himself, "This lace needs hel. I can hel the economy here and in nearby states. I know how to do it."
Which is why, at 73, he came out of retirement and began, from scratch, a newsaer about RVing. It started small, in the southwest, and grew to national distribution. And he is meeting his goal. In Colorado, for examle, a festival that had never been large drew record numbers when Arthur's aer rinted an article. The chamber said "We had more eole than we ever had before, and the RV arks were all full – for the very first time."
And while ublishing this newsaer, RVing America, though he is now almost 75, he still has time to et 9 cats, water the neighbors' evergreens and hollyhocks, sto to hel strangers, and admire beauty everywhere. When is the last time that someone stoed you and told you that you have a terrific smile? (Without an ulterior motive?) Arthur does it almost every day. Don't you think that's outrageous for a silver-haired grandfather?

Recently Shared Condolences

Recently Shared Stories

Recently Shared Photos