Obituaries » Donald Edwin Yates

August 8, 1936 - January 1, 2019

Service Date: January 7, 2019

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Donald Edwin Yates
August 8, 1936 – January 1, 2019

Donald Edwin Yates, 82 of Wilson went to be with his Lord and Savior on Tuesday, January 1, 2019.

Don was born in Kinmundy, Illinois to Irene Louise (Wilkinson) Yates and Edwin Harold (Jack) Yates. He was raised on a farm where they had a vegetable garden, fruit orchards, and a variety of livestock.

In the fall of 1947, he started the 4th grade at a new school where he met the love of his life, Eva Arlene Baker. Their families lived just 1 ½ miles apart and their fathers served on the local school board together. Don and Eva spent much of their childhood at Brown Christian Church, which was the spiritual center of their youth. In 1951, he accepted Jesus as his personal Savior and was baptized at Boston Lake nearby. Throughout their teenage years, he and Eva were a part of a youth quartet that performed at Brown Christian Church and other churches in the area.

During his sophomore year of high school he began his first job away from home, working part time for Dutch Linton at the local funeral home. He worked closely with Dutch and with the permission of his parents and the high school principal he was the first student in his school to complete a work study program.

He attended the University of Illinois where he studied agriculture and launched a career as a corn breeder and genetic researcher. He spent over 47 years working at numerous seed companies throughout Illinois, Ohio, North Carolina, and Michigan. His career gave him the opportunity to travel the world and some of his favorite places were Chile, Germany, Mexico, and Puerto Rico.

Don and Eva raised their three children primarily in Champaign, IL and moved to Pikeville, NC in the 1975 where two of their daughters stayed and raised their families.
In the late 90’s, he and Eva moved to Monticello, Illinois, and he officially retired in 2002. They were active members of the Monticello Christian Church until moving to North Carolina in 2013 to be closer to their daughters and families. Throughout his life, he found the most joy while traveling with his wife, family, and friends. As he reflected on his life, he wrote about his faith in the Lord and truly believed that when he was called home he would see Jesus face to face.

The family will receive friends Friday, January 4th from 6:00 – 7:30 pm at Joyner’s Funeral Home located at 4100 Raleigh Road Parkway in Wilson, NC. On Monday, January 7th a visitation will be held at noon followed by his funeral service at 1:00 pm. Both will be held at Roger-Atkins Funeral Home located at 403 South Broadway in Salem, Illinois. Interment will follow in Phillips Cemetery in Kinmundy, Illinois.

Donald is survived by his wife, Eva Yates of sixty-three years; daughters, Annette Sullivan of Wake Forest and Debra Travis (Donald) of Atlantic Beach; a daughter-in-law, Deborah Ann Yates of Lena, IL; grandchildren, Bobby Sullivan (Rhonda) of Raleigh, Terra Calahan (Chad) of Las Vegas, NV; Nichole Andersen (David) of South Beloit, IL; Dan Yates of Buckeye, AZ and Melissa Sullivan (Taylor Jones) of Raleigh. Great grandchildren, Jacob Calahan, Lilly Yates, Jackson Yates and Tiegan Anderson and his brothers, Darrell Yates, Danny Yates (Jackie) and Denzel Yates (Joyce).

He was preceded in death by his son Dean Edwin Yates and his parents, Irene and Jack Yates.

In lieu of flowers contributions may be sent in Donald’s memory to Stoney Brook Christian Church, 3502 Airport Blvd., NW, Wilson, NC. 27896.

Arrangements are under the care of Joyner’s Funeral Home, 4100 Raleigh Road Parkway, Wilson, NC or at

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