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Robert Leroy "Bob" YeastSeptember 8, 1921 ~ August 2, 2017 (age 95)
Robert Leroy "Bob" Yeast, 95, of 330 East Grant Street, Macomb, Illinois, passed away at 10:30 p.m. Wednesday, August 2, 2017 at Blessing Hospital in Quincy, Illinois. He was born on a farm, one and a half miles southeast of Macomb on September 8, 1921, to William Ernest and Ruth (Archer) Yeast. Ernest was a grain and dairy farmer.
Surviving are one son, John Stephen (Judy) Yeast of Sciota; three grandchildren, Melissa (Leandro) Telles, of Macomb Michael (Elizabeth) Yeast of Chandler, Arizona and Ashley (Mitch) Tanney of Centennial, Colorado. Also surviving are one sister-in-law, Barbara Rosenberger of Calabasas, California; two nephews, Bradford Rosenberger of Pasadena, California, William (Elizabeth) Yeast of Mill Valley, California; four nieces, Janice (Larry) Wayland, Sharon (William) Butcher, and Debbie (David) Taylor, all of Macomb and Lou Ann (Bert) Glader of Stanford, California.
Mary, his wife of 60 years, preceded him in death in 2007.
He was also preceded in death by his parents; one brother, William Richard Yeast; one sister, Dorothy (Jess) Davidson; two nephews, James Campbell and Roger Campbell; and two brothersin-law, Robert (Dorothy) Campbell and John (Louise) Campbell.
Robert’s first eight grades of schooling were in a one room country school. He attended and graduated from Macomb High School in 1939. He married Mary LaRue (Campbell) Yeast on November 30, 1940 , in Macomb .
Upon graduation he worked for two years at the Illinois Electric Porcelain factory as a precision grinder. With war in the air Robert was ordered to take his precision grinding skills to the Arsenal in Rock Island, Illinois. There he drilled and finished machine gun barrels until 1943 when he was drafted into the Army Infantry and ordered to report to Camp Blanding, Florida. Prior to deployment he received a Combat Infantryman Expert Marksmanship Badge with an M1.
Robert sailed to Europe aboard the Queen Mary and soon found live combat experience in Belgium during the Battle of the Bulge. Shortly thereafter it was Robert’s company that crossed the Ludendorff Bridge at Remagen. During his deployment he was awarded two Overseas Service Bars, a European-African-Middle Eastern Ribbon with three Bronze Battle Stars, a Good Conduct Medal, and a WWII Victory Medal. He returned to civilian life in 1946 after fulfilling his military obligation.
Upon his return, Robert found employment at the McDonough Power Company. He worked there for 13 years serving as a groundsman, lineman, storekeeper, power use advisor and assistant manager. In 1957 he left McDonough Power to open his own business, Yeast Printing, Inc. He was president and CEO of the business for 58 years until retiring in 2015.
Through the years Mr. Yeast was very active in the community. His accomplishments included service as a member of the Macomb School Unit #185 school board; serving as a Boy Scout scoutmaster, district chairman and member of the Prairie Council Executive Committee; Trustee, Deacon and Elder of the First Presbyterian Church; Worshipful Master in the Masonic Lodge; Macomb Area Chamber of Commerce "Citizen of the Year" in 1986; president of the Macomb Area Chamber of Commerce in 1987; member of the V.F.W. and American Legion Post 6; served as a board member of the McDonough County Red Cross and the Tuberculosis Association. In 2013, Robert was honored for his significant contribution to the community throughout his business life by Macomb Mayor Mike Inman who declared September 9, 2013 as Robert L. Yeast Day.
Robert joined the Macomb Chapter of Rotary International in 1962, serving as president in 1979-80. He was awarded Rotary’s prestigious Paul Harris award in 1984. As a member of Rotary he achieved over 54 years of perfect attendance.
Bob Yeast was initiated into the Macomb Elks Lodge in 1942 while in basic training at Camp Blanding, Jacksonville, Florida. Following WWII he became very active in the Elks, serving as exalted ruler in 1965-66, the same year he donated the first Easter Bunny costume to Macomb Lodge for their Easter Bunny program. In 1967, he was chosen as Macomb Lodge "Elk of the Year." As an active member of the Lodge he served a term on the House Committee, and a five year term on the Board of Trustees. During this time he sponsored a team in the Macomb Elks Bowling League which continued into the 1980’s. He also served in several capacities on the Board of Directors of the Illinois Elks Bowling Association, including 14 years as treasurer and as president.
In 1975 he began his journey through the Illinois Elks Association’s (IEA) District offices, being elected District Deputy Grand Exalted Ruler in 1980-81. In 1984 he was elected third vice-president of the IEA and in 1988-89 he served as president. From 1988-93 he was an Area 5 Ritual Committeeman. During 1988-99 he was selected as the Grand Esteemed Loyal Knight. From 1993-95 he was chairman of the Grand Lodge Ritual Committee. On November 16, 2013, Macomb Lodge honored Robert Yeast with a Roast to recognize his 71 years of outstanding service and dedication to furthering the goals of Elkdom.
Through the years Bob Yeast was often kidded for not having any hobbies. His passion was work, Rotary and attending Elks events at the Lodge and at state association and Grand Lodge conventions. He also enjoyed his grandchildren and NASCAR. When the grandchildren were young, he and Mary would take them to Chicago every Christmas season to see the wonderful light displays.
Bob Yeast was an astute businessman, but more importantly a kind and compassionate human being. His gift to mankind was not in talking but in listening and doing. Raised on a farm in the 1930’s Bob was accustomed to hard work, to take nothing for granted, and appreciate what you have. As a businessman he was generous in giving back to the community, never asking for public recognition. He was successful because he treasured friendship and respect for his peers. He was a quiet man, not comfortable in long-winded conversations. If there was work to be done then he wanted to work, not chat. In high school Bob wanted to be an architect. Circumstances dictated he follow a different path. He did demonstrate he had the skills to be an architect when he was called upon to design the original McDonough Power Co-op building and then again, in 1950, when he designed and performed all the major construction on the first and only home he and Mary would ever own. They both resided in that home until they were no longer able to care for themselves.
Funeral services will be held at 2:00 p.m. on Tuesday, August 8, 2017, at the First Presbyterian Church in Macomb with the Rev. Mark Merrill officiating, Burial will be in Oakwood Cemetery in Macomb. Visitation will be held on Tuesday, August 8, from 12:30 p.m. until time of the service.
Clugston Tibbitts Funeral Home in Macomb is in charge of the arrangements.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Macomb Elks Veterans Service, the Illinois Elks Children’s Care Corporation or the McDonough County Humane Society.