Carroll County government lowered flags to half-staff this week to honor former county commissioner Richard Yates, a Sykesville resident who died March 5, at age 86, at Carroll Hospice's Dove House in Westminster.
Yates served as a member of the Board of County Commissioners from 1994 to 1998.
During his tenure, he was president of the board and is credited with taking leadership on several key initiatives. For example, while the commissioners were sitting as the Board of Health in 1996, the board support the Partnership for a Healthier Community — a group that operates today as an advocate for health and fitness initiatives across the county.
That board also adopted the county's first Adequate Public Facilities and Concurrency Management Ordinance in March 1998 as a means of managing the county's budgets and plan for future infrastructure needs.
Yates is also credited with advocating for the construction of Oklahoma Road Middle School, in Eldersburg, to help alleviate overcrowding in schools in the southern portion of the county.
In a statement on March 8, the current members of the Board of County Commissioners said, "Commissioner Yates left a lasting legacy to the citizens of Carroll County."
Born April 23, 1925, in Baltimore, he was the son of the late Donald Roscoe and Isabel Doretta Miller Yates. He was the husband of Mary Louise Dawson Yates, his wife of 53 years.
He was drafted into the Army on Aug. 30, 1943, and in April 1944, his division went to Knutsford, England. From there, the unit was called up to Utah Beach in Normandy, then Cherbourg, France, where Yates saw his first action.
Following the Battle of La Haye du Puits, which lasted six days, he was sent back to England until November 1944. He was transferred to a hospital at the University of Virginia for injuries he received and was a patient until March 1945. He was awarded the Purple Heart and the Combat Infantry Medal.
By using the GI Bill he started school in 1947 and worked for the Army as a civilian in the inspector general's office until 1986. He worked as a contract specialist for the Department of Defense.
He moved to Carroll County in 1963 and became involved in politics.
He was a member of Freedom Lodge No. 112 AF&AM, was former commander of VFW Post No. 4952 and was a pilot.
Surviving him, in addition to his wife, are daughter and son-in-law Julia Ann and Stephen H. Sothoron, of Sykesville; sons and daughter-in-law Donald Richard and Danielle Marie Yates, and Kenneth Yates, all of Sykesville; grandchildren Christopher and Casey Selby, Jennifer Sothoron, Karah, Kristin, Karlie, Kelli and Jesse Yates; and nephews Richard and Donald Baum.
He was predeceased by a sister, Jessie Adelaide Baum.
The family will receive friends from 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m. Friday at Haight Funeral Home & Chapel, 6416 Sykesville Road, Sykesville.
A funeral service will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday at the funeral home.
Interment will follow in Pleasant Valley Cemetery in Westminster.
The family requests that memorial contributions may be sent to Carroll Hospice Dove House, 292 Stoner Ave., Westminster, MD 21157. Online condolences may be expressed at http://www.haightfuneralhome.com.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun