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Henry Yeager

Henry Arnout “Butch” Yeager, Jr, age 80, of Waynesboro, Pennsylvania, died August 19, 2020; now with the Lord; guiding sunbeam for Jesus; Heaven’s gate-greeter for God.

Born August 12, 1940, in Pearisburg, Virginia, he was a son of Helen Moore Friel and Henry Arnout Yeager, Sr.

He was raised in Marlinton, the middle child in a family of three sisters, J. Ann, Nancy A., and M. Susan; and one brother, James A.

He was nicknamed at birth by a high school coach. “Butch, the Bulldog,” a popular cartoon was the source of that humorous designation.

A graduate of Marlinton High School, Butch excelled in sports as a four-year member of the Copperhead baseball and football teams. His skillful and swift, zig-zag running technique earned him the award of “Honorable Mention, All State Half Back.”

Butch valued his German, Irish, Scotch, French Hugue-not and Shawnee Native American ancestry. A fifth generational descendant of the first families who established permanent homesteads in Pocahontas County, he honored the significant efforts of ancestral contributions in their services as educators, ministers, farmers, lumber mill owners, physicians, innkeeper, postmasters, sawyers, circuit clerks, poet, merchants, surveyors, governor, inventors, sheriffs, county commissioners, blacksmiths, state representatives, businessmen and more.

Throughout most of his life, he returned to Pocahontas County for reunions with family and friends at his boyhood home, the splendid, Victorian mansion located in Marlinton. Later, the Pocahontas county seat, the town was the first English settlement (1749) west of the Allegheny Mountains.

A visit to 18th century Traveler’s Repose, originally “The Yeager Hotel,” the historic, stage coach inn sited on the notable Staunton-Parkersburg Turnpike, was also Butch’s important destination. His second great-grandparents, Elizabeth Dilley and Andrew Yeager, and his great-grandparents, Margaret Bible and Peter Dilley Yeager, were the proprietors who hosted Abraham Lincoln, David Fire- stone, Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, Ambrose Bierce, Porte Crayon, and others in the famous 22-room inn. 

The inn was the setting of the Civil War’s Battle of Bartow, October 3, 1861.

An adventurer in the company of nature, Butch had a boundless love for the Monongahela National Forest’s paradise along the Greenbrier River. Remarkable vistas were savored as he traversed his highland world. The sun and the stars kept a vigil through the pine and spruce gallery of lofty elevations. The National Christmas Tree, a Norway spruce, was cut in and trucked from Pocahontas County to Washington, D. C. in November 1970.

Those youthful, outside experiences led to his future membership in the Izaak Walton League of America in Maryland.

Butch, a licensed firearms instructor, assisted in the building of the I. W. L. A.’s shotgun, rifle and pistol ranges. As a conservationist, he was concerned with ethical hunting practices. Sporting endeavors involved hunting moose in Newfoundland; deer and turkey in West Virginia and Pennsylvania; and waterfowl in Maryland.

Similarly, an entrant, with a registered moniker, into black powder shooting competitions; a challenger at sporting clays and skeet tournaments; and a recreational target shooter; 

Butch, a United States Marine Corps sharpshooter, continued his fortes. He was an outstanding archery marksman, engaging the use of a compound bow for fixed bag targets and seasonal bow hunting. A visit with Fred Bear, concerning the merits of the company’s archery equipment, afforded a meaningful exchange.

The appeal of active competition impelled Butch to join in ex racing, by driving Legends cars with wins at Summit Point Raceway in West Virginia. A car enthusiast, he delighted in attending classic car shows; especially in Hershey, Pennsylvania. Maintaining a vast inventory of model classic cars, provided a worthwhile hobby. Previously he found exhilaration while maneuvering his Montessa motorcycle at Motocross meets.

Touring all 50 states; hiking and camping in national parks; rock-hounding; identifying butterflies and birds; admiring fine art (not always framed); listening, singing and dancing to 60’s music; demonstrating balancing acts; preforming card and slight-of-hand tricks; gripping tight handshakes; initiating arm-wrestling matches; playing jokes; folding paper creations (origami); consuming light amber maple syrup, watermelon, country ham, pimiento cheese and cheeseburgers comprised a variety of Butch’s preferences. 

Furthermore, for a decade, he assisted his wife, Doris, with researching and conducting Yeager/Friel history tours.

Butch and Doris celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in 2020.

The Marine Corps was fortunate to acquire Butch’s service as a Sergeant E-5. A Jar-Head Patrioteer, he was a veteran of the Cuban Missile Crisis. Semper Fi. 

Military loyalty was exemplified by soldiers in the Yeager/Friel families who served in the American Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, the Civil War, World War I, World War II, the Korean Conflict and the Vietnam War.

Unfolding talents progressed through adulthood producing successes in scientific disciplines. Influenced by his high school chemistry instructor, Charles Edward McElwee, Butch enrolled in the science program to earn a Bachelor’s Degree from Concord College. He worked as a lab assistant in addition to attending his uncle’s (Professor Dale Isola) chemistry class. A Master’s Degree (plus 30), awarded by Duke University and the University of Maryland, provided a knowledgeable direction toward educa- tional vocations.

Dr. Constantin A. Sorokin authored the book, Chorella 7-11-05. In it, Butch was the featured tabular, documenting comparative data related to the high and low temperatures of the strain of 7-11-05. His contribution to the laboratory study of this plant life, chorella pyrenoidosa alga, incorporated the monitoring of the effects of thermal pollution emitted by the Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Power Plant during its 1970 construction in the Chesapeake Bay. 

Butch’s dream was to be a physician – he saved his grandmother’s life. He chose to be a secondary teacher and proved to be a natural counselor, revealing abundant abilities in that profession. He was an impressive employee of the Montgomery County Public School System of Maryland, from which he retired after a 32+ year career. He departed via helicopter from the high school stadium while the staff waved and cheered their farewell.

Instrumental in the achievement of educational goals was his teaching of chemistry, physics, astronomy, meteorology, earth science, biology and driver’s education. His genial, all-inclusive focus equipped him to serve as a class sponsor, and as the advocate/sponsor of S.H.O.P. – Students Helping Other People.

In appreciation for his unselfishly gifting students with the spirit and substance to attain their personal best, the student body selected Butch to be the “Father of Springbrook High School.”

He became known as “Papa Yeags.” Annually, he volunteered to portray the role of Santa Claus to students and staff.

Butch was an accomplished, self-assured happy man. He possessed a welcoming spirit, a merry smile, a generous manner, a trustworthy nature, an honest drawl, and an irresistible personality. The warmth of his character could cover your soul; a candid style, self-made.

Let your memories of Butch be your keepsakes; those sacred collections of spontaneous thoughts of an extraordinary man.
A graveside service was held August 26, 2020 at Parklawn Memorial Gardens in Rockville, Maryland, with Methodist Pastor David Deans officiating. Military rites were provided by the Naval/Marine Honor Corps. 

Funeral arrangements were prepared by Bowersox Funeral Home in Waynesboro, Pennsylvania.

Memorial contributions may be made to Southern West Virginia Chapter of Trout Unlimited, Attn: William Vance, 4701 Piscah Road, Princeton, WV 24739. Please indicate on the memo line: Edray Hatchery.

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