Forums: Community: Blue Skies - In Memory Of:
Don Yahrling Memorial this weekend in Deland

 


sid  (D 20135)

Nov 23, 2005, 9:38 AM
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Don Yahrling Memorial this weekend in Deland Can't Post

It is with sadness that I am reporting the death of Don Yahrling to the skydiving community. Don was found in his office/home this morning by a local skydiver, and appears to have passed away peacefully.

The ME and police have just left and we have no official word yet, but I am sure more will be posted in the near future.

Uncle Don's service to the skydiving industry and community will be sorely missed.

RIP Don


edited simply to change the title of the thread. -Chuck


(This post was edited by SkymonkeyONE on Jan 6, 2006, 7:09 AM)


Premier LouDiamond  (D 25931)
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Nov 23, 2005, 9:40 AM
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Quote:
It is with sadness that I am reporting the death of Don Yahrling


Dude, I am totaly bummed by that news. I don't know what to say..Frown


matthewcline  (D 21585)

Nov 23, 2005, 9:42 AM
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Sad news indeed.

Blue Skies Don!


tso-d_chris

Nov 23, 2005, 9:45 AM
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RIP, my friend. You are missed.


freefalle  (D 27777)

Nov 23, 2005, 9:45 AM
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DAMN IT, DAMN IT DAMN IT.

RIP my friend, I will miss you.


winsor  (D 13715)

Nov 23, 2005, 9:48 AM
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In reply to:
It is with sadness that I am reporting the death of Don Yahrling to the skydiving community. Don was found in his office/home this morning by a local skydiver, and appears to have passed away peacefully.

The ME and police have just left and we have no official word yet, but I am sure more will be posted in the near future.

Uncle Don's service to the skydiving industry and community will be sorely missed.

RIP Don

That sucks.

I always enjoyed Don's company, and looked forward to seeing him again.

I am glad I got to know him, and will miss him.


BSBD,

Winsor


jceman  (D 19212)

Nov 23, 2005, 9:54 AM
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Damn.

I'm going to miss his stories, his views on the state of our sport and a whole lot of perspective.

Damn.

Isn't this year over yet?


NickDG  (D 8904)

Nov 23, 2005, 9:57 AM
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Don was one of the best AFF certification course directors and his service in the cause of student safety needs to be noted. Hey USPA, this year's Achievement Award right over here, please . . .

People often said Don and I looked alike and both of us have been mistaken for the other. When we first met many years ago, we stood staring at each other, and we both said the same thing at the time, "I dont see it!"

Sweet dreams, Don . . .

NickD
BASE 194


airtwardo  (D License)

Nov 23, 2005, 10:15 AM
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Blue Skies Uncle Don....

You are loved and will be missed.


RkyMtnHigh  (D 29121)

Nov 23, 2005, 10:36 AM
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Uncle Don? Unsure This comes as a huge shock. He had some creative rigging solutions to fix my container as well as patches for my jumpsuits. What a sweet man.

Wow, he'll certainly be missedFrown


(This post was edited by RkyMtnHigh on Nov 23, 2005, 10:41 AM)


Premier SkymonkeyONE  (D 12501)

Nov 23, 2005, 10:37 AM
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In reply to:
It is with sadness that I am reporting the death of Don Yahrling to the skydiving community. Don was found in his office/home this morning by a local skydiver, and appears to have passed away peacefully.

The ME and police have just left and we have no official word yet, but I am sure more will be posted in the near future.

Uncle Don's service to the skydiving industry and community will be sorely missed.

RIP Don


Holy SHIT! You have got to be kidding me, Peter! Don was in fantastic shape. I am shocked!

A quick edit to say that I have known Don for over 15 years and that I will miss him. For those that did not know it, Don was a US Army Special Forces guy way back in the day. He was the course director (the only one in the USPA at the time; Paul Sitter passed the job onto him) for my first AFF Instructor Qualification Course in 1990 (the one I failed). He was a straight-forward, very thorough instructor. He served a variety of posts in the USPA heirarchy over the years and stayed on top of things like very few others are capable of. He was a really smart guy and had a dry wit. Some would describe Uncle Don as "Napoleonic"Wink.

BSBD, you ornery cuss! You will be missed by a lot of us here at Raeford.

Chuck


(This post was edited by SkymonkeyONE on Nov 23, 2005, 10:48 AM)


Hooknswoop  (D License)

Nov 23, 2005, 10:40 AM
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Goodbye Don.Unsure

Derek


sunshine  (D License)

Nov 23, 2005, 10:43 AM
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So sad to hear. I had the pleasure of meeting and jumping with Don a few years ago.


brits17  (D 24752)

Nov 23, 2005, 11:04 AM
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Blue Skies Frown


tdog  (D 28800)

Nov 23, 2005, 12:25 PM
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This is real sad news...

Don was in Colorado a few weeks ago teaching an AFF certification course. I happened to be taking my Coach rating course at the same time.

I saw Don make an "impression" on the DZ, it was my take that he was trying to show a little intimidation to the prospective AFF instructors, taking them (in a good way) out of their comfort zone...

Don came into our classroom and entertained us with stories and words of wisdom greater than what I can express here. He clearly wanted to share his energy and spirit with us, even though we were not his students, he just had time to share with us.

Don volunteered to do some of our eval check dives. I saw this as a challenge, so I took it head on. I asked him if he would evaluate me.

He told me he would be playing the character of "Vinny" - a New York Taxi Cab driver, who had come to Colorado for a three week vacation to get away from home on some well needed R&R after a death in the family.

Sure enough, when we timed in, there he was, the taxi cab driver - the polar opposite personality of me. He pushed gently to see what I would do and what I would say.

He picked up on everything... From me slightly extending my index finger while saying "good point" and him responding, "you want me to pull, I am not even wearing a rig?" to small manurisms I made when I was not comfortable teaching a subject matter out of my comfort zone.

I had already decided, when it was time for me to get an AFFI rating, Don was going to be my instructor...

Don, you will be missed by all those who knew you. Thank you for investing in our community.

Travis


RhondaLea  (A 29204)

Nov 23, 2005, 12:30 PM
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I'm at a loss for words.

We argued a lot over the years. I remember he stopped speaking to me once because I'd posted something that really pissed him off. But he never failed to present his cheek for a kiss (kind of like kissing the Pope's ring), and more often than not (unless he was really annoyed), I'd get a hug too.

He almost always made me laugh, even when it was at my own expense, which was usually.

I can't believe he's gone. Frown

rl


ZigZagMarquis  (D License)

Nov 23, 2005, 12:36 PM
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I didn't know Don well, mostly just by good reputation... I only meet him once or twice, but never the less... God's speed Don... and my sympathy to his friends and family.


jari

Nov 23, 2005, 12:45 PM
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My friend and mentor. I can not believe you just took off like that. You are missed and your legacy is thousands of new skydivers around the world who would not be jumping without you.

Farewell Don-san,

Jari


"Up here, above the fog, in the lonely dark
emptiness, there is no Life and Death. There is
infinity and a moment in between, when we fly
so full of life and so close to death that they
become one. We are free, and everybody who has
tasted this freedom is alive forever. "

R.B. - Jonathan Livingston Seagull


Bowen  (C 37322)

Nov 23, 2005, 12:53 PM
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Wow, that is very sad to hear. I send my regards to his family and friends. I met Don an few times at the tunnel and he was always in a pleasant mood. Rest in eternal peace.

-Bowen


peek  (D 8884)

Nov 23, 2005, 1:23 PM
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A few minutes ago I read Richard Schachner's email telling me of Don's death, and I'm shocked. He is one of the last people I would expect to hear that kind of news about.

I'm going to miss him. He was one of skydiving's true "characters", and he held _so_ much knowledge.

Skydiving has been dealt a cruel blow today.


gkc1436  (D 18232)

Nov 23, 2005, 1:36 PM
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Blue Skies DonFrown
Thanks for the rating
Thanks for keeping it real.

g


Scrumpot  (D License)

Nov 23, 2005, 1:36 PM
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BSBD Frown
-Grant


BIGUN  (D 23385)

Nov 23, 2005, 1:43 PM
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Very sad news.


shall555  (D 7231)

Nov 23, 2005, 1:46 PM
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That's terrible news.

I jumped with Don a bunch back when he was the DZO at Palatka. Great guy.

He made the cover of Parachutist magazine (at least) once. It's a black and white photo of a jumper in HALO gear.

Perhaps someone can find an image of that and post it here.

Blue skies, Don!

shall


Premier LouDiamond  (D 25931)
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Nov 23, 2005, 2:11 PM
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Quote:
Don was in Colorado a few weeks ago teaching an AFF certification course.

It's funny you mention that as it made me recall something that I really liked about Don. About a year or so ago, while I was in Deland teaching a BMI course, Don said he wanted to sit in on my course to get up to speed again. Don asked questions during the course and later on came up and told me how much he had learned from me. Knowing Don's background and experience in the sport, I found it refreshing that a man as knowledgeable as he was, still took the time to continue learning and never considered himself to be done learning. Don may have seemed crotchity to some folks but if you have spent any time in the military, you could instantly relate to him. I spent many a night in the Perfect spot swapping old SF storys with Don, I'll really miss that.Unsure


tso-d_chris

Nov 23, 2005, 3:22 PM
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In reply to:
I found it refreshing that a man as knowledgeable as he was, still took the time to continue learning and never considered himself to be done learning.

I always found it refreshing that a man as talkative as Don could always offer new and useful information, no matter how often you saw him. I will miss his frequent visits to the store and all the conversations we had there and at the Spot.

Few have given as much to the sport as Don.

Frown


RhondaLea  (A 29204)

Nov 23, 2005, 3:33 PM
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In reply to:
Don may have seemed crotchity...

He didn't seem crotchety, he reveled in being crotchety. It was almost a trademark. He had a incredibly dry sense of humor, a fine mind and a quick wit.

Don Yarhling was a wonderful guy. But he was definitely crotchety.

There aren't enough people like him in the world, and now we're short one more.

rl


(This post was edited by RhondaLea on Nov 23, 2005, 7:03 PM)


apoil  (D License)

Nov 23, 2005, 3:34 PM
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In reply to:
Holy SHIT! You have got to be kidding me, Peter! Don was in fantastic shape. I am shocked!

Um... he was as big a chain smoker as I have ever known.
That's a huge factor whether or not it directly caused his death.

His contributions to the sport are vast. His heart was pure, and I will never forget him and all that he taught me. I'm deeply saddened by this news.


wrightskyguy  (D 19665)

Nov 23, 2005, 4:14 PM
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Don taught my SL inst and TM courses, he loved telling stories, and they all starred him. He was a great guy. I took this pic of him petting my old buddy Beau, turned out looking like a 3 way with baa-bara.
Attachments: 3 way.jpg (152 KB)


diverdriver  (D 19012)

Nov 23, 2005, 4:27 PM
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Oh man. That sucks. Flew Don on a few AFF cert courses. Liked working with him.

Blue Skies Don.


chuckakers  (D 10855)

Nov 23, 2005, 4:33 PM
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Not the way I wanted to start the long weekend.

Don was a great guy and a monster contributor to the skydiving community. Like countless others, I trained under Don, got rated under Don, and even evaluated AFF candidates under Don.

Blue skies, Don. We'll miss you. Hope the coffee's good & hot when you get there.

Chuck Akers
Houston


sid  (D 20135)

Nov 23, 2005, 4:46 PM
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In reply to:

Blue skies, Don. We'll miss you. Hope the coffee's good & hot when you get there.

Chuck, you know he took a mug of joe and a pack of Marlboros with him!


skybill  (D 6009)

Nov 23, 2005, 5:41 PM
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Hi Sid,
What a drag, Don is gone. That Star up there just added another slot.


Usetawuz  (D 2747)

Nov 23, 2005, 6:45 PM
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Thanks for everything. We'll miss you, Don. RIP


Funintheskies

Nov 23, 2005, 8:30 PM
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I am so sorry to hear about Don. He signed me off on AFF in 1991 at Palatka Paracenter, which he previously co-owned. He was also a good friend over the years. I have many memories of drinking beer with him at the bonfire in Palatka. Augh, the last time I saw him was 14 months ago at the "farewell" for Sam Bussey, another old-timer Palakta jumper. I have pictures of Don hugging me. The sport has lost a legend, and I have lost a friend.

Blue skies,

Cathy Crownover Elvy
D-19183


jumpingbean001  (D 27735)

Nov 23, 2005, 9:06 PM
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This is incredibly sad news. It is hateful to lose an icon, like Don. I know he contributed to a lot of jumper's careers. Whether you had issues with his ego-or not-you had to appreciate his experience and knowledge. He was always complete with a story (yes, he was usually the star), but if you could get over that, they were usually entertaining and had something to offer.

I had a LONG conversation with him one day in Deland (about a month ago) and he proceeded to tell me about his many health problems, along with his struggles in dealing with the loss of his parents and dealing with their assets, his future plans to work his way around Europe by bartering his talents/services, etc. This man was NOT done, from what he relayed to me.

There is certainly a void in the world now. He will be missed!

Blue Skies, Don!
Tammie Unsure


airtwardo  (D License)

Nov 23, 2005, 9:38 PM
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He was always complete with a story (yes, he was usually the star), but if you could get over that, they were usually entertaining and had something to offer.


Quote:

...I can hear Don saying it now~

"It ain't braggin'..if ya really done it!"Sly


daveverner  (D 968)

Nov 23, 2005, 9:59 PM
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Sorry to hear this, of course I am sadden by this news. It sorta hits home when guys younger than you are pass away. Dave Verner D-968


Premier Tonto  (D 515)
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Nov 23, 2005, 11:48 PM
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Frown

I can't beleive how hard this has hit me.

I knew Don for only nine days at Perris in 1992 when he rated me as an AFF instructor. I think we had a run in when we first met, cos I had long hair and he was a Military man - but his point of view softened when he found I had also spent time in the Military. One of the most valuable things he taught me were 2 of "Murphys laws of combat." These were designed to make AFFIC's aware of the potential pitfalls of choosing an AFF partner or drawing too much attention to one's self - but they're true for real life too.

1. There's no such thing as friendly fire.
2. Act unimportant. The enemy my be low on ammunition.

I've done nearly 2000 AFF dives since I got that rating, and every weekend I go through the door with an AFF student, they benifit from the skills he handed me.

Blue Skies Don.

t


mjosparky  (D 5476)

Nov 24, 2005, 12:16 AM
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We are slowing starting to lose our forefathers, the men and women who created skydiving through their courage and talent. In the next 5 to 10 years most of them will be gone. And with them will go an unbelievable amount of knowledge, experience and wisdom the likes of which will never again be seen in skydiving. They are an irreplaceable treasure.

The younger jumpers need to take the time to sit and talk with these history books and find out how skydiving came to be.

Condolences to Dons family and friends.

Sparky


AirtecKai  (D 13788)

Nov 24, 2005, 1:53 AM
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Frown

This is sad, and too early..

I had the pleasure to meet this small guy with his coffee mug in winter 1990 at Coolidge, as I made my AFF rating. It was a very hard week, but definately the best way to get the necessary responsibility across to the candidates. Evaluator Murphy was always present.....and prepared us for the real world out there.

We became friends over the years.

Goodbye Don.


(This post was edited by AirtecKai on Nov 24, 2005, 3:47 AM)


freakyrat  (D 12700)

Nov 24, 2005, 3:33 AM
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Blue Skies Don.

You accomplished a lot in your life and made a lot of lasting contributions to this sport.

Chris


sid  (D 20135)

Nov 24, 2005, 5:06 AM
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I made an "Uncle Don" page on my site and created a guestbook for those that would like to leave a short tribute.......
http://sidsrigging.com/uncledon.htm


Raefordite  (D 17243)

Nov 24, 2005, 7:57 AM
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Thoughts and prayers to Don, his family, and his skydiving family. We will all miss you.
Kate


dzolloyd  (D 14860)

Nov 24, 2005, 11:19 AM
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God bless you Uncle Don. Thanks for the rating.


Para5-0  (D 19054)

Nov 24, 2005, 12:24 PM
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Very Shocking News,
As most of us, Don was my AFF Instructor Evaluator in 1994 at Cross Keys. I was lucky enough to spend nine days at the DZ. Since Don was also staying in the area, I spent each evening listening and learning. The vast amount of experience he had was overwhelming to a young prospective Instructor. I will hold those memories close to me. My prayers are with Don's family and friends.


jumperconway  (D 24335)

Nov 24, 2005, 1:09 PM
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Blue skies Don obviously you touched many in our small community. May your friends and family take solice in in your peace.
Conway
Unimpressed


shall555  (D 7231)

Nov 24, 2005, 1:31 PM
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Here's Don in full HALO regalia:

Don in '75

shall
Frown


htrammel  (D 12064)

Nov 25, 2005, 7:14 AM
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Ahhh SHIT!
Don was a truly good man. A crotchety, grumpy bastard, but truly good.
I knew him since I first started jumping in Palatka in 1988, I still recall kicking him square in the chin (it drew blood) when I spun on my AFF level 3. Upon landing he assured me that I WOULD be buying him a beer that evening. We consumed several.
Tons of memories of tons of good times and tons of wisdom.
Blue skies Don.
Henry Trammel


NickDG  (D 8904)

Nov 25, 2005, 9:43 AM
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>>Here's Don in full HALO regalia:<<

This may be impossible for some to understand today, but when that cover ran in '75 it raised a big stink. One letter printed in the next issue said, "Please keep the military crap out of our magazine." The feeling was the military had their own ways to disseminate their propaganda and they shouldn't be using our due's money to do it.

In those days military jumping was playing catch up with the civilian side of things and nobody saw that photo, or the Golden Knights, as anything more than a recruiting tool (which is what they were, and still are).

When I saw the military 4-way diamond centerfold in an issue this year I wondered if anyone would say anything, but no one did . . .

NickD Smile
BASE 194


cavsurfs  (D 18320)

Nov 25, 2005, 9:48 PM
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What a shock!!! I can't believe it...

Don will be truly missed in the skydiving community. He was an outstanding AFF course director and one of the "good guys". I met Don in 96 at my AFF certification course. He had very high standards and at the same time was fair. In the evenings when the jumping stopped we'd have a few beers and Don would tell us all the things to watch out for with real life students. It was fun seeing Don throughout the years and telling stories over beer.

Bluest of Skies Don...


bigal  (D 3433)

Nov 26, 2005, 9:48 AM
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I was completely taken by surprise when I got the phone call early in the morning. We got our AFF I/E ratings in the same course in '82. He was younger than me. We first met in 1970 at Ft. Bragg, the memories are so numerous. He was and will always be a SF Warrior. He is now with all those who have passed on and who helped to keep us free! AIRBORNE!!

Al Gramando


steveorino  (D 26782)

Nov 26, 2005, 7:28 PM
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Unfortunately, I had the responsibilty of relaying the sad news to the "old timers" (2 are younger than me) at the DZ that Don had passed away. All three's response led me to believe he must have been something special as they were all deeply effected. When I found out he was also an ex SFer I too was saddened, even though I never had the privilege to meet the man.

Blue skies Don ... and de opresso liber!


(This post was edited by steveorino on Nov 26, 2005, 7:29 PM)


peckerhead

Nov 26, 2005, 11:09 PM
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Re: [mjosparky] Death of Don Yahrling [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
We are slowing starting to lose our forefathers, the men and women who created skydiving through their courage and talent. In the next 5 to 10 years most of them will be gone. And with them will go an unbelievable amount of knowledge, experience and wisdom the likes of which will never again be seen in skydiving. They are an irreplaceable treasure.

The younger jumpers need to take the time to sit and talk with these history books and find out how skydiving came to be.

Condolences to Dons family and friends.

Sparky

I could not have said it any better Michael.

Great Post!

In the next ten years most of the old school will be gone.


I had the pleasure to meet Don at the National Para-ski championships in Utah back in '87 He was there as USPA rep, maybe a judge. I was just a kid and I remember hanging out with Yahrling, Ottley, Bagley, Johnston, and all these other USPA big shots.

I was living in Park City just a few miles from Park west where the meet was being held and Don Had a hotel just a few blocks from my condo.

I was Don's designated driver which meant I drank just as much but I was REAL CAREFULL when I drove him back to PC in the dead of winter. AND, I made sure he came back the next day.

I will never forget he asked me why I was in the sport and what I EXPECTED back. I said I didn't really expect anything, I am just having fun.

He told me you will only get back what you put into it.

He wasn't the first person to tell me that. I can think of several other pioneers from his era that said the exact same thing.


Doogie320  (D 20712)

Nov 27, 2005, 4:22 AM
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Re: [sid] Death of Don Yahrling [In reply to] Can't Post

Well, another one of the good guys is gone...

Don, thank you for sitting on a barstool at Flagler and talking to me for hours one day. You will be missed.

BSBD, DOL

See you at the rally point.


riddler  (D 10234)

Nov 27, 2005, 1:09 PM
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Re: [sid] Death of Don Yahrling [In reply to] Can't Post

Wow. Blue ones, Don Unsure

I took his AFFI course a few weeks ago in Denver. Unfortunately, I didn't do the evaluation jumps yet. I caught a bad cold in Houston the week before, and I elected to wait until my congestion cleared up before jumping. I was in touch with him so we could schedule evaluation jumps in Florida after I returned from Fiji. I guess we won't be able to do those jumps together Frown

Don was a good guy. He had a definite sense of right and wrong. He was tough, but a fair evaluator. He listened well and gave good feedback. A lot of jumpers in the States didn't know a lot about him and AFFI because he spent time overseas and especailly Japan teaching AFF instructors there.

He was planning on buying a house in Colorado and spending some time out here. It's too bad we won't be seeing him around here.

Blue skies.


mrgoldenknight

Nov 27, 2005, 2:36 PM
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Re: [sid] Death of Don Yahrling [In reply to] Can't Post

In the 31 years I have known Don he has always been Don and I never met anyone quite like him. Whether he was teaching at the 82nd club or around the world he has always been a first class instructor and he will be missed around the world. RJ


stl135

Nov 27, 2005, 5:45 PM
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Re: [sid] Death of Don Yahrling [In reply to] Can't Post

Uncle Don,
Thank you for all the lessons and stories...have a safe journey...
Vic


Capt36  (D 13216)

Nov 28, 2005, 6:03 AM
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Re: [sid] Death of Don Yahrling [In reply to] Can't Post

Our sport has lost a Helluva walking database, as well as one of the 'good people'. He knew so much, and shared it willingly. And, as a friend, he was a consistent one..... can't often say that....

When we spoke in October, he was planning to sell the shop, and retire... Dude....this is serious retirement!!!

Heaven will be a bit different, from now on.....

U.S. Team Fund time...again.....

Thanks for the good times, and great friendship, Don!


riggermick  (D 17071)

Nov 28, 2005, 7:33 AM
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Re: [sid] Death of Don Yahrling [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks for all the input over the years Don. You will be missed!! Thanks for running the AFF cert course in 89 in Coolidge that gave me and woodie our ratings. I remember swooping on you on the last eval dive and your eyes big as dinner plates as I got closer, now that was a moment!!


BSBD Don.


riggermick  (D 17071)

Nov 28, 2005, 7:38 AM
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Re: [NickDG] Don Yahrling [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
Don was one of the best AFF certification course directors and his service in the cause of student safety needs to be noted. Hey USPA, this year's Achievement Award right over here, please . . .

People often said Don and I looked alike and both of us have been mistaken for the other. When we first met many years ago, we stood staring at each other, and we both said the same thing at the time, "I dont see it!"

Sweet dreams, Don . . .

NickD
BASE 194


Yeah but he was taller, least that's how I always told you two apart!

Mick.


Salsa_John  (B 9913421)

Nov 28, 2005, 11:53 AM
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Re: [sid] Death of Don Yahrling [In reply to] Can't Post

I am shocked to to hear the news. He had been complaining of some chest pain but was getting checked out. I spent much time listening to his views and always found it an interesting conversation. I will always be thankful for his adept tutilage.

Blue Skies Don


bogwarrior  (D 449)

Nov 28, 2005, 7:40 PM
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Re: [Salsa_John] Death of Don Yahrling [In reply to] Can't Post

I was sad to hear. It is clear that Don touched many skydivers lives as he did my own when certifying me as an AFF Instructor. Ill never forget that moment and he was an integral part of it.

David


jrsides  (D 13444)

Nov 29, 2005, 7:01 AM
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Re: [sid] Death of Don Yahrling [In reply to] Can't Post

So long Don. Thanks for your wisdom, your point of view and all of the smiles. I'm buying the next round when we meet again. Blue Skies Forever Brother!

J.R. and Kathie and the staff of Chambersurg Skydiving Center


gjhdiver  (D 7731)

Nov 29, 2005, 11:30 AM
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Re: [sid] Death of Don Yahrling [In reply to] Can't Post

There's not a lot else I can add to what's been said here. I had the honor of working with Don as a candidate for the AFF rating in 1992 at Perris, the DZ Manager of Skydive City Z-Hills as a hosting DZ for his course there, and in turn he mentored me and helped me to become an AFF evaluator, which helped me to pass on the skills he taught me to other instructors.

I will always remember that when evaluating on a course, when the candidates would be worried about their performance, I would be worried about mine, because at the end of the day, Don would review all the video, and go over how we flew and how we scored. God help us if we went easy on a candidate, or went too far the other way and used advanced skills to fool them. He was ruthlessly even handed and fair to both the candidates and the evaluators.

It's testament to his teaching that even though it's been years, I still think about how he would grade my performance as an instructor or evaluator on each and every AFF that I do.

What he gave to this sport is immeasurable, and will survive him by many years.

Thanks Don, for all the help.


dsbbreck  (D 23512)

Nov 29, 2005, 5:08 PM
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Re: [sid] Death of Don Yahrling [In reply to] Can't Post

I feel honored to have gotten my AFF rating from him just a month ago. I can't believe that incredible man is gone. Man that guy could tell a story.

It was hard to get a word in when having a discussion with him. So here's a moment of silence for you Don.

Blue Skies brother.


acerik  (D 10301)

Nov 29, 2005, 10:08 PM
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Re: [sid] Death of Don Yahrling [In reply to] Can't Post

Been checking the boards here off and on for a number of years, but now it's time to post.......

Right now I'm working on a movie in Canada, and my sister called me with the news......

I'm not going to claim to have been the best of friends or anything of the sort....in fact the last time I was in touch with Don was probably ten years ago. Not to misconstrue...we were always on the best of terms. In fact he was one of the biggest influences I had during my 10 years as a skydiver.

Funny story how we met...and I thought I'd relate that as a tribute. Those of you who truly knew Don Yahrling will surely recognize him in what follows......

It was the fall of 1982, and I was an enthsiastic (and broke) 16-year-old looking to make my second static-line jump. While Deland was physically closer to where I lived, they had by that time an AFF-only training program. The closest place that did static-line was the Palatka Para-Center at the beautiful Kay Larkin Airport. So off I go with crumpled logbook in hand...driven there by my mother, of all people. At the time, PPC pretty much consisted of the old bunker, and a couple of trailers...just up the road from the loft where Don made "Ozone" jumpsuits. (anyone remember those??).

Anyhow I walk into the "office" trailer, and Don happened to be the guy at the desk. He was making entries into a logbook or something. Looks up and there I am...a nerdy greasy-haired 16-year-old with a mouthful of braces.

Unimpressed, he says "How can I help you?"...then goes back to his entries.

I say "I called earlier, I'm looking to do my second static-line jump," And I place my pathetic excuse for a logbook onto the desk in front of him.

Taking no notice of the logbook, and without even looking up he says, "Okay what do you do for a Mae West?"

I spit out the drill I had been taught earlier....which, as I recall, was something to the effect of pulling the reserve ripcord with one hand while holding the reserve container closed with the other...then inching the pilot chute out by hand without allowing it to spring out...then with two hands, pulling the folded reserve out, and throwing it down and outward into the direction of the spin.

Don drops his pen and stares at me for a moment, jaw slightly agape. "Where the hell did you learn THAT??" he asks.....

"Skydive East in Pittstown New Jersey" I say....

Shaking his head in apparent disbelief he says sharply, "Well we don't DO it like that here....let me get one of our instructors and show you how you're SUPPOSED to do it."

.........and that was my introduction to Donald Kent Yahrling.

We laughed about that for years. In fact, I'd venture to say I'm probably one of the few people on this planet who's seen Don laugh so hysterically that he was crying. That was a bizarre scene around the bonfire one night in Palatka when Sam Conte was belting/screaming out the song "Locomotion" in falsetto while slinging a hula-hoop around his neck.....all I can say about that is that ya just had to be there. And Don was simply beside himself. From that point on, all anyone ever had to do to get a good chuckle out of Don would be to hum the "Locomotion" melody...

Tons more stories....though I'm not gonna bore you folks with those. But I will add that I got a "kick" out of Henry Trammel's recollection. I actually remember that....

And so, without sounding overly sappy, I'll close by saying to Don.....

Ev'rybody's do-in' a brand new dance now.......and it is truly an honor to have shared the sky with you.


Erik C. Emerson
D-10301


Paige

Dec 1, 2005, 12:04 PM
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Re: [Salsa_John] Death of Don Yahrling [In reply to] Can't Post

This is just so sad. We would always chat and catch up on his crazy travels. He was just telling me how he was excited to move to Colorado. Aparently, he already had the winter clothes to wear there or the North Pole.

My heart sinks that Uncle Don is gone. UnsureFrownFrown


jtval  (D 26340)

Dec 2, 2005, 6:11 PM
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Re: [Paige] Death of Don Yahrling [In reply to] Can't Post

damn! I'm saddened to hear this news.
I only met Don once. It was during my aff at skydive Daytona. My friend mark and I were VERY NEW to the sport and we were on a weather hold sitting on the deck just chilling wishing we could jump. We had seen Don at the airport throughout the day and we could tell he was someone important but didnt understand why...til he talked to us.

he was very interested in hearing OUR stories and asked a few question about how we felt about skydiving in general and he spent about 25 minutes just chatting with us about things ranging from skydiving to military (we were both newbies in the A.F.) and I bet if you ask mark he will say the same thing....

When Don walked away to talk to the next person I felt like I had just been filled with a wealth of information. later that day He gave us geare checks and he jumped with my friend who was on his 3 maybe fourth level of AFF.

I kow some may have seen him as crotchety, as I read above, but We need more people like him around. KNOWLEDGEABLE, interested, interestING and from what I remember reading about the WFFC a man who WILL get things done!

Blues Skies Don. thanks for taking the time to talk to usWink


kimemerson  (D 13439)

Dec 3, 2005, 9:07 AM
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Re: [sid] Death of Don Yahrling [In reply to] Can't Post

I may have missed it, but so far I haven't seen anything telling us what Don died of. Are there any details yet?


stl135

Dec 3, 2005, 4:21 PM
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Re: [kimemerson] Death of Don Yahrling [In reply to] Can't Post

This is what we know so far...From the USPA website.
"Donald K. Yahrling, D-4077, passed away November 23, 2005, of natural causes in his rigging loft on the DeLand airport in Florida. Known for his work as a parachute rigger, jump pilot and AFF course director, Yahrling served ten terms on USPAs Board and was president during his last term in 2001-2002. Few provided more attention to USPAs safety & training programs than Yahrling, and he traveled extensively teaching skydiving courses at more than 125 drop zones worldwide. No funeral service announcement has been made yet. "...


sid  (D 20135)

Dec 4, 2005, 4:03 PM
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Re: [kimemerson] Death of Don Yahrling [In reply to] Can't Post

keep checking this site...... http://www.uncledons.org


katiebear21  (D 28324)

Dec 5, 2005, 11:25 AM
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Re: [sid] Death of Don Yahrling [In reply to] Can't Post

Sad news indeed...

Uncle Don, you'll be missed.Unsure


parafredo  (D 639)

Dec 7, 2005, 5:49 PM
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Re: [katiebear21] Death of Don Yahrling [In reply to] Can't Post

Don gave me my Master rigger certificate tests and I knew him from a short period of time.I did jump with him also and I will always remember him as a very respectful human,skydiver and friend.

Very sad to hear about his death.Best vibes Don and I will drink a single malt scotch to you...You will be missed


sid  (D 20135)

Dec 8, 2005, 3:56 AM
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Re: [sid] Death of Don Yahrling [In reply to] Can't Post

Don's memorial will take place on January 7, 2006 at 4:00 PM, at Skydive DeLand. All are welcome.

taken from the Uncledon website


Premier skymama  (D 26699)
Moderator
Jan 5, 2006, 2:05 PM
Post #76 of 91 (2260 views)
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Re: [sid] Death of Don Yahrling [In reply to] Can't Post

*BUMP* to remind all of those interested that Don's Memorial is this weekend.


freefalle  (D 27777)

Jan 6, 2006, 3:45 PM
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Re: [skymama] Death of Don Yahrling [In reply to] Can't Post

Saturday at 1600 hrs. isn't it?


RhondaLea  (A 29204)

Jan 7, 2006, 6:38 AM
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Re: [freefalle] Death of Don Yahrling [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
Saturday at 1600 hrs. isn't it?

I'd appreciate it if someone could confirm that. I'm planning to walk on over when it's time.

rl


Premier skymama  (D 26699)
Moderator
Jan 7, 2006, 8:29 AM
Post #79 of 91 (2062 views)
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Re: [RhondaLea] Death of Don Yahrling [In reply to] Can't Post

Tim W. told me 4:00. He's usually involved in all of these types of things.

I'll be there shortly.


RhondaLea  (A 29204)

Jan 7, 2006, 8:32 AM
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Re: [skymama] Death of Don Yahrling [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
I'll be there shortly.

Thanks, Andrea. I'll look for you.

rl


sid  (D 20135)

Jan 7, 2006, 4:10 PM
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Re: [skymama] Death of Don Yahrling [In reply to] Can't Post

Bye Don


sid  (D 20135)

Jan 9, 2006, 6:24 PM
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Re: [skymama] Death of Don Yahrling [In reply to] Can't Post

I have posted some of the shots that Marat took at the Memorial here http://sidsrigging.com/...on_gallery/index.htm

I'll leave them up for a while........


flyangel2

Jan 9, 2006, 6:55 PM
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Re: [sid] Death of Don Yahrling [In reply to] Can't Post

Can you list the people on the ash dive? Or on the ground photo? It's kind of small for me to make out people.

Thanks.


Premier LouDiamond  (D 25931)
Moderator
Jan 9, 2006, 7:24 PM
Post #84 of 91 (1939 views)
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Re: [sid] Death of Don Yahrling [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks for posting those Sid.


sid  (D 20135)

Jan 10, 2006, 6:28 AM
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Re: [flyangel2] Death of Don Yahrling [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
Can you list the people on the ash dive? Or on the ground photo? It's kind of small for me to make out people.

Thanks.

I'll do my best, but I may have some name spellings wrong Crazy

Back row, (left to right as you look at the pic)
Steve Baker, Al Mastin, Ron Clayton, Ella Bollum, Mike Luttrell, Nancy LaRiviere, MadDog, Kelly Middleton, Rusty Trapp, Jim Mowrey, Harry Collins

Front Row,
Cliff Alfiche, Pablo Perazzoli, Tim Webb, Mike Johnston , Bob Holler, Cheryl Kenlin, Scott Miller, Marat, Don Krueger, Frank Carreras


kimgriffin  (D 15354)

Jan 11, 2006, 1:22 PM
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Re: [sid] Death of Don Yahrling [In reply to] Can't Post

I couldn't make it to the DZ last Sat. Thank you very much for the pictues. Man, it's still unreal that he's gone. Well, just gone from here for now.


Doogie320  (D 20712)

Jan 12, 2006, 12:01 AM
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Re: [sid] Death of Don Yahrling [In reply to] Can't Post

Nice to see my old unit was there for Don's service even if I couldn't be.

Thank you for posting those, Sid.

BSBD,


sid  (D 20135)

Jan 12, 2006, 5:54 AM
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Re: [Doogie320] Death of Don Yahrling [In reply to] Can't Post

it was good to see the depth of Don's influence at his memorial. The military did a great job, and at least one person in the circle commented on how many skydiving lives Don touched. If you did AFF (either as a student or an instructor) Don was almost certainly involved in your training, your instructor's training or the training of your instructor's instructor.

He'll be missed for sure, and a huge thanks to Marat for letting me use the pics.


skr  (D 981)

Jan 22, 2006, 5:14 PM
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Re: [sid] Don Yahrling Memorial this weekend in Deland [In reply to] Can't Post

 
Aahhhhhh .. The old ones are fading fast.

I was out of the country and away from dropzone.com
when I heard about this, so I guess there's nothing to
do for it now but tell a jump story ..

I met Don in 1976, he found me sleeping in his bed.

I happened to be in Fort Bragg for a few weeks as
a civilian consultant.

You could tell I was a civilian because I had long
red hair and a great big red beard and my clothes
were kind of rainbow colored instead of olive drab.

To the army guys I probably looked like something
out of a Hollywood viking movie.

It was unclear where I was supposed to be staying
but after while one of the Golden Knights, Al Navarro,
said hey one of the guys where I live is out in the field
for a couple weeks and you can stay in his room.

So OK, as a jumper I had slept in a lot of unlikely
places already and anyway, I was more focused
on what I was doing there than the logistics and
accomodations.


And of course he came home a few days early.

I'm a little hazy about exactly what happened, it was
the middle of the night and we, the people I was
working with, may have had a few beers earlier
to help us debrief and plan for the next day.

But he didn't kill me, and we'd laugh about it when
we'd cross paths over the years.


He may have had a few sharp corners in his personality,
I have a short fuse myself with some of the stuff I see
people doing, but he was a good guy.

He cared about people and he cared about jumping.

Skr


steve1  (D 23640)

Jan 23, 2006, 7:14 AM
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Re: [skr] Don Yahrling Memorial this weekend in Deland [In reply to] Can't Post

Skratch,
Good to hear from you again....Steve1


allenfperos  (C 17830)

Jun 9, 2007, 9:02 PM
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Re: Don Yahrling Memorial this weekend in Deland [In reply to] Can't Post

I remember Don well. He was and always will be one of the most wonderful men in skydiving I've known. I had problems with stability in Palatka when on static line in 1983. He recommended AFF. Did it, no problem thereafter. He reached me psychologically, explained technically, calmed me down.

We did 8 ways out of two Cessna 182's many times. Got my SCR and SCS because of Don. I remember he could track like a bandit if I ever did see one!



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