Former Atascadero resident Earl Everett Yates passed away at home on July 24, 2022. He was born in Hutchinson, Minnesota, on August 3, 1929, 4th child of Eugene William Carter and Gladys Meryl Corey. Earl was given the last name of his stepfather Barton Vermont Yates after Gladys divorced Eugene and later remarried Barton in 1933.
The Yates family moved to Atascadero, California, around 1935 or 1936, and Earl attended school at the old schoolhouse near Lewis Ave; and went to Atascadero High School but dropped out after 10th grade to work to help support his family. He worked with his stepfather painting houses around the Atascadero, Santa Margarita, Templeton, and Paso Robles areas.
In 1947 Earl began working as a welder and mechanic for George Foraker at Atascadero Welding and Fabricating Engineers and also began racing an old “jalopy” coupe on weekends at the old dirt track at the Paso Robles Fairgrounds, as well as other Central California dirt tracks in Santa Maria, Bakersfield, and others in the area.
Earl went to work for Bill Peck at the “La Moda” theater as a projectionist. After a fire that burned the theater, Mr. Peck changed the building to become a bowling alley, and Earl was employed as equipment maintenance man and counterman.
Earl met Donna Lorraine Tetherow, and they were married in July 1952. They purchased a small house that was located at what was then the end of Balboa Road, where their first child, Pamela Rae, was born in May of 1953. Next came son Earl Daniel in Jan 1956, and son Richard Thomas was born in Nov 1958.
When Atascadero Speedway was built, Earl raced his number 70A Plymouth sedan as a hobby racer up until around 1961 while being sponsored by Atascadero Bowl.
Earl worked for Paula Equipment in Paso Robles as a mechanic and maintenance man on tractors and farm equipment for several years before finally landing a Civil Service position at Camp Roberts working on Jeeps and trucks for the U.S. Army.
When the U.S. Army ceased operations at Camp Roberts in 1970, Earl was offered a maintenance position at Marine Corps Air Station in Yuma, Arizona. The family relocated to Yuma, Arizona and Earl worked at MCAS Yuma for over six years before he got the opportunity to get out of the desert heat and relocate to the much cooler state of Washington, where he was employed as a facility maintenance man at Sand Point Naval Station on Lake Washington, near Seattle.
After Earl retired from Federal Civil Service in 1986, he and his wife Donna spent about four years as winter visitors to Mesa, Arizona, where his eldest son was living. They decided to sell their Washington home and move to the mountains of Northern Arizona, and in 1992, they settled down in the small community of Clear Creek Pines near Happy Jack, AZ, in a cabin on an acre of pine, juniper, and oaks.
While Earl was working at Sand Point, he was given the nickname Mr. Fix-it because he could tackle any repair work and always get the job done right. In retirement, he, with the help of his sons, built a 1600 sq ft workshop, and many of his neighbors came to him for advice and/or help to fix whatever needed fixing. Several of his neighbors got together and had a sign made for his shop that said “Yates Hardware” because he always seemed to have the nuts, bolts, screws, nails, plumbing, or electrical parts that they needed without the 70-mile round trip to the nearest hardware store in Winslow, Arizona.
Earl was preceded in death by his eldest brother William (Bill) V. Yates, his daughter Pamela, his parents Eugene Carter and Gladys Yates, his stepfather Barton Yates, his youngest son Richard Yates, Donna Yates, his wife of 65 years, his older brother Allon F. Carter, and his sister Adrienne Hoke. He is survived by his eldest son Earl D. Yates.
After Donna passed away, Earl left the cabin in Clear Creek Pines and moved in with his son in Mesa, Arizona, where he lived until stage 4 lung cancer took him away.
There will be no services. Earl’s last wishes were to donate his body for medical research, and he was delivered to Research For Life in Phoenix, Arizona. Earl’s remains will be cremated and returned to his son Earl Daniel Yates to spread his ashes as requested.