Three days after his 89th birthday, Leslie Preston Yates died peacefully, surrounded by his loving family, following a short battle with pneumonia.
Born in Bozeman, Mont., one of five children of Tom and Altha Yates, he graduated from Central Valley High School in Spokane Valley and began college studies at Whitworth, before serving in the Army Signal Corps toward the end of World War II, serving in France and Belgium.
Following honorable discharge from the Army, Les resumed his college studies at Gonzaga University and eventually transferred to Washington State University, where he earned a bachelorâ€™s degree in Forestry.
Les met and married the love of his life, Phyllis Allen, in December 1948. Together they lived in Pullman while he completed his studies in Forestry, and then moved together to Alabama where he began his 32-year career with the U.S. Forest Service. His career took him to four different states, culminating in Bend, Ore.
Les is survived by his wife of 64 years, Phyllis; two sons, Ken (Jennifer) and Dan (Nita); a daughter, Kathy (Derrick); and grandsons Eric (Christina) and Adam.
After retiring in 1979, Les and Phyllis purchased five acres on Wild Rose Prairie, where they built the home which they enjoyed for many years before moving into north Spokane to be closer to their church and many of their friends.
A memorial service will be held on Thursday, Feb. 21 at 2 p.m. at the Country Homes Christian Church, 8415 N. Wall St., Spokane.