John Alvin Yeates Jr. was born January 8, 1919 to John Alvin Yeates and Roxilettie Taylor Yeates in Saint Louis, Missouri. Shortly after his birth his parents took him to their homestead 19 miles west of Cody, Wyoming where he was raised on the family ranch. John was the only child of his parents. He rode his pony "Zulu" to the one room school at Wapiti until he began high school in Cody. He had a fascination with the technologies of his time. A neighboring homesteader had a radio and a small hydroelectric generator which John found fascinating and it influenced his career choice. After high school he was off to Montana where he graduated from Montana State College with a degree in Electrical Engineering in 1941. His first job was with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at Fort Peck, Montana.
John's education provided opportunities to be involved in numerous engineering projects around the country. He served in the US Army during World War II, and was deployed to Guam, where he designed lighting systems for military airfields on South Pacific islands. After the war in 1946 he resumed his engineering career at the Engineering Research and Development Laboratory at Fort Belvoir, Virginia. While there he met Annette Joraan Dahle of Saskatchewan, Canada who was working at the British Embassy. They were married in Washington D.C. on November 11, 1950.
John and Annette moved to Idaho Falls in 1951 where John worked as an electrical engineer at the National Reactor Testing Station (now Idaho National Laboratory) west of Idaho Falls until retirement in 1981. His proudest achievement was succeeding in designing and managing the power line connection of a small nuclear powered electrical generator to temporarily provide power directly to the town of Arco, Idaho in 1954. As part of President Eisenhower's "Atoms for Peace" program, this demonstration became an historic milestone that helped launch the nuclear power industry.
John and Annette raised 4 sons; John (LeAnn) of Idaho Falls, Brad (Noriko) of Augusta Georgia, Wesley (Maribeth) of Meridian Idaho and Gaylen of Bozeman, Montana. He had 5 grandchildren and 3 great grandchildren. His beloved wife, Annette, passed away in 1981.
John's love of music was given to him by his mother who was a classically schooled pianist and a local music teacher in Cody. He sang tenor in church choirs and played his violin with church musicians and with the Old Time Fiddlers for years. He also enjoyed woodworking and the outdoors where fishing, hunting, camping and hiking were his favorite activities.
John lived his life as a sincere believer in the Lord Jesus Christ. He faithfully served at the First Lutheran Church in Idaho Falls in numerous capacities over the years. He was passionate about the development and support of the Luther Heights Bible Camp in the Sawtooth Mountains of Idaho, devoting 20 years to board membership, construction and financial management. He was a member of the Gideon Bible Society where he actively worked to provide bibles to people locally and around the world. He will always be remembered for his kindness and generosity.
John passed away peacefully at the age of 101 on November 1, 2020 in Idaho Falls, Idaho surrounded by his loving sons.
The family will receive friends for a viewing at Buck-Miller-Hann Funeral Home 825 E. 17 St. Idaho Falls, Idaho on Thursday November 12, 2020 from 5:00 to 7:00 pm. Graveside services will be conducted by Pastor Fred Grundmann at Fielding Memorial Cemetery Friday November 13, 2020 at 1:30 pm.
Thursday, November 12th, 2020 5:00pm - 7:00pm
Buck Miller Hann
825 E. 17 Street Idaho Falls, Idaho
Friday, November 13th, 2020 1:30pm
Fielding Memorial Park
4900 Yellowstone Hwy idaho Falls, Idaho 83402
Fielding Memorial Park
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