Cover photo for Leroy Washington Yates's Obituary
Leroy Washington Yates Profile Photo

Leroy Washington Yates

May 24, 1928 — December 27, 2019

Leroy Washington Yates

Leroy Washington Yates, 91, a lifelong resident of Rockingham, passed away peacefully at his home on Friday,December 27, 2019.
Leroy was the beloved husband of the late Ola Mae Crawford Yates, with whom he shared 66 years of marriage. He was the son
of the late John Harrison Yates and Katie Knowles Yates. He belonged to a large family of nine children.

Mr. Yates started in his young working life as a master mechanic at Beaunit Mill in East Rockingham. After several years, he
established the Industrial Electric Company of Rockingham and served as a heating/air conditioning contractor for over 25 years. He obtained his NC real estate broker’s license and became an owner and franchisee of Century 21, along with his wife. In his later years, he operated Leroy Yates Realty as an independent realtor. In 2000, he served as President of the Richmond County Board of Realtors.

Through his professional, personal, church and Masonic life, he was known by many throughout the county and the state of North Carolina. He worked diligently with particular emphasis on helping those less fortunate than himself, regardless of the circumstance.

He was a proud member of the Rockingham Masonic Lodge 495 for over 70 years and served as Master of the Lodge in 1957 and 1980. In the mid-1980s, he co-founded the local Mothers Against Drunk Drivers (MADD) Chapter. He was also a long-term member of the Rockingham Rotary Club and a Paul Harris Fellow.

Leroy was “planted in good soil”. He was a lifelong member of First Baptist Church, Rockingham, and followed in the footsteps of his mission-minded mother. Mr. Yates held almost every lay position in his service to the church. Leroy was always known as a hard worker, but he worked just as hard on Sundays as he did throughout the week, filling his day with church-related activities and visitation, often to public housing developments where he shared the love of God to children and adults alike.

In the 1970s, he instituted and was instrumental in the development of NC’s first “Disaster Relief Vehicle” for the Baptist State Convention. This vehicle traveled throughout the state for over two decades and was used in numerous hurricanes, floods and other natural events to assist needy citizens of our state.

In 1983, he worked to establish a Christian ministry at the Cameron Morrison medium-security prison, where he volunteered his time each Sunday morning to change the lives of young people for the better. During this time of ministry to Cameron Morrison, he received two awards by two different governors for recognition as a significant volunteer of his time within the state of NC.

In 2016, a scholarship was established with the Richmond Community College Foundation by Leroy’s family to honor his volunteerism and community service. This scholarship is intended to support local students who exhibit a desire for community service and volunteerism in this area.

At the conclusion of the scholarship’s formal public announcement in September 2016, Senator Tom McInnis presented Mr. Yates with the “Order of the Long Leaf Pine” award conveyed by Governor Pat McCrory. This is a most prestigious honor awarded by the state of North Carolina through the sitting governor. This award exemplifies integrity, learning, and commitment to the “Old North State.”

His greatest earthly joy was his family. “Pop,” as he was affectionately called, will be remembered for his love of laughter, quick wit, and unselfishness in always helping others. He was continuously grateful and never complained, even in his last months.

Left to treasure his memory are his son, Dennis (Denny) Yates and wife Kay of Concord, daughter Carol Yates Day and husband Vann of Carrboro NC, grandsons Joshua Yates and wife Katie, Cameron Yates of Salt Lake City, Utah, and Sam Warnock of Raleigh. Survivors also include his brother, Robert (Bob) Yates and wife Ann of Marshsville, along with a vast number of nieces, nephews and other family members.

Greatly loved, always remembered, safely home.

A graveside service with full Masonic Rites is scheduled for 1:00 pm Monday, December 30, 2019 at Richmond Memorial Park, Rockingham.

A memorial service will follow at 2:00 pm Monday, December 30, 2019 at First Baptist Church, 201 North Randolph Street, Rockingham.

The family will receive friends after the service.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be sent to the Katie Yates Mission Fund, First Baptist Church, 201 North Randolph Street, Rockingham, NC, 28379, or the Masonic Home for Children, 600 College Street, Oxford, NC, 27565.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Leroy Washington Yates, please visit our flower store.

Past Services

Graveside Service

Monday, December 30, 2019

Starts at 1:00 pm (Eastern time)

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Memorial Service

Monday, December 30, 2019

Starts at 2:00 pm (Eastern time)

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