Jesse "Ben" Yates 79, died on Thursday September 30, 2021, at UPMC Hamot.
Ben was born August 27, 1942, a son to the late Jesse B. and Dorothy (Disney) Yates.
Ben started working at the early age of fourteen to provide for his family. He quit school and began working in the local grocery store in Harvey, Illinois. He continued working, learning many new trades including utility lineman in the Chicago area. Ben was a gifted singer and used his talents when he joined his neighbor, Tom Rockrohr to establish an evangelical singing group touring churches. He continued singing for many years even as other work opportunities presented themselves. Following an injury, he changed employment to construction as a finish carpenter. He then moved his family to Pittsburgh, continuing his construction work. Next the family moved to Springboro where he started his own company Ben J. Yates Construction and there he became director of music at the Church of the Nazarene. He served as a bus driver for a short period of time. Pursuing his entrepreneur spirit, he established “Lake Side Drive In” a popular stop for ice cream and burgers in Lawrence Park. He later opened “Two Guys Pizza” in Erie with his son Ben.
Ben was a family man and a hard-working provider. He was a tradesman through and through never cutting corners. Ben was a motorcycle enthusiast for many years. One of the great moments in his life was the four years he lived in Belgium with his wife Rhonda. They did a lot of traveling, all over Europe, including skiing in Austria, bicycling in champagne country in France, camping on the fields in Normandy overlooking the D-Day landings, dancing the flamenco in Barcelona, hot air ballooning in Belgium. So many trips to various cities and countries. While in country he was a member of STUDS spouses traveling under duress successfully. STUDS was a social group, consisting of American men who lived in the Brussels, Belgium area, whose spouses worked there. The "under duress" part, was something they laughed about because they had so much fun. He took several golf trips with STUDS - to Morocco, to Scotland, etc. It was an unforgettable adventure.
In addition to his parents Ben was preceded in death by his first wife Virginia "Ginger" (Knight) Yates; son, Stephen Yates; brother, Anthony "Nino" Turano.
He will be greatly missed by his family which include his sons, Bruce Yates (Trisha) and Ben Yates (Mary); brother, Joe Turano; grandchildren, Devon Yates, Jesse Yates (Jenna), Ginger Redus, Lisa Bell (Jordan), Benjamin Yates, Luigi Yates, Stephen Yates; great-grandchildren, Layna Redus and Matthew Giddins; his wife Rhonda (Worden) Yates; and his closest friend and companion Ann Miller.
In lieu of flowers memorials can be made to the Erie Regional Cancer Center 2500 W 12th St, Erie, PA 16505
Friends may call on Saturday---TODAY-- from 10 am to the time of service at 12 noon. with Father Mike DeMartinis officiating. Burial will follow at Spring Cemetery, Springboro, PA.
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