David William Yeats was born in Whitefish on August 17, 1949, son of Albert and Helen (Garland) Yeats. He died on December 22, 2021, after a year-long battle with a brain tumor from glioblastoma.
As a child, Dave roamed the neighborhood, climbing trees, playing baseball and venturing out to Cow Creek with his pellet gun. When he grew up a bit, he cycled further from home with his brothers and friends, exploring Haskill and Walker Creeks. At that age, fishing was everything to him. He became comfortable in the outdoors, a skill he carried with him throughout his life.
When he was 10 years old his father passed away and his grandfather Garland became an important figure in his life. He spent hours at Garland Farm northwest of Whitefish, “hunting” mountain lions and trying to shoot porcupines at night in the spotlight.
His mother married Chuck Andersen in 1962, and Dave became a laborer in Chuck’s construction efforts. He also worked after school and on weekends at the JCPenney store in Whitefish, stopping by the bakery on the way home to buy 5-cent maple bars before heading home for dinner.
As he grew older, his adventures abroad took him farther from home, and the tales of these adventures became more and more incredible. Without a mentor, he learned to hunt on his own, then became a mentor to others, including his brothers, friends, and, later in life, his wife and son. He learned to love bow hunting and became a Bowhunter Education instructor, ultimately teaching for over 40 years. Dave was patient in teaching others and loved to see them succeed, sometimes sacrificing his own harvest success. He became one of the few bow hunters in Montana to harvest a moose, sheep, and goat, all with traditional archery equipment.
Dave graduated from Whitefish High School in 1967 and attended Flathead Valley Community College in the first class. He delivered furniture for Bitney’s and held a work-study position with the United States Forest Service (USFS).
He went to work at the Tally Lake District, USFS, as a recreation warden and later as a fire dispatcher. Dave worked for American Timber in Olney for a short time, including a stint at a small sawmill in North Fork. Whatever Dave’s job was, he found a way to challenge himself. He wasn’t generally happy doing a job the same way others might have learned, but he was always looking for a better way.
In the fall of 1973, he began working in the Spotted Bear District, USFS, operating a chainsaw and cutting logging slash. Here he met Lucille Rogers, a girl from Columbia Falls, on the brushing team. In 1974 Dave began working as a seasonal carpenter in Glacier National Park.
Dave and Luci were married on October 11, 1975. They made their home in Columbia Falls and Dave became a Wildcat fan, but Luci never learned to support the Bulldogs, which Dave struggled to understand.
His son Scott was born in 1979 and his daughter Kelli in 1981. Dave became a permanent full-time employee at Glacier, a career that ultimately lasted 33 years. Some of his favorite times there were working in the backcountry, restoring cabins. He became the sign maker and transformed this operation into a modern sign with capabilities far beyond what was previously possible.
Dave was an amazing blueberry picker. He did not settle for just any berry, but sought out the larger ones. He started weighing them on a powder scale and kept a record of his biggest berries for the year.
Dave joined the Columbia Falls United Methodist Church and gave of his time, talents and treasures. He might be called upon to serve as a Sunday School teacher, a maintenance administrator, to prepare Easter breakfast or to sing in the choir. He was also a member of the Columbia Falls Community Choir, always taking great pleasure in singing, whether in a group or in the shower.
In 2014 Dave and Luci moved into their new home on the Rogers family farm. Dave enjoyed the challenges of keeping the pasture fences in good repair and the fun of watching the wildlife. He continued his legacy by helping his friends, neighbors and sisters-in-law.
Dave was predeceased by his parents, stepfather and sister, Diane.
He is survived by his wife, Luci; children, Scott (Ashley), of Fairbanks, Alaska; Kelli (Dennis) Wong of Seattle; and grandchildren, Manny, Ethan, Luke and Naomi. His brothers, Don (Sandy) Yeats, and George (Jody) Yeats and Glenn Andersen, his sisters Judi Yeats and Marcy Carr, and many nieces and nephews are also survivors.
Private family services will take place in January and a public celebration of life is scheduled for spring 2022.
The Columbia Mortuary in Columbia Falls is looking after the family.