Richard J. "Dick" Yelvington, Formerly of Daytona Beach, died in Lake Charles (LA) on February 24th of this 2013.
He graduated from Mainland High School in 1946 and as a tackle on the football team was named to the Florida all-state team. It is believed that his nickname of "Bull", which followed him throughout his life, was acquired while a player at Mainland. Like many men his age, He was taken by the military draft at the end of World War II and spent the next two (2) years in the U.S. Army. While stationed in South Korea, He was elected Captain of the 24th Army Corps Football Team. Following his discharge, He attended the University of Georgia on scholarship where he was a four (4) year letterman and a 1950 Co-Captain. He received a Bachelor of Science Degree in education and was then drafted by the New York Giants of the NFL. As an offensive tackle, He started every game for six (6) years and his 1956 team defeated the Chicago Bears 47 to 7 to win the National Football League Championship. As a player with the Giants, he was fortunate to have supporting cast of Future Hall of Famers that included Sam Huff, Roosevelt Brown, Frank Gifford, Andy Robustelli, and their offense coach, the legendary Vince Lombardi. He loved Daytona Beach and working as a lifeguard for the city between seasons with the Giants. He was a personal favorite of long-time lifeguard captain Don Kirkwood who always called him "Bull". He would show up in the spring and in July, he would reluctantly pack his bag for the return trip to New York and the start of another football season. He was a modest man who never wore his championship ring and unless pressed with questions, He seldom talked about his football days and even less regarding his job with the Bureau of Narcotics, a branch of Treasury Department, which became his new career after football. Narcotics agents act on leads and other information which takes them to the seamy side of the cities where dealers carry on their illegal activities. to avoid detection, they usually dress in a non-descript manner and do not have the protection of a concealed weapon. One of the official letters of commendation received by Yelvington and supplied by his wife, Peggy, clealy points out the inherent dangers involved in this type of surveillance. In a letter dated June 3, 1964, Yelvington's district supervisor made a Special Act and Service Award for his splendid performance in the line of duty. It read as follows - "your quick action at the time of an arrest prevented possible disclosure of our entire undercover activities in Mexico." Unfortunately, his promising career was cut short when he suffered a brain hemorrhage that nerely took his life and was probably football related. His doctors would have been amazed and pleased if they knew he has lived to the age of 85. He moved to Lake Charles in 1993 and married Peggy S. Quirk who had been a classmate in Vero Beach almost 50 years earlier. He never forgot the good times in Daytona and for the past several years had been in close phone contact with Dick Heberle, a friend and former lifeguard, in order to keep informed on the local news. In a letter to Heberle, Peggy Yelvington said, " I do believe that Richard may have enjoyed his time on the beach as much as any in his life. He spoke of it and his compadres with great nostalgia." His body has been cremated and services will be held at a later date in a family cemetery in Florida.
Published in Daytona Beach News-Journal on Sept. 5, 2013