YENKELUN, AL , 88
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Al Yenkelun, 88, born in Waterbury, Connecticut in 1925, passed from this life on August 2013, in Gainesville, Florida.
He was a resident of the Miami area since 1945 before moving to Gainesville. He was preceded in death by his parents, Albert and Violet Yenkelun of Bridgeport, Connecticut and his wife of 46 years, Bernice (nee Welika). He leaves behind his caregiver and friend, Mary Ann Phillips, who remained at his side in his last years and his nephew, Mark Phillips.
Al sailed the seas, flew the skies, and explored the Earth with a fervent passion for knowledge and adventure. As a young man he joined the Sea Scouts which was his first step in the pursuit of a life filled with experiences around the world. Immediately upon graduation from high school Al enlisted in the Navy in 1942 and served on board the USS Pasadena (CL-65). He saw action while serving as an Electrician's Mate in operations as part of a carrier task force supporting the Philippine Campaign to include the Battle of Leyte Gulf and operations throughout the South China Sea.
Upon his discharge after VJ Day, he moved to Florida and attended the University of Miami, earning Bachelor Degrees in Electrical and Mechanical Engineering. After graduation he briefly worked in the submarine programs at the Naval Shipyard in Charleston, South Carolina. While in Charleston he was initiated as a 32nd Degree Mason. In 1955 he was offered the opportunity to join Florida Power and Light where he began his career as a lineman and worked his way up to senior engineering. As he continued his career, his work moved him to Miami, West Palm Beach, and finally to Palmetto Bay where he lived until moving to Gainesville. He retired from Florida Power and Light after a 35 year career.
Throughout this time he pursued his passions for flying, sailing, travel, and exploring. His love of the skies found him flying his Cessna going to fly-ins throughout the South and supporting the Civil Air Patrol. Often on weekends he could be found on his sailboat slicing through the waters of Biscayne Bay and along the Florida coast. Sailing down the Amazon River was one of the highlights of his life. Al also loved animals. He raised seven Whippets and was an avid supporter of animal causes especially the wolves in the Western US.
His travels were extensive and he sought the chance to travel with fervor, taking the time to learn the local languages and making the most of local delicacies. Whether the trip took him to Iceland, his beloved Munich, or his second home Disney World, each stop was an opportunity to make new friends and share memories. Now he is on his final journey.
Arrangements are under the care of MILAM FUNERAL AND CREMATION SERVICES.
Milam Funeral Home and Cremation Services, Inc. of Gainesville
311 South Main Street
Gainesville, FL 32601-1803
Published in Gainesville Sun from Aug. 18 to Aug. 19, 2013