Don Amos Yochem died in the early evening hours on Nov. 14, 2012 at Fairbanks Memorial Hospital. He was 95 years old and had lived a full life, even riding motorcycles into his 90s.
Don was born to Amos M. Yochem and Frances Elizabeth (Holder) Yochem on Oct 8, 1917, near McClelland, Iowa.
He grew up on the Yochem farm and worked in McClelland at the family garage and trucking company through his teenage years. There he learned the mechanic and welding skills he used to make a living and to help others for the rest of his life.
He made a trip or two to California sometime during his 20s, but returned to Iowa from one such trip to marry Lois Burkett. Don and Lois lived in Iowa or California until about 1950, when, for some reason, they decided to travel to Fairbanks.
Don loved to fish and that may have been one of the reasons for trying Alaska. They worked summers and left in the winters for a few years but finally made Fairbanks their permanent home.
Don's skills made it so he could go to work quickly wherever there was an automotive garage. He worked at Aurora Motors and Transfer in his early years in Fairbanks. Lois worked at Alaska Market and the N.C. Co. grocery stores as well as others. Don finished his working career as a bench mechanic at B&C Auto Electric. When Don retired about 30 years ago,
B&C closed the mechanic shop end of its business.
Don loved to ride motorcycles, snowmachines and ATVs of all sorts. His cabin at Summit Lake, near Paxson, was an excellent place for much of this activity and for fishing the lakes and streams nearby. Don made three round trips on his BMW cycle from Palm Springs, Calif., to his old home town of McClelland, Iowa, when he was in his 80s.
Don will be sorely missed by all of his friends at Summit Lake and Fairbanks.
Good riding, Don, wherever you are.
Don was preceded in death by his wife, Lois, some 30 years ago.
He leaves one brother, Gene and wife, Karen, of Lacey Wash., as well as numerous nieces and their families in the Council Bluffs, Iowa, area.
Per Don's wishes there will be no services.