Raphael Howard Yerby

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    - Chaundra Ward
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FAYETTE | Raphael Howard Yerby, 88, went home to heaven on March 29, 2014 after complications from heart surgery. He was the finest, most selfless and godliest man that many people ever knew and he will be greatly missed by all his family and friends who loved him.
Raphael was born in Fayette, Alabama and attended high school in Fayette until he was drafted into the Army during World War II at the age of 17. During the war, he served in the 841st Ordnance Depot which sailed for England in 1944 and eventually supplied the front lines of the
Army on the European battlefields. His unit landed at Utah Beach in Normandy, France in August, 1944. He spent the remainder of the war in Europe, traveling through France, Luxembourg and Germany and returned to the U.S. shortly after Germany surrendered. After returning to the U.S., Raphael completed all but half a credit of his high school requirements when he was hired by Southern Railroad and began his working career. Although, he fulfilled his final high school requirements after he began his career, he finally received his official high school diploma 60 years later from Fayette County High School in 2002 as a result of the bill passed by the state of Alabama Veterans Affairs to award diplomas to veterans serving in the military prior to completing their high school education.
After working for the railroad (where he began his lifelong love of railroad pocket watches) and later Atchison Tile Company In Birmingham, Raphael joined the Alabama State Highway Department in Fayette where he was eventually Assistant District Engineer. He retired from the Highway Department in 1979 after 32 years but continued his working career at various places in Fayette including Nelson Funeral Home for 25 years and most recently Debbie's Drugs. Raphael loved all kinds of clocks, particularly antique clocks and was very proud of all the various kinds of clocks that he owned.
Raphael was a deacon at Belk Free Will Baptist Church for 60 years and taught the adult Sunday School class for 53 years. He was active in every aspect of the church and was a faithful supporter of both foreign and home missions. He served as clerk of the Vernon Association of Free Will Baptist Churches for more than 30 years. Raphael was a charter member of the James Black- Nichols Brothers VFW post 5406 in Fayette. He helped organize the post. He was also an active member of the Fayette Civitan Club.
Raphael is preceded in death by his first wife, Wilma Lindsey Yerby (27 years) along with his brothers, Doyle and Pascal Yerby as well as his sisters, Willard Maddox, Gaila Smith and Joyce Black.
Survivors include his wife Sue Hester Yerby of Fayette. his wife of 33 years; sons Rodney Neal Yerby (Mary) of Madison, Alabama and Frederick Lee Yerby (Debbie) of Fayette, Alabama; daughter Regina Yerby Rose of Chattanooga, Tennessee: stepson Danny Jackson (Robin) of Richmond, Virginia; brothers Kilby Yerby of Birmingham, Alabama and James (Sue) Yerby of Pearland, Texas: sister Sarah Alice Cooper of Searcy, Arkansas; grandchildren: James (Maddie)
Yerby of Madison, Alabama, Thomas, Elizabeth and Stephen Yerby of Madison, Alabama; Lindsey, Andrew, Olivia and Marlee Yerby of Fayette, Alabama: Matt (Shields) Jackson of Richmond, Virginia; Catina (Bubba) Pee and Courtney Butler of Vernon, Alabama; great grandchildren Cullin Carter of Vernon, Alabama and Blakeney, Emma Grace and Jackson Butler of Vernon, Alabama: numerous brothers and sisters-in-law and beloved nieces and nephews scattered throughout the United States.
Services will be held at Belk Free Will Baptist Church on Tuesday. April 1 at 11:00a.m. with Rev. Lamar Cox Rev. Trymon Messer and Rev. Fred Warner officiating. Burial will follow in Fayette Memorial Gardens. The body will lie in state at the Church from 10 to 11 a.m. The family will receive friends at Nelson Funeral Home in Fayette on Monday, March 31, 2014 from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. with James Yerby, Thomas Yerby, Matt Jackson, Cullin Carter, Andy Yerby and Stephen Yerby serving as pallbearers.
Donations can be made to the Belk Freewill Baptist Church.
Nelson Funeral Home directing.
Funeral Home
Nelson Funeral Home
3659 Hwy 171 North P.O. Box 883
Fayette, AL 35555
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Published in Tuscaloosa News from Mar. 31 to Apr. 1, 2014
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