Donald Yellman

Obituary of Donald Joseph Yellman

Donald Yellman passed away peacefully in his home on July 10, 2020 surrounded by his loving family. He was born December 24, 1938 in Princeton, Iowa to Theodore P. and Viola Herrig Yellman, the second of four sons. After graduating from St. Mary’s High School in Clinton, Iowa he served four years in the U.S. Navy as a flight communicator. He and the former Betty Lou Britt were married in Welton, Iowa in 1961. Following completion of a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics from the University of Iowa he was sworn into the Foreign Service of the United States. 

During a 30-year career Don, accompanied by his family, served abroad in El Salvador, Mexico, Portugal, Ecuador, Brazil, Saipan, Bolivia, and Venezuela. On his assignment to Saipan in the Northern Marianas Islands he represented the State Department in negotiations to determine the status of Trust Territories of the Pacific Islands. In Bolivia he was awarded the Condor of the Andes for his work on the anti-narcotics program. After returning to the United States from his final overseas assignment he was posted to the Inter-American Defense College at Fort McNair whose mission is to promote Inter-American understanding. There he acted as advisor to military and civilian students from countries in the Western Hemisphere. His final assignment was to the Navy section at the Pentagon.

Don was an avid lifelong gardener. Soon after moving into the Great Falls home in 1976, he began to plant an orchard of various species of fruit trees, with a special interest in antique apple varieties. He took up beekeeping to aid in pollination. He was an active member of online orchardist communities, exchanging ideas, expertise and plant material with fellow enthusiasts. The sheer bulk of apple production led him to invent an apple grinder for use in pressing cider, many gallons of which were shared with friends and family. He was his own mechanic, electrician, and appliance repairman. Using other self-taught skills he built a sunroom onto his home, ideal for starting seedlings for the vegetable garden, processing produce, and nurturing ducklings until they could graduate to the pond he built. The flock of pet ducks was a source of entertainment for family and neighborhood alike. 

Don enjoyed active outdoor pursuits. His children have treasured memories of snorkeling, swimming, windsurfing and exploring at exotic beaches, late night tennis matches, fishing trips, and countless other experiences in various countries.

Don is survived by his beloved wife of 58 years, daughter Ann Marie (Tim) Bond, sons Christopher and Peter, and 9 grandchildren: Ben and Olivia Bond, Nicholas, Zephyr, Madeline and Tasha Yellman, Isabella, Ketzal, and Ruby Yellman. He was preceded in death by daughter Stephanie. He will be buried at Arnon Cemetery in Great Falls.

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