Obituary of Harlan Yokum
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Harlan Charles Yokum, age 86 passed away peacefully at his home in Morgantown on August 31, 2023. He was born on May 17, 1937, in Petersburg, WV the son of the late Lester and Edna (McUlty) Yokum. He graduated from Petersburg High School with the Class of 1955 and held degrees from Potomac State College, West Virginia University and the University of Connecticut.
He worked for the Farmer’s Home Administration as head of the Business and Industry Loan Program for the state of West Virginia. In 1980, in a ceremony in Washington , D.C., he was awarded a Superior Service Award, one of only six given in the country that year.
He was also skilled at woodworking, making cabinets and shelves, a wonderful tree house, a curio cabinet and a grandfather clock among many other items.
Unfortunately, his hobbies and working career came to an abrupt end on February 9, 1983 at age 45 when he suffered a sudden cerebral hemorrhage at a statewide meeting in Parkersburg where he was serving as master of ceremonies. Following surgery and many days in a coma, he was left with many disabilities. He could no longer read or drive a car and had a seizure disorder and of course could not do his job. What it did not take away was his optimism, his gregarious personality and his sense of humor and with those he forged a new life for himself for the next 40 years.
He hitchhiked into town to occasionally have lunch with his work friends and concluded if you wore a suit and tie that almost everyone would give you a ride. He visited all of the neighbors often taking them a fresh apple pie and he fixed breakfast every morning with his elderly neighbors while his wife worked. Luckily, he never seemed to wear out his welcome. He never ever missed church as long as he was able and loved his Sunday School classes at Wesley United Methodist Church.
He was a 49-year member of the Lion’s Club and earned The Lion of The Year and the Distinguished Service Awards.
After his work colleagues retired, they remained close friends and would periodically meet for lunch at Golden Corral where they spent many joyous times together.
Unfortunately, his treatments to alleviate some problems created others and he spent the last 5 years of his life in a wheelchair.
He is survived by his wife of 53 years, Linda (Rippey) Yokum; his son, Steve Yokum and wife Sarah of Morgantown; his daughter Lisa Sykes and husband, Benjamin of Martinsburg; grandchildren, Nathan Yokum, Lauren Sykes and Robert Sykes; a sister, Bonnie Smith and a brother Eulis Yokum and wife Beverly of Petersburg, WV. A nephew, Jeffrey Yokum and nieces, Tina Barr (Perry) and Terri Kimble (Rick); great nephew, Derek Alt (Danise); great niece Danielle Thompson (Andrew) and their two children Easton and Kyleigh.
Besides his parents, he was preceded in death by a brother in-law, Dayton Smith and a great nephew, Devon Alt.
Surviving brothers and sisters-in-law are Robert Rippey, Joan Rippey, Charles Wykle and Jane Rippey; 12 nieces and nephews, and their spouses, children and grandchildren.
Brothers and sisters-in-law preceding him in death were Ralph Rippey, Gene and Iris Rippey, Eleanor Wykle, Marianna Rippey and Wayne Rippey.
We would like to thank the doctors that followed Harlan for so many years, his very helpful cousin and the lifelong friends of Harlan’s that called weekly to check on him.
Any donations may be made to a local feeding program, anything to help the handicapped such as Special Olympics or PACE or to a charity of choice.
Visitation will be held at McCulla Funeral Home, 770 Fairmont Rd., Westover, on Monday, September 4, 2023 from 10 am until the 11 am funeral service with Pastor Martha Ognibene officiating. Interment will follow at East Oak Grove Cemetery. Online condolences may be extended to the family at www.mcculla.com.