Vancouver lost a devoted son Feb. 25 with the passing of Don Yankovich, 67.
He grew up in the Heights neighborhood and served as a newspaper carrier for The Columbian from 1967 to 1970, an experience that shaped his strong work ethic. He was a 1972 graduate of Hudson’s Bay High School, where he was a standout member of the band program.
I met Don in 1968 when we played on a Babe Ruth League baseball team. We had the same zeal for sports, listening to pop music and having fun that made a lifelong friendship. Don loved playing baseball, football and basketball. From junior high through high school, we played in countless sandlot games.
College years and career pursuits took us in different directions. Don stayed in Vancouver attending Clark College and began work with Fred Meyer stores and later as regional manager for Jani-King, Ecolab and Bunzl Food Services.
The Vancouver of the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s was a close-knit community. When you developed a new friend, you became friends with the whole family. It was that way with Don and the Yankovich family — his sister Carol, brothers Steve and Rudy Jr., and parents Rudy and Geri.
Don’s spirit endures on Vancouver courts and playgrounds. Don holds a place in my heart as the brother-like friend I will always be grateful for the privilege to have been placed on the same baseball team. Thank you, Don!