A STAFFORD war veteran and former Newsletter manager has died four days before his 90th birthday.
Ernie Yates died peacefully on Saturday (3) in hospital after a short illness. He would have been 90 on Wednesday (7).
After leaving school at 14 he became an apprentice printer with the Staffordshire Advertiser and Chronicle, leaving to join the Navy when he was 17.
He rejoined the paper after the war and later joined the Newsletter in 1956, serving his time and going on to become circulation and promotions manager.
Last year Mr Yates was awarded the Arctic medal for his service on the Arctic convoys in World War Two and was later invited to a special ceremony in the mayor’s parlour and one in the county buildings where the Lord Lieutenant of Staffordshire presented him with a certificate marking his contribution to the war effort.
He leaves a wife, Irene, 86, a son and daughter and five grandchildren. The couple had been married for 65 years.
“He was a loyal and faithful worker for the Newsletter and he was a man who was well respected in the community,” said Mrs Yates.
“He was very keen on his home and his family. He loved his garden.”
Avid travellers, the couple visited many parts of the world including New Zealand, Australia, America and St Lucia.
His son Tim Yates, 53, said: “He was a brilliant father and grandfather. For the last 30 odd years we spoke on the phone every Thursday and Sunday night to catch up on the week. He would ring me at 9pm as regular as clockwork.
“He was a hardworking family man, really proud of Stafford. He was very approachable. Everybody knew him. He would meet people on holiday that knew him, even abroad.”
Newsletter sports editor Dave Maclean, 64, said: “We worked together many years on Newsletter competitions. He was a wonderful guy, he would do anything for anybody. I am shocked to hear the news – he will be sorely missed.”
Former Staffordshire Life editor Philip Thurlow-Craig said: “He was a lovely chap, a jovial chap and nothing seemed to get him down. Even if the paper was late he would still cheerfully go round to see all the newsagents and explain why it was late and everybody appreciated that he took the time.”
Funeral arrangements have yet to be announced.
Dave Bate, another former colleague, said: "He will always be remembered as a happy, cheerful and hard working man who got on with all the staff and local newsagents. He will be greatly missed by everyone."