Pastor, Lee W. Yarbrough
June 9, 1940-January 6, 2019
Celebrating the Life of Local Pastor, Lee W. Yarbrough
Lee Wayne Yarbrough was born in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma on June 9th, 1940 to Wayne and Inez Yarbrough, and he passed away on January 6th, 2019 at the age of 78. He grew up in Borger, Texas and Midwest City, Oklahoma. He had fond memories of growing up with his younger siblings, Lynn and Joella as well as several cousins, aunts and uncles. His family was always involved in church. In his later years, he would often reflect on how his mother prayed for him and encouraged him. In high school, Lee played football for the Midwest City Bombers. He told many a story over the years, often including lessons learned from Coach Darnell. In 1963 he moved to California where he began working as a welder. During those first few years away from home and family, he was lonely, and decided to join a church. During this time period, God called him to the ministry. Not long after, he enrolled in California Baptist University in Riverside where he met his wife, Kathryn. The two married on August 24th, 1968 and just recently celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary.
In 1970 Lee graduated from California Baptist College with a degree in history and a minor in religion. The couple also welcomed their first child, Joel. They moved to Texas during the summer of 1971. Lee continued his education earning his Master's in Divinity. In 1973, Jill was born. From 1975-1979, Lee began his first pastorate in a small logging town, McCloud, California. During that time, Jane and Joy were born, completing their family. The family left McCloud in 1979, and moved onto the following ministries: Principal and Education Director at North Hills Christian School in Vallejo, CA and Pastor of Tierra Buena Baptist Church in Yuba City, CA.
In 1983 the Yarbrough's moved to Hanford, California where Lee served as the Pastor of First Southern Baptist Church for 26 years before retiring in 2009. Throughout his time there he blessed many lives. Some highlights include taking hundreds of kids to summer camp over the years, Vacation Bible School, and Angel Food Ministries. He also had a love and a knack for connecting with people. He visited people in their homes, in the hospital, and of course he could also be found at the donut shop or at a good high school basketball game.
During his retirement Lee and Kathryn enjoyed themselves. Taking trips near and far, watching over their grandchildren, and continuing to serve the community. Though retired, Lee continued God's work by serving as a Chaplain at Adventist Health Hospital, serving at People's Funeral Chapel, and teaching at Sierra Baptist Church in Visalia. During his free time, he enjoyed gardening, farming worms, and watching the San Antonio Spurs.
In 2014 Lee was diagnosed with a neurological disease, Multiple System Atrophy. Despite his disease he continued to serve where he could. When people came to visit, he often said, “You know, I've been praying for you!” This was such an example and inspiration for his family, because as his health was declining, he consistently prayed for others. His wife Kathryn cared for him, never leaving his side. Lee was a fighter till the end. Always wanting to walk, proud to share his daily progress with statements such as “I took 40 steps today!” Lee was always positive, always witty, and he always had faith in God.
Let us not weep for our loss but rejoice for his happiness. Let us celebrate his life knowing he is with the Lord, walking, dancing, and laughing. He is doing all that his earthly body restricted him from doing. Let us rejoice that he is at peace.
He is preceded in death by his mother and father, Inez and Wayne Yarbrough, and his brother, Lynn Yarbrough. He is survived by his wife Kathryn Yarbrough, his sister Joella Hannaman, his mother in-law Elda Wilson, brother and sister in-laws Keith and Cindy Wilson. His four children, Joel Yarbrough, Jill Rubalcava and husband, Jay, Jane Dirkes and husband, Andrew, and Joy Najera and husband, Mario, his 18 grandchildren, Christian Yarbrough, Erin Yarbrough, Hannah Yarbrough, Samuel Yarbrough, Joshua Yarbrough, Jordan Yarbrough, Melissa Rubalcava, Orie Rubalcava, Ryan Rubalcava, Joseph Yarbrough, Jenna Rubalcava, Kathryn Dirkes, Daniel Dirkes, Abby Najera, Hailey Najera, Brooklyn Najera, Jacob Najera, and Madelyn Najera, one great-grandchild, McKinnley Yarbrough, and numerous nieces and nephews.
Lee Yarbrough was a goofy, fun-loving, witty man who loved life. He will forever be remembered as a husband, a brother, a father, a grandfather, a friend, a pastor.
June 9th, 1940 - January 6th, 2019
About a year ago, one of his grandkids listened in as he was giving advice to another, and she jotted down his words. “Sometimes I think back on my life, the opportunities I had, and I think I could've done better. But then I think about what I've done, and the people of the church that I've fallen in love with. I'm not famous, and I'm not wealthy, but I'm happy.”
Pastor Lee's Family would like to thank People's Funeral Chapel, First Southern Baptist Church and countless family and friends who have offered kind words, prayers and support.
Family and Friends are invited to view Pastor Lee's legacy at www.peoplesfuneralchapel.com and send condolences to the family.
A Visitation will be held on Friday, January 11, 2019 from 5:00 – 7:00 p.m. at People's Funeral Chapel; 501 N. Douty St, Hanford and his Celebration of Life Funeral Service will be held on Saturday, January 12, 2019 at 11:00 a.m. at First Southern Baptist Church; 1207 N. 11th Ave, Hanford, CA 93230.
Services by People's Funeral Chapel 559-584-5591.