The community of Artesia mourns the loss of Estelle H. Yates, who departed September 16, 2013. Mrs. Yates was an avid supporter of Artesia and leaves behind a legacy of service to the community and the State of New Mexico. Services begin at 10:30 a.m. Friday, Sept. 27, at First United Methodist Church. Honorary pallbearers will be her grandchildren.
Estelle was born on April 10, 1918, to Clarence S. and Catherine Hefler in Boston, Mass. She attended Girls Latin School in Boston, where she received an education in Latin, English, history, mathematics and chemistry. She went on to Chamberlain School to study interior decorating and design. She met her husband, S. P. Yates, on a blind date to the Boston Art Museum in 1939. They married in Boston on March 3, 1940.
Despite the significant differences between Boston and Artesia, Mrs. Yates quickly became active in her new community. She was recruited to the Artesia Library Board, where she went to work on plans to design and construct a new building for the library that was housed in the basement of City Hall on the corner of Fifth and Main streets. Finally, with Mrs. Yates as president of the library board, the library opened in its new building at 306 W. Richardson Ave., in July 1951. More than 60 years later, she instigated and supported the development of the new Artesia Public Library that will open in November 2013. She volunteered as a local Girl Scout troop leader for many years and served nine years on the National Girl Scouts Board of Directors. She was a charter member of PEO chapter AQ and remained a member of the organization for 65 years. She was a founding member of Artesia Arts Council and made significant contributions to the growth of the organization and the development of the Ocotillo Performing Arts Center. She introduced the National Dance Institute to Artesia Public Schools, providing the opportunity for every fourth-grader in Artesia to participate in a citywide performance for the last 10 years. She was an avid supporter of education by initiating several education programs with the cooperation of Artesia Public Schools. She was a member of First United Methodist Church. Among these and so many other contributions and volunteer commitments, Mrs. Yates was involved in the family business, serving as Vice President of Yates Drilling Company and as Manager of Employee Relations at Santo Petroleum. She was recognized as a Living Treasure by Artesia Historical Museum in 2002 and by the State of New Mexico in March 2013. Overall, she always promoted the value of the arts and education in bringing a community together.
She is preceded in death by her husband, S. P. Yates, on August 1, 2008; five brothers and sisters; and numerous other friends and relations.
She is survived by her children, Peyton, wife Linda, of Artesia, Mary Davis, husband Ted, of England, and Richard of Santa Fe; daughters-in-law Judy Yates of Colorado Springs, CO, and Brenda Yates of Santa Fe; sister Virginia Seitz of Albuquerque; grandchildren, Jennifer Peterson, husband Dale, of Longmont, CO, Mary Beth Yates of Farmington, NM, Hanson Yates, wife Christine, of Houston, TX, Claire Lhoyd-Owen, husband Rupert, of England, Peyton Davis, wife Helen, of England, Courtney Yates of Sewickley, PA, Kelsy Yates, husband Kiri Humphrey, of Brooklyn, NY, and Porter Yates of Boulder, CO; nine great-grandchildren; and a large community of extended family and friends.
Memorial contributions may be made to Friends of Artesia Public Library, Ocotillo Performing Arts Center, Grammy’s House, Girl Scouts of the Desert Southwest, or Assurance Home.
Arrangements have been entrusted to Terpening & Son Mortuary. Family and friends may express their condolences by visiting artesiafunerals.com.