NEWTOWN BOROUGH >> A young red oak tree, along with a boulder containing a bronze plaque, now grace the northwest corner of North Lncoln Avenue and Jefferson Jefferson Street - a reminder of a man who gave his heart and soul to Newtown.

The simple memorial was installed quietly and without fanfare March 21 in memory of Sidney T. Yates, Esq., as a gesture from one dear friend to another.

“He was my very best friend and it was important for me to do something for him,” said Kintnersville resident Chuck Yeager, who had the memorial installed at the southeast corner of Pickering Field. “I want people to remember him when they walk or drive by and not to forget him. And I think it’s the kind of thing Sid would have appreciated.”

The words on the plaque say it all – “Once in a Lifetime” – a phrase Yeager chose “because this is the kind of guy who comes by once in a lifetime.”

And Yeager added, the red oak tree was selected because Sid had red hair. “I’m sure that when it’s in leaf it will be rather spectacular,” he said.

Yeager, who befriended Yates at a fraternity party when both were students at the University of Pennsylvania, remained close friends throughout their lives. Yeager also stepped in as Yates’ caregiver as his friend struggled with Parkinson’s Disease. Yates died in 2013 at the age of 84.

“He was a great, great gentleman – a great mind, very witty and fun to be around,” said Yeager. “He was just head and shoulders above everyone else. He did so much for the community. So many people remember him. As time goes on, I would like the rest of the community to know that Sid was part of Newtown. He was often considered ‘Mr. Newtown.’”

Yates grew up in Newtown and graduated from Council Rock High School in 1947. He earned a scholarship to attend the University of Pennsylvania where he completed his undergraduate work. He then received a subsequent scholarship to attend the University of Pennsylvania Law School, earning his law degree in 1954.

After law school, he served in the U.S. Army from 1954-56 with the Counter-Intelligence Corps (Germany). In 1956, he joined his cousin’s law firm - William R. Stuckert in Newtown Borough - and shortly thereafter became managing partner of Stuckert and Yates. He worked there for the next 55 years until his retirement at the age of 75.

Through his work at the law firm, the Upper Makefield attorney served as a solicitor for Newtown Borough, the Upper Makefield School District, Newtown Township, Middletown Township, Centennial School District, Newtown Sewer Authority, Lower Southampton Sewer Authority, the Middle Bucks Area Vocational Technical School Authority and numerous other clients. He also did estate planning work.

Yeager said his friend was frequently known to hand out boxes of Godiva chocolates to the secretarial staff at the law firm. “That’s the kind of guy he was,” said Yeager. “He never asked for anything. He just gave, gave, gave.”

Yates also gave back to the community as one of the founding members of the board of directors and trustees of St. Mary Medical Center, as vice chairman and a member of the board of directors of the First National Bank and Trust Company of Newtown for more than 30 years and as counsel to and director of the Newtown Savings Association.

His service extended to the Newtown Rotary Club where he was a member, a Paul Harris Fellow and was the recipient of the club’s Man of the Year Award. He served as the secretary of the Upper Makefield Planning Commission, chaired the Newtown Tri-Centennial Committee and was the recipient of the Golden Deeds Award from the Newtown Exchange Club.

In addition, he was a director of Twining Services Corporation, which managed Twining Village for many years, and he served as chairman of the board of Pickering Manor Home and the Newtown Welfare Council and was instrumental in the founding and expansion of Pickering Manor. He also served on the board of directors of the A. Marlyn Moyer Scholarship Fund and the Keith-Jefferson Scholarship Fund. And for more than 30 years, the Bucks County Boy Scouts were aided by Yates who served as chairman of its Newtown Fund Raising Breakfast.

Yates also loved to travel, said Yeager, visiting destinations around the globe from Russia to Australia and Tahiti to South America. “And then when he came home, his favorite thing was working in his garden. He had the most beautiful garden. He had the most gorgeous peonies that I had ever seen,” said Yeager. “He was such a simple man.

“And he was so giving,” continued Yeager. “He made a lot of money as an attorney, of course, but he always gave back. I want the community to know there are people out there like that … He just gave, gave, gave and never asked for anything,” Yeager said. “For me, Sid was the best friend anyone could ever have. He was so kind and giving. And he did so much for so many people. I am so glad to have known him. He was a good guy.”

comments powered by Disqus