Harold Hilgard Yackey Jr. was born in Hollywood, California, on March 23, 1929 to Harold H. Yackey and Eleanor Swan Yackey, and had one younger sister, (Mary) Alice. The family moved from Burbank to Monterey Park, and then to San Louis Obispo, California, where they stayed until arriving at their final residence in Vista, California, in Harold's freshman year of high school.
During his growing up years, school and family were wonderfully important, with many Yackey aunts, uncles and cousins nearby. Harold attended to academics, rode horses, and worked around the family property, enjoying the beauty of southern California in the 1930's and 40's. He loved to read, had an eye for beauty, particularly enjoying sunsets and nature, and was a responsible and focused child. When his father was called overseas with the US Navy in WWII, Harold took out a provisional license at a young age to drive an ambulance for his mother, who was a registered nurse. His nicknames were "Junior' and "Genius."
In 1946, after graduating high school, Harold went on to the University of California at Berkeley to complete a BA in Industrial Psychology in 1950. Deciding upon a change of career interest from medicine, he continued on at Cal, and received his BS in Mechanical Engineering in 1955. Harold obtained his Professional Engineer Licensure in 1961, as a mechanical engineer.
In 1957, Harold married his soulmate, the great love of his life, Suzanne Mitchell, in Riverside CA. Having met in a mathematics class for engineers in 1955 at Berkeley, they began a wonderful life together that would last through 60 years of marriage. With friends Bert and John Wilkins, life was a joy from the start. After honeymooning in Las Vegas, NV, Harold and Sue moved to San Francisco, CA, established their first home, and gave birth to their son, Douglas. After moving to Sacramento, they had their second child, Carol, then their third and final child, Julie. In 1963, they moved to their lifelong home in Citrus Heights, and have remained there to present. Over many years the Yackeys enjoyed camping, boating, family dinners, car trips to southern California to visit family there, and Harold continued his life-long love of hunting.
Entering the US Army ROTC while at UC Berkeley, Harold was commissioned as a 2nd lieutenant in 1950. He entered active duty in 1951 and was stationed at Fort Bliss, Texas, attached to the Artillery, until 1952. He entered the US Army Reserve in 1953 and was promoted to Captain in 1954. Harold joined the Army National Guard, US, in 1959, and continued on with them until 1978, attached first to the 143rd Artillery Division, becoming Battery Commander, and then moving on to the 49th Brigade Infantry Division. Harold then moved on to work at Army National Guard Headquarters with the Office of the Adjutant General (OTAG). From there he moved to the 579th Engineer Battalion. His final duty was with the 115th Support Group in Roseville, CA, a medical group. Promoted to Major in 1965, Harold retired as an officer in 1978. He was an active member of the Military Officers Association of America (MOAA).
Upon concluding his degree work at Berkeley, Harold began his career as an engineer working with the Carrier Corporation in engineering design, engineering management, branch management, and sales capacities, making his way to the Sacramento area from Los Angeles and San Francisco. There he moved on to work with Airtronic Distributors, focusing on consulting engineering design of larger scale commercial buildings. In the late 1960's through the 70's, Harold worked with Gibson-Yackey-Trindade and Associates, Consulting Engineers, in Sacramento, CA, as partner and vice president, performing design duties of mechanical systems for all types of commercial, industrial, and institutional buildings, as well as engaging in all levels of relational development and project review with clients. From 1980 until 1991, Harold performed the same work with Peters and Associates in Sacramento, CA. Semi-retired from 1991-1994, he was engaged by Sacramento Engineering Consultants from 1994 on, happily finishing his career working on projects that he enjoyed, with people who appreciated him greatly.
Harold was an active member and past chapter president of the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), and an active member and past chapter president of the American Society of Plumbing Engineers (ASPE), working to found its Northern California chapter in 1982.
Continuing the Yackey family history of Masonic membership and service, Harold became a Master Mason in 1965, a member of the Scottish Rite, and continued on to become a 32 degree Mason. He became a member of the Shrine, and served in the Shrine Patrol, performing as part of the honor guard in parades and for events. In 2002, Harold received the Hiram award, the highest award given for community service by the Masonic organization. He served as Master of the San Juan Lodge 732, Free and Accepted Masons, in Citrus Heights, in 2004, the year that it merged with Harding Lodge, and was the first Master of Harding - San Juan Lodge. Harold received his 50 year pin in 2015, surrounded by family and lodge brothers.
In the late 1960's, Harold served as Scoutmaster to Boy Scouts of America Troop 342, Golden Empire Council. He and Douglas were invited into the membership of the Order of the Arrow, which they participated in for some years. After completing his time as Scoutmaster, Harold continued on as a counselor for Silver, Gold, and Eagle Scout candidates.
In 1964, Harold, along with the family, began attending Fair Oaks Presbyterian Church, which would remain their church home until present. He served as a deacon, as an Elder and member of the building commission, attended the Friday Men's Bible Study, and with wife, Suzanne, were members of the Dolphineers Marinership, and the money counting team. With the building commission, Harold helped oversee development of the new sanctuary, and designed its heating and air conditioning system. As a regular member of the Men's Bible Study, he kept track of who brought breakfast in turn, and helped drive shut in members to the Friday morning group meetings. Throughout many, many years, their dear friends the Dolphineers have been source of joy, support, and friendship that is unparalleled.
In the mid-1980's Harold and Sue volunteered with Habitat for Humanity, helping to continue on the work of Fair Oaks Presbyterian Church's team. Together they helped build housing in Del Paso Heights and North Sacramento.
With their love of music and penchant for fun, in the mid-1980's, Harold and Sue began years of western swing dancing, happily belonging to the Pony Express dance club where Harold enjoyed a time as president, and helping to found the Downright Country Dance Club and develop its organizational structure. In 1986, they began a long and wonderful career volunteering with the Sacramento Dixieland Jazz Jubilee, working at many sites as hosts, until finally retiring in 2013. Harold was often interviewed in Sacramento Bee articles, and could be seen strutting with parasol in hand on the Channel 3 Noon News. The couple were long time sponsors of the California Musical Theater Broadway Series and Music Circus, and of the Folsom Lake Symphony, and loved their concert going years immensely.
Harold and Suzanne enjoyed years of travel beginning in the mid 1980's with trips to Europe, the Mediterranean, Alaska, and Hawaii, and continuing on to venture with truck and trailer throughout the western United States for an additional 20 years. They loved their visits with family and dear friends, sightseeing, and attending and working at Jazz festivals in Sun Valley, ID., Kalispell, MT., Mammoth Lakes and Three Rivers, CA.
After living a wonderful, intentional, and loving life, Harold Hilgard Yackey Jr. passed peacefully, surrounded by his family, on February 16, 2018 in Roseville, California. The cause of death was congestive heart failure with complications from pneumonia.
He is survived by his beloved wife of 60 years, Suzanne Mitchell Yackey, three children: Douglas M. Yackey (Kimberley), Carol A. (Yackey) Hoge (Bill), Julie E. (Yackey) Dempster (David), six grandchildren: Jeff Hoge (Kinderlee), Kate Borgia (Matt), Chris Dempster, Daniel Dempster, Abigayle Yackey, Katelyn Wilson, and many dear extended family members and friends.
All are welcome to attend a Memorial/Celebration of Life service at Fair Oaks Presbyterian Church at 11 AM on Thursday, March 22, 2018 in Fair Oaks, CA. A Masonic service will be held at 2 PM on Saturday, March 31, 2018 at Harding San Juan Lodge in Citrus Heights, CA. Interment will be private. In lieu of flowers, please consider a contribution to the Shriner's Hospital for Children, in Mr. Yackey's honor. Services are entrusted to Heritage Oaks Memorial Chapel. Harold H. Yackey Jr.'s more expansive life story can be found at www.tributes.com/Harold-H-Yackey