Community mourns iconic business owner

February 28, 2013

By Christina Corrales-Toy

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Dennis Yarnell

Dennis Yarnell

Family, friends, employees and loyal customers gathered to remember the life of Newcastle Shell owner Dennis Yarnell in a Feb. 10 ceremony at Maple Valley’s Lake Wilderness Lodge.

At the two-hour ceremony, Yarnell was remembered as a loving father and husband, devoted friend and passionate business owner.

Yarnell, 33, passed away after his car crashed into a utility pole Feb. 2, authorities said.

The Lake Wilderness Lodge was packed to capacity, filled with mourners gathered to celebrate Yarnell’s life. The space was standing room only and not a seat was left empty.

Described as a “man of all seasons” during the service, the lodge was decorated with photos and mementos representing his favorite things, including sports, the Newcastle Shell station and, most of all, his family.

Yarnell was an avid fisherman, a skilled bowler and a devoted fan of the Seattle Mariners, Seattle Seahawks and auto racing.

In the days after his death, the Newcastle Shell set up a table inside its shop to receive flowers and cards. The table, next to the station’s cash register, was quickly filled with flowers and piles of letters from a mourning community.

In comments left on the Newcastle News website, community members praised Yarnell’s efficiency and exemplary customer service.

People knew that when they took their vehicle to the Newcastle Shell station, Yarnell would not only take care of the car, but do it in a fair, honest manner.

The beloved station owner made it a point to learn his customer’s names and make each transaction a pleasant one.

Yarnell and his wife Beth purchased the station from its previous owner in March 2007. The station was described during the ceremony as a source of pride for Yarnell.

His giving, selfless nature was on full display in June 2012, when he hosted the Newcastle Shell Charity Golf Event to benefit the Fisher House Foundation Veterans of America charity organization.

At the time, Yarnell said that after the Newcastle community had given so much to him, it felt right to give something back.

The Newcastle Shell is collecting donations in Dennis’ honor at its station, 6420 Lake Washington Blvd. S.E. The station will accept cash or checks payable to Newcastle Shell.

Yarnell is survived by his wife Beth and their son Trevor.

Remembering Dennis Yarnell

News of Newcastle Shell station owner Dennis Yarnell’s death prompted an overwhelming response from the community. Mourners left more than 30 comments on the Newcastle News website expressing their grief at his passing. Below is a sampling of the comments, showing just how much he meant to the Newcastle community.

“Dennis, you and your staff always took the extra mile to take care of my hot rods. I always looked forward to taking my cars to your station for service, not just because I knew you would do such a good job, but because you were passionate about your work and customers. I will truly miss you.”

— Jerry Mullin

“Dennis, thank you for giving the kids in our little community a most excellent first job experience. You gave them confidence, trust, respect, and a kind word was never in short supply. My son aspired to be the best he could be for you and Beth, and you will be sorely missed by us all. Know that you made an amazing impact on a young man that will last a lifetime.”

— The Shively family

“Dennis was one of the good guys! We have taken our cars to the Shell station for the past 30 years, but the last six have been the best. His integrity and the way he always made you feel like you were his most important customer (Geno and I were) is what kept the community coming back.”

— Shannon McQuery

“Dennis was amazing and talented at what he did. We trusted him 100 percent to take care of all of our mechanic needs. He was always smiling and was such a wonderful part of our Newcastle community. Our hearts go out to his family.”

— Shannon and Ryan Anderson

“Dennis was a warm and wonderful guy. His presence in Newcastle really showed what it means to be a true member of a community. No one can replace him and our hearts and prayers go to the family and his workers. I really wish more people would have his spirit and heart. He will be missed always.”

— Bonnie Johnson

“Oh, how I will miss Dennis! He was a first class gentleman, treating every customer like a friend. I was always so impressed by the pride he took in his shop; keeping it neat and super clean at all times. Rest in peace, sweet guy.”

— Molly Sandvick


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One Response to “Community mourns iconic business owner”

  1. Chamber sets date for 2013 Diamond Awards : Newcastle News – News , Sports, Classifieds in Newcastle, WA on June 19th, 2013 5:19 pm

    […] Yarnell, 33, was a chamber member, and a beloved part of the community. […]

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