Leland “Lee” Kenneth Yockey, 83, passed away on Sept. 28, 2019, at Marcus Daly Hospice, in Hamilton, Montana. Lee was born July 30, 1936, in Coffeyville, Kansas, the son of Russell Kenneth and Gwendolyn (Norbury) Yockey. He was the oldest of five children.
When he was 3, his family moved to South Bend, Indiana. Lee loved family, basketball, golf and Notre Dame football. As a young boy, he would sneak beyond the fence during Notre Dame practices and legendary head coach Frank Leahy would send him home. Finally, his persistence won out and he was allowed to watch the practices.
His love for the Irish never wavered. When he was 9 years old, he began his love of golf as a caddy in South Bend, learning the finer points of the game by observation. Lee attended South Bend Central High School, and his basketball team won the 1953 Indiana State Championship. The nickname beside his senior picture in his yearbook was “Mr. Basketball.” One of his fondest memories was playing defense against then-future NBA Hall of Famer Oscar Robertson. Lee was one of the best defensive players on his team; however, he often laughed that Oscar outplayed him. Most people were.
Lee played basketball for Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana. After his freshman year he enlisted in the Marine Corps. It was peacetime and he was stationed in Japan and Okinawa. During those years he was a member of the Marine Corps basketball team and traveled to many locations around the world.
After discharge he returned to Ball State and met and fell in love with Judy King. Lee and Judy were married Aug. 20, 1961, and they started their life together in Indianapolis, where Lee worked for a finance company. After two years he accepted a position with a bank in Ft. Wayne, Indiana, and remained there for 10 years.
Both sons, David and Greg, were born during that time. A position became available in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, and the family relocated to the East for six years. While there they took a train trip to Butte, Montana, where Judy’s brother and his family lived and where her parents had retired.
The Yockeys fell in love with the West and began job searches that resulted in the closest to Montana they could find – Moab, Utah. Six years later, in 1985, Lee applied for a commercial lending position at Farmers State Bank. He was hired and the family made their forever home in Hamilton, Montana.
He had found a bank whose philosophy and culture aligned with his, and his years with Farmers State Bank were the most fulfilling professional years of his life. Lee was direct, competitive, but compassionate in his dealings with people; he truly enjoyed his relationships with customers and coworkers. He served as president, CEO, and chairman of the board. He also served on the board of directors of the Montana Bankers Association and was a member of the Hamilton Golf Club.
Lee cherished his family. He was a loving husband, father and “Papa.” One of his greatest attributes was being a mentor to his family. If there were issues to be addressed he would listen, and after the discussion was over he would give his opinion, often so simple and wise.
His son, Lt. Col. David Leland Yockey, preceded Lee in death. He is survived by his wife, Judy of Hamilton; his son, Greg Yockey and his wife Amy of Hamilton; five grandchildren, Kyle Yockey of Texas, Ryan Yockey of Utah, and Megan Yockey, Kellen Yockey, and Quinn Yockey, all of Hamilton; sisters, Marilyn Yockey of Ohio and Marlene Blankenship of Indiana; brothers, Larry Yockey of California and Lowell Yockey of Indiana.
A celebration of life will be held at 4 p.m. Oct. 17, 2019 at Daly-Leach Memorial Chapel in Hamilton. A reception will follow at the Edge Restaurant. Condolences may be left for the family at www.dalyleachchapel.com. The family suggests that memorials be made to Marcus Daly Hospice, 1200 Westwood Dr., Hamilton, Montana, 59840.