CUMBERLAND – John Yarnall, 93 years of age, born on December 10, 1924, of Cumberland, MD, passed away peacefully at home on Thursday, February 8, 2018, with loved ones by his side.
John was the son of the late Francis DeSales Yarnall and Jessie Abbott Yarnall. John was preceded in death by his wife of 69 years, Dorothy McCormick Yarnall; and by two sisters, Patricia Yarnall and Maryann Yarnall Bailey.
John is survived by his sons and their families, John T. Yarnall and wife Linda, of Cumberland, Timothy J. Yarnall, Sr. and wife Debbie, of Cumberland, and Charles F. Yarnall and wife Patty, of Frostburg. John was the proud grandfather of eight grandchildren, John W. Yarnall and wife Diane, of Cumberland, Jason Yarnall, of Jacksonville, FL, Jade Yarnall Bean and husband Erich, of Cumberland, Jennifer Yarnall Hamilton and husband Timothy, of Cumberland, Timothy J. Yarnall, Jr., of Cumberland, Julia C. Yarnall, of Lancaster, PA, Justin C. Yarnall and fiancée Ashley Brothers, of Springfield, WV, and Joseph W. Yarnall and partner Chelsey Chaplin, of Morgantown, WV. In addition, John is survived by his brother, Francis “Pat” Yarnall, of Lafayette, IN; sisters, Jean Yarnall Haas, of Phoenix, AZ, Joyce Yarnall Eisler, of Cumberland, JoAnn Yarnall Burke and husband John, of Bethany Beach, DE, and Kathryn Yarnall Bray and husband Robin, of Fayetteville, NC. Thirteen great-grandchildren enjoyed sharing their lives with PapPap Yarnall, including Michael Lowery, Matthew Lowery, Sierra Cole, Maitlyn Yarnall, Melanie Yarnall, Megan Yarnall, Molly Yarnall, Liam Hamilton, Macy Yarnall, Sadie Hamilton, Cambria Yarnall, Claire Bean, and Jack Bean, as well as one great-great-grandchild, Ariel Lowery. In addition, John is survived by numerous nieces, nephews, and cousins.
John attended Pennsylvania Avenue School and Fort Hill High School. At the age of 15, John went to the work with the WPA followed by a lifetime railroading career of 46 years with the B&O Railroad, Chessie System Railroad and CSX Transportation, beginning as a messenger and ending as a Yardmaster. His career at the railroad was interrupted by the outbreak of World War II. Following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, at the age of 17, in 1942, John enlisted in the US Navy following the lead of his older brother, Pat. Upon completion of his training, he was assigned duty as a gunners mate on the USS-LST-390 (Landing Ship Tank) which was the first LST to cross the Panama Canal and head off into the Pacific Ocean to combat the Japanese forces in the South Pacific. While serving aboard the USS-LST-390, John made over 35 beach landings, most of which were made under hot, hostile enemy fire in support of the Fourth Marine Division including Bora Bora, Tulagi, Tawara 1943, Guadalcanal 1943, Woodlark 1943, Munda 1943, Vella LaVella 1943, Bouganville 1943, Green Island 1943, Emarau 1943, and Saipan 1944. The LST-390 played a vital role in the movement and placement of the Fiji Scouts throughout the Solomon Islands. In addition, while in Pearl Harbor in drydock for repairs to his ship for damage suffered during an unexpected typhoon, John survived the “best kept secret of World War II,” the second Pearl Harbor, the explosion of West Loch-Pearl Harbor in May of 1944 where six LSTs were destroyed and many sailors lost their lives. At New Caledonia, John personally showed the operation of his antiaircraft gun to Eleanor Roosevelt (wife of FDR) and Admiral “Bull” Halsey, commander of the US Navy South Pacific Fleet.
John’s Naval Flotilla Five also made numerous resupply stops in Townsville, Australia, New Zealand, and other US supply centers. His ship and flotilla were awarded the Navy Unit Commendation from the Secretary of the Navy in 1946 for “outstanding heroism” during the Solomon Island Campaign. In addition, John was awarded the Asiatic Pacific Service Ribbon, American Service Ribbon, Four Campaign Stars, and the Navy Amphibious Insignia.
Upon return to Cumberland, following the completion of his war time duties, John, as most sailors did, remained as an active Navy Reservist for many years. John returned to the states and married his sweetheart, Dorothy McCormick, and spend many years raising their three boys and enjoying life as parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, and great-great-grandparents. John loved motorcycles and motorcycle hill climbing. He traveled with his family and friends to races and hill climbs throughout the eastern US for many decades. He had a passion for the outdoors and loved his time in the outdoors whether it would be fishing and camping along the Potomac River, boating at his cabin at Deep Creek Lake, or hunting many types of game during the various seasons. John had many friends and easily befriended everyone he met. He had enjoyed being interviewed numerous times in recent years by various new media outlets for his recollections of his US Navy Service in the South Pacific during World War II. He very seldom missed a Fort Hill High School football game and followed his children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren’s various athletic, musical, and theatrical and dance productions.
John was a 61 year member of the United Transportation Union. In addition, John was a lifetime member of Henry Hart VFW Post 1411, Cumberland, MD, American Legion Fort Cumberland Post 13, US LST Association, and The Cumberland Goodfellowship Club. John was also a member of the Cumberland Democrat Club.
Visitation will be held at the Scarpelli Funeral Home, P.A., 108 Virginia Ave., Cumberland, on Monday, February 12, 2018 from 4 to 7 pm. A funeral service, led by Rev. Stephen Yelovich of St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church, will be held on Tuesday, February 13 at 1 pm at the funeral home, immediately followed by a committal service with full military honors by the Ft. Cumberland Post 13 Honor Guard at Rocky Gap Veterans Cemetery.
Pallbearers will be John’s eight grandchildren, John W. Yarnall, Jason Yarnall, Jade Yarnall Bean, Jennifer Yarnall Hamilton, Timothy J. Yarnall, Jr., Julia C. Yarnall, Justin C. Yarnall, Joseph W. Yarnall.
Memorial donations and acts of remembrance may be directed to either the Henry Hart VFW Post 1411, 205 East Union Street, Cumberland, MD 21502 or to the United States LST Association, c/o Nehemian Communication, Inc., 101 Rice Bent Way #6, Columbia, SC 29229.
Condolences for the family may be left at www.ScarpelliFH.com.