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Nelsen Funeral Home & Crematory

4650 South Laburnum Avenue, Richmond, VA

OBITUARY

Raymond George Yanchus

July 12, 1934June 21, 2020

Raymond G. Yanchus (“Coach," "Sting Ray," "Candy Man") of Pinehurst, NC passed away Sunday, June 21st, 2020 due to complications of pneumonia. He was 85.

Born in Wilkes-Barre, PA in 1934, he was the eldest son of George J. Yanchus and Julia Ruda Yanchus. He was predeceased by his parents, his beloved wife Nancy Yanchus, sisters Barbara Domzalski and Rosemarie Urban, and brother Eugene who died in infancy.

He is survived by his daughters Beth Burke (husband Bob) of Colts Neck, NJ and Susan Dyer (husband Jeff) of Wake Forest, NC, who will always cherish his memory. In addition, he is survived by five grandchildren whom he greatly loved: Jessica Phillips (husband Ritchie) of Raleigh, NC; Brett Knighton (wife Samantha) of Wendell, NC; Allie Burke of St. Cloud, FL; Emily Burke of Colts Neck, NJ; and Sierra Dyer of Boone, NC. He also leaves two great-grandsons, Garret and Ayden Phillips of Raleigh, NC. He is also survived by his first wife Ginny Yanchus of Keansburg, NJ.

Ray was raised in Wilkes-Barre, PA and attended Catholic school there. He joined the Marines right after high school and left three years later with the rank of Sergeant. He then used the GI bill to be the first in his family to attend college (Wilkes). Ray then taught high school social studies/law in Springfield, NJ (JDRHS). He coached football there early in his career, then transitioned to be their head basketball coach for 32 years. After 10 years as basketball coach, he also became the golf coach at Jonathan Dayton, followed by his dream retirement in Pinehurst, NC.

Ray was larger than life and had a life story for almost every situation. Even so, he was most interested in hearing the stories of others. This could be long-time friends or people he just met in a waiting room. As a coach, he had an almost encyclopedic knowledge of sports, and could also recall very specific details about all the basketball games he coached. Back then, he was strict but fair. Then he had grandchildren that softened all of his edges and filled his heart. He loved being a Pop-Pop. He also loved the Pittsburgh Pirates, Johnny Unitas, John Wayne, Tiger Woods, and Frank Sinatra.

A private graveside service was held at Riverview Cemetery in Richmond, VA on June 27, 2020. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, there will be a memorial/celebration of life for Ray on a future date. For updates and a memorial video, please contact Nelsen Funeral Home at www.nelsenrichmond.com or Sue at dyerrn@gmail.com. Memorials may be made to the Artists League of the Sandhills, P.O. Box 460, Aberdeen, NC, 28315.

Services

  • Graveside Service

    Saturday, June 27, 2020

Memories

Raymond George Yanchus

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Carol Barnes

July 3, 2020

Mr. Yanchus was my History teacher at Dayton (Class ‘72) & he brought out my love of history and caused me to read and explore my history, all history, deeper in my years after his class. He also had us buy The NY Times to read & discuss current events as a class assignment and this became the reason why I read The Star Ledger cover to cover every day for decades... yes he was strict but always fair and I was honored when he remembered little old me & requested me to be his Facebook friend (& he ‘liked’ many of my posts lol)... that made me smile! Thank you & may he forever Rest In Peace
♥️🙏🏽

Gary Faucher

July 1, 2020

Sorry to read about the passing of coach Ray Yanchus .I am a 1964 graduate of Dayton ,he was both my basketball and football coach when I was there. It is true that he was tough but well respected.I remember hearing he was having heart issues at one point in later years and I went to visit him in is home in Middlesex to see how he was doing .We spent some quality time together that day. I also remember sending my 12 year old son to one his basketball camps at Dayton I wanted him to get that Yanchus experience. The one thing I will never forget about coach , in 1989 my dad passed away and he came to the wake to pay his respects. Great coach and great friend . I will never forget you. Rest In Peace.

Louis Fasulo Fasulo

June 30, 2020

JDRHS was so lucky to have a teacher who instilled a love of knowledge in his student, a coach who by example taught the value of teamwork hardwork and community to his players and a mentor who cared Bout his students,players and colleagues. Coach Yanchus was tough; rigid but fair . I was fortunate to know him not as my coach as he did not coach my sports but I got to know him in class and being the town newspaper sports reporter I spent many hours interviewing and hearing game recaps of his various ream results.. He was colorful and respected even by those who feared his ways. He was committed to make his players the best they could be by learning to respecting themselves as they respect others.His methods were at the time unorthodox but his results were unparalleled. He did not care about the popularity of his actions but only about its results. No matter who you were, how great your skill level, nothing it following the rules counted. His legacy resides in the thousand of students he impacted and his memory will live on as he will always be a part of the foundation of The Dayton Bulldog team, athletes and alum RIP coach.

Frank Monticello

June 30, 2020

Coach Yanchus was one of the most influential people in my life. As a sophomore I had problems with a coach and was dismissed from the team and each day one of the football coaches would berate me in the hallway and embarrass me in front of my classmates. I got to the point where I almost stopped going to school. Fortunately, I had Mr Yanchus for social studies and he suggested I go out for basketball and I explained how most of the coaches were giving me a hard time and he said I will protect you. I didn't know him that well but I trusted him and I joined the JV team he was coaching. It did not take long. The first day of practice coach lent me an old jdrhs uniform because I had no equipment with me and one of the coaches was up in the office overlooking the gym and yelled to me and accused me of stealing school property and coach Yanchus stepped right in, explained the situation and I knew I hooked up with the right person. Through his coaching and training I was able to start for the varsity basketball team my junior year and was fortunate enough to have coach Yanchus become the head coach of the varsity basketball team my senior year. Led by Bill Kretzer and coach Yanchus we had a very successful year. In fact, we lost to a Hillside team, coached by the infamous Rollie Massimo of Villanova fame, in overtime in a semifinal UCT and coach Massimo came into our locker room after the game and told us he liked our aggressive hustling style of play, especially on defense, and that if he had our team he would win the state championship and this came from the coach who lost the Group IV championship to Newark Central High School. I don't know if he sincerely meant that or was just trying to cheer us up after a tough loss but what I took away from it was how well coached we were.
I will conclude by saying Mr Yanchus was a great coach and teacher but he was an even better person. He followed the rule, Say what you mean and Mean what you say. RIP Coach.

ROBERT MCDONALD

June 29, 2020

I had "Big Ray" for Social Studies" at JDRHS in Springfield, NJ. After graduation, I would see him buying parts at the VW dealer I worked at in Maplewood, NJ. A picture was taken of him holding a globe above his head for the 1970 yearbook. Ray Yanchus was Mr. Atlas to me.

Ken Conte

June 29, 2020

I had the honor of playing for him in 73 and 74. He worked us hard and always had up playing uptempo as a fast breaking team . I was in the best shape of my life. Besides the hair cutting thing. My lasting memory of coach, was his organizing athletes , theater students and anyone who was interested to visit the kids at the local children hospital to entertain them . We did that every week throughout the season . He was tough but fair. Rest In Peace coach thank you for all you did for me

Ritchie Phillips

June 27, 2020

Mr Ray, POP, PopPop and PopPopPop as he was known by our family, had a personality almost as vast as his knowledge of history and baseball. There was never a dull moment when he was around and he never gave you the option as to whether or not you were going to conversation with him, the answer was YES! Lol

I’ll miss the 15lbs of chocolate he rationed out every visit. I’ll miss the our Christmas time keeper. I’ll miss the 2-3 hour Red Lobster birthday dinners. I’ll miss the random 10:30 PM phone calls asking me if I know about the 20 year old second baseman for the Altoona Curve, who played HS Ball 23 minutes from his hometown, that’s batting .340 against Lefty’s and is looking like a good prospect to move up to the Pirates AAA team if he good just start fielding the ball a little better. I’ll miss getting to call him a couple times a year and so him HOW BOUT THEM BRAVES to which he always responded with, in 1992 they robbed the Pirates of a Pennant. Most of all I’ll just miss him and all the joy and laughter he brought us when he was around.

I know you’re happy to be back with Nanny, thank for waiting 6 years and giving us all a little more time. Next time I order French Fries I’ll make sure they “Cremate Em”

David Ironson

June 27, 2020

My deepest condolences to the Yanchus family. Last year, after 40 years, I spoke with Coach. We reminisced and shared stories. I am so grateful I had the opportunity to thank him for the lessons he taught me and the positive impact he has had on my life. May he rest in peace.

Robert Meisel

June 27, 2020

I played on the high school basketball team from 1971-1973. I remember I think it was 1972 when Coach Y required all players to get have hair no longer than a certain length. I defied him and didn't cut my hair. He then kicked me off the team. I came back 3 or 4 days later and asked if I could be back on team if I cut my hair. He said yes but it was a Tuesday or Wednesday. As practice was after school I couldn't get a haircut until Saturday. He let me practice with long hair for those few days. He welcomed me back with open arms.
Coach Y was a tough coach. He wanted to toughen his players up. So every practice we would play for a game called Combat. Fouling was permitted. It was a rough game but it did toughen me up.
I also remember how before every game in the locker room, Coach Y would play "To Sing the Impossible Dream" this is my quest.... While it seemed dated at the time, it actually did get us emotionally up for the game.
Last story, Coach Y was also the coach of the golf team. Every Monday the team was allowed to practice at Baltusrol (Monday was caddie day). Even though I was a terrible golfer, coach let me on the team so I could play Baltusrol. (although he was smart enough never to let me play in a match). I really appreciated that.

I have not seen the Coach since 1973 (I always hoped those first few years to make it back for the alumni game but never did)

As you can tell this is 47 years later and I still remember him vividly. He was a larger than life personality who left his mark on me.
Thank you Coach Y. May you rest in peace.

Guy Miller

June 27, 2020

What an honor and privilege it was to have been raised across the street from Mr Y He always had a story to tell and was a great friend to my dad . He was the only one who could get away with calling my dad Moose Miller. RIP Mr Y and knock that first one today straight down the fairway

FROM THE FAMILY