By Pearl Cantrell
Monitor Staff Writer
MABANK–The Cedar Creek Lake community is mourning the loss of a
sterling photojournalist and a good friend.
photographer Kerry Yancey died at his desk at The Monitor office
Tuesday, reviewing photographs taken over the July 4 weekend. He
Visitation is set for 6-8 p.m. tonight (Thursday, July 7) at the
Eubank Funeral Home in Canton with a memorial service set for 1
p.m. Friday, July 8. For complete obituary information, see page
His last news assignment was documenting the Independence Day
ceremony and celebration at Four-Mile Lutheran Church in
His co-workers had the honor of administering CPR and other
first aid while a medical team was enroute. He was surrounded by
those who loved him long and well; and who benefited most from
his many kindnesses and wit.
Of course, his talent and skill as a photographer are well
known. The Texas Press Association awarded him top awards for
his sports photography four years in a row.
He always tried to feature young people in his photographs to
give them another way of seeing themselves, the way he saw them
– as full of promise.
“Mabank ISD students and employees could always count on Kerry
to take the perfect picture or say just the right thing in an
article,” Mabank ISD superintendent Dr. Russell Marshall said.
“He was honest and ethical. Kerry made his profession, family
and community proud by the way he conducted himself, both
professionally and personally. His death is a great loss to us
Eustace ISD superintendent Dr. Coy Holcombe lauded his
dedication to cover all the games and events in the area even
when it meant traveling to several different sites in a single
“I will always remember Kerry’s unselfish devotion to the young
people of the Cedar Creek Lake area,” he said. “Kerry will truly
Kerry was not only dependable he was methodical. He made the
rounds, talking to high school coaches first thing Monday
mornings following Friday night football games.
Mabank athletic director Jimmy Cantrell said those 10 a.m.
meetings will always be his fondest memory of a man who
dedicated his life to the youth in the athletic programs around
the Cedar Creek Lake area.
“The kids and the progress of all athletic programs was his
number one priority,” Cantrell said. “I will miss our
conversations. Thanks for all you (Kerry) have done.”
Despite attempts to keep the sad news from breaking, condolences
messages began appearing on Facebook, by email and text
A half dozen such messages were spawned from the Payne Springs
Fire Rescue page, which read, “We lost a very good friend this
morning. Kerry Yancey covered our banquets and fundraisers. Our
prayers go to his wife, Shirley, and his family at The Monitor.”
“Kerry was a fountain of information that we all relied upon,”
Monitor staff writer Barbara Gartman said. “He either knew the
answer or knew where to get it. I will miss him terribly.”
Paginator Kim Vincent worked with him at The Monitor since May,
2000. “Kerry always had a way of brightening up the office by
telling his famous (Jay) Leno jokes every morning,” she said.
“The Monitor office will not be the same without him.”
The Monitor general manager Susan Harrison agreed, “His passing
will leave a void not only where he worked but in the community
as well. Kerry’s absence will be especially felt in the upcoming
high school football season. We learned a lot from Kerry and
knowing him made each of us a better person,” she said.
Kemp athletic director Greg Anderson said it’s hard to imagine
football season without him.
“He took a great deal of pride in making sure all the schools
got their information in and published each and every week,”
“He would often stop by the office to show me the pictures he
had taken from that particular game and how he was going to
decide which one went into the paper that week,” he said.“He was
always very supportive of us in the athletic department, the
coaches, the schools and most importantly the students. We lost
a real friend.”
Kiwanis Club member Jeanne Caillet called him a champion. “Kerry
was always there to record our victories, cheer our successes
and grieve with us in our losses.” She described his friendship
as meaningful and fulfilling.
As The Monitor’s landlord, Groom and Son spokesperson Margie
Crawford noted Yancey’s integrity and approachability.
“Anyone could see that he really enjoyed his work and had a
talent for reporting. He always had a smile and was so courteous
and polite,” Crawford said.
Cedar Creek Lake Chamber of Commerce president Jo Ann Hanstrom
expressed her sadness at the loss of “my friend” and the “many
kindnesses and photographic favors” Yancey extended to her over
the years. “We will surely miss him at the chamber of commerce,
both as a friend and as a respected reporter,” she said.
Kerry often gave pointers on being a good photographer and he
practiced what he preached. He would always say, “The first rule
of good photography is to be there” – meaning where the action
is. And he was, you could always count on Kerry being in the
thick and thin of it.
He was a hard worker, longsuffering friend and an example of
upstanding and courageous Christian manhood. To me, Kerry was
the best The Monitor had to offer. To me, he was The Monitor.
I thanked him every day for his gracious assistance in making
all of us look good.
Now it’s up to each of us who loved him to cover the mistakes,
misspellings, and foibles of those in our circles of influence.
He taught me what extending grace is all about.
Photos of the photographer
An additional memorial service will be held at 2 pm on
Friday, July 15 at the Eubanks Funeral Home in Mabank. A slide
show is being prepared but we lack photos since Kerry was the
photographer. If you have any photos, please contact Pearl at
firstname.lastname@example.org. Stories and ancedotes are welcome
Man drowns in pond over holiday
Monitor Staff Reports
GUN BARREL CITY–Fire rescue divers and game wardens sifted
through waters of a pond in Tamarack Subdivision in Gun Barrel
City Monday, looking for a man’s body, who most likely fell out
of a row boat and drowned.
Monitor Photo/Janice Grubbs
Monday, divers from Mabank, Payne Springs, Kemp, Gun Barrel City
and Kaufman took turns searching a Tamarack pond for the body of
a weekend visitor.
According to early reports, the 52-year-old’s body floated to
the surface shortly after dawn Tuesday.
Justice of the Peace Dale Blaylock pronounced the time of death
at 7:44 a.m., and the body was transported to Eubank Funeral
Home in Mabank.
Paul Meddock Jr., a resident of Duncanville was visiting friends
over the long holiday weekend.
He had decided to do a little fishing on the two- to three-acre
Search and rescue were called when it appeared the boat was
empty with no sign of him.
Six divers from Gun Barrel City and Payne Springs converged on
the pond around 3 p.m. Monday and searched for about three
hours, when game wardens decided to drag the pond, but were
unsuccessful in locating the man.
Tax employee bond changed to ‘cash’
Monitor Staff Reports
KAUFMAN–The surety bond of $5,000 for former Kaufman County tax
employees, P. J. Gibson did not suit the case, according to
assistant district attorney Brandi Fernandez.
The surety bond was changed to a cash bond and increased to
$15,000 by 86th District Judge Howard Tygret.
Tygret also ordered Gibson not to spend anymore than was needed
for “bare minimum” living expenses.
Gibson had purchased airline tickets for a trip to Kentucky she
said to visit her mother-in-law.
The purchase was made after her May arrest and the trip was
planned for June 29 through July 12.
tygret said the trip did not look good and forbade the trip.
Fernandez said in the initial stages of the investigation Gibson
told investigators only two or three checks had been stolen.
However further investigation by the Sheriff’s Department’s
Criminal Investigation Division has stated they have uncovered ,
to date, 29 checks diverted from the intended destination.
Fernandez said the first degree felony charges warranted a
larger bond than the initial $5,000.
Attorney Jeff Brown also stated his law firm has been examining
the counties accounts and has uncovered $120,000 in provable
losses, with expectations of a “top end” loss of between
$250,000 to $300,000.
Gibson lives in Elmo and owns an 11-acre section of land free
and clear but she still owes on her double-wide mobile home.
She said she will sell what she can for restitution.