Obituary for Charles Frederick Yahn
Charles Frederick Yahn, of Watkins Glen, known to all by all as Fredder, died Wednesday morning after a short stay at Cayuga Medical Center after suffering a stroke. He was 70 years old and had been living with his wife Deb Bailey on Van Zandt Hollow Road in Watkins Glen, where he was a well loved member of that community. His last days were spent with Deb, his brother Tom, and his wife Ann and other friends of the family. In the end his transplanted kidney which had served him well over the last decade was not able to overcome this insult caused by his stroke. Everyone who knew Fred loved and enjoyed him. His big grin and open face punctuated by clear blue eyes which took you in a way that at once made you feel his genuine interest and curiosity. His sense of humor and uncanny understanding of almost any topic or issue that you wanted to discuss was astonishing. He naturally possessed an encyclopedic ability to remember details related to everything from sports to song titles and the dates they came out. What was the score of Super Bowl III and who were the opponents or who sang Ruby Tuesday...no problem. If you had Fredder you had no use for Google. This is not to say he was just a fount of useless information. Along with facts you would always get an opinion. His fervor and honesty about how to make that world a better place and his position on any issue was part of the package whether it was requested or not. Some of his favorite causes were saving the environment, the Humane Society, Planned Parenthood, social justice, the First Amendment, progressive politics and improving his community (he served as President of the Finger Lakes Trail Association). It was not surprising that Fred chose journalism as his career. He began as a cub reporter for the Conning Leader when he was in 8th grade covering local sports. After graduation from East High School in Corning , where he ran track and formed a rock and roll band called the Ferns, he attended Northwestern University and graduated with a BA and Masters Degree in Journalism. During that time he spent the summer of his senior year as an intern for the New York Times. After college he came home to write for The Leader before moving to Ithaca to cover sports for the Ithaca Journal before wrapping up his career with The Elmira Star Gazette, The Watkins Review and Express and the weekly Grapevine. One of his favorite assignments was covering the US Grand Prix at The Glen. He also covered the infamous Summer Jam Concert at the race track. Fred loved cross country skiing. He participated in the many local races including the Canadian Ski Marathon and the Washington's Day Race in Vermont. He spent time teaching skiing at the Podunk Ski Center and traveled to north of the Arctic Circle in Finland to ski there. During the summer months his unique dunk and dink style continually confounded many tennis players who were always surprised to see the ball always coming back. As a sports spectator Fred was second to none whether it was live at the Carrier Dome or in his living room where on most Saturday afternoons he had games going on two screens. He was a huge Cubs fan and had fond memories of many a sunny afternoon in the center field bleachers at Wrigley Field during his years at Northwestern. Surely he is rooting for them this fall to make the World Series. Fred is survived by his wife of 24 years, Deb Bailey of Watkins Glen; and Tom Yahn, his brother and Tom's wife Ann Fielder of Brattleboro,VT; and Fred and Deb's beloved dog Robie. His parents Harold and Peg Yahn were long time residents in Corning, N.Y. A Memorial Service is planned for Tuesday November 1st from 1 to 4 p.m. at Seneca Lodge in Watkins Glen. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to either the Schuyler Ambulance Service or The Humane Society of Schuyler County in Fred's name. The family would like to thank the doctors, nurses and staff of Cayuga Medical Center for all of their care, treatment, advice and support during the time Fred was there. There are many other friends, neighbors and medical people that have been so generous and supportive over the past few years who we are thankful for and who were important to his well being in so many ways big and small. Thanks for all you did as well. You may leave condolences for the family online at www.RoyceChedzoy.com. Arrangements by Royce-Chedzoy Funeral Home, Watkins Glen.