Tony and Tricia Yates
Well-wishers swarmed the Sequoyah County Courthouse Monday, to say goodbye to one of the most popular couples in the county.
Tony and Tricia Yates will be retiring at the end of 2017, and friends and family stood in line to wish them well.
The Yates have spent over 60 years in Sequoyah County’s courthouse, but it wasn’t always together. Tony and Tricia are not that old. While some may come to the courthouse to wed, hardly anyone meets their significant other there. But that’s what Tony and Tricia did. About 14 years ago, Tony recalls, circumstances led to the couples’ meeting and wedding.
Tony Yates has served as the county’s Extension Educator for Agriculture and 4-H Youth Development for 33 years.
Tricia Yates has served as the county’s treasurer for 27 years, or as Tony proudly recalls about his wife’s elected position, “She was appointed and never had an opponent in an election.”
Tony Yates said he was working in a grocery store in Coffeyville, Kan., when he got the job as the county’s agriculture agent, as it was known back then. He replaced retiring Phil Nowlin. Nowlin served as the county ag agent or assistant for over 31 years.
Yates recalled, “Phil told me he thought he would have the job for a short time. That’s exactly what I was thinking.”
But Yates, like Nowlin, found he liked the job. A graduate of Kansas State University with a degree in animal science, Yates was made for the job of helping local farmers, cattlemen, gardeners, and 4-H kids.
He said, “I really enjoyed the people, and that’s what Phil said.”
Now Yates is looking at retirement, with no new questions from gardeners or 4-H kids. He asked visitors who are already retired what they do to stay busy. Most told him to volunteer and get out where the people are.
Yates said he has plenty to do at home on the Yates’ 140-acre ranch.
“I have plenty to catch up on,” he said.
“I will be cutting cedar trees, and cleaning up the barn, and looking for a place to hide from Tricia,” he added with a grin.
The Yates have plenty to keep them busy, with two sons and three daughters between them, and seven grandchildren. Yates said they are raising Hereford cattle, and the grandchildren show heifers and lambs, and have four horses to cowboy on.
The Yates also like to travel, and recently visited Hawaii. Tony said they want to go back there some day.
But the Yates will be gone from the Sequoyah County Courthouse on Dec. 29, and they will be missed.
Yates said new ag agents are being interviewed, and the new agent will be responsible for both Sequoyah and Adair Counties.
Sally Maxwell, Senior News Director
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