RAYMOND A. YERAK age 92, beloved husband for 67 years of Regina (nee Kostelic); loving father of Yvonne Shaffer (husband Jack), Renee Hornsby (husband John), Bill Yerak, Becky Yerak and Kurt Yerak (wife Marni); devoted grandfather of Kent and Kurt; cherished son of the late Anton and Alice (nee Rossman); dearest brother of the late Elsie Kozar; U.S. Air Force Veteran.
Longtime Willoughby Hills resident Raymond Anton Yerak died Feb. 11, 2017, he was 92. A native Clevelander who graduated from Collinwood High School, Yerak was a B-17 tail-gunner in World War II, the defining experience of his life. He participated in 27 B-17 bombing runs over Europe.
He once told the (Lake County) News-Herald of one particular mission: A shell smashed through the plane’s cockpit and shattered the pilot’s leg, and the B-17 lost an engine, but Yerak’s aircraft made it back to England after dropping its bombs on a factory in Halberstadt, Germany. He was awarded a Distinguished Flying Cross. He helped start the Euclid Vets Club and had regularly attended reunions of his bomb group.
Raymond became active in boys’ and girls’ baseball and softball leagues in Willoughby Hills, having served as commissioner and as coach of his children’s teams for several years. Very proud of his Slovenian heritage, he enjoyed polka music and dancing.
Raymond had worked for 36 years for New York Central railroad and its successor companies. He and his family traveled the country frequently on trains.
He and Regina are active members of St. Noel Church. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in Raymond’s memory to Euclid Veterans Association, PO Box 32575, Euclid, OH 44132 or any veterans’ causes. “Whenever I see a present soldier or sailor, I envy them that they’re young enough to fight and represent our country,” he told a daughter in 2011.
Written with love: Becky Yerak, Daughter, Journalist
Mass of Christian Burial St. Noel Catholic Church Thursday, February 16, 2017 at 10AM. Burial following with Military Honors at All Souls Cemetery. Family will receive friends to pay tribute to and celebrate the life of Raymond at THE DeJOHN-FLYNN-MYLOTT FUNERAL HOME OF WILLOUGHBY HILLS, 28890 CHARDON ROAD (between Bishop Rd. and Rt. 91) Wednesday 3-7 PM.
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