David Allan York, part of the second generation of pioneers to settle North Fork, went home to be with the Lord at the age of 93 on Oct. 28, 2015.
Dave’s Memorial will be held in North Fork on Friday, Nov. 6, from 1 to 3 p.m. Dress will be business casual. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donating to your favorite charity. The North Fork Rancheria Community Center is located at 56900 Kunugib Way which is up Road 222 past the Post Office to the first corner. Take the first left onto Wahup Way, go to the top of the hill and take the first left onto Kunugib Way.
Before moving to North Fork, Dave worked for McDonnell Douglas in southern California and tried his hand at farming in Illinois with his wife Martha’s family – the Doonans.
Once in North Fork, he became a tree faller with his brothers Floyd and Glenn in the 1940’s. A young man by the name of Walter (Dyk) Fink worked for the brothers during these early years. Dave’s time as a timber grader at the North Fork Mill ended when he was denied vacation to take his family to Hawaii, an example of his family-first priorities.
The upper campus of the North Fork school sits on foundations that Dave and his partner Jim Foster poured when they owned and operated the North Fork Ready-mix plant. Dave also helped dam the San Joaquin River, creating the Mammoth Pool Reservoir.
Later, Dave spent years surveying with Chuck Sikora before finishing his working days with the Madera County Road Department.
(Photo – Captain York about two years ago, flying the plane he trained in for the service)
We, his loving family, were so accustomed to calling Dave ‘Dad’ or ‘Gramps’ that the sound of ‘Captain York’ stirred images of his former life in our heads. We always loved hearing his stories about airplanes, flying, and the technical aspects of aircraft. But, we had never really thought about who he was in those stories. In our limited imagination, we’d simply taken the Dave York we knew – Dad or Gramps – and plopped him into the stories unchanged (although perhaps a bit younger!).
To be honest, our selfish interpretation of those stories focused heavily on the amazing things he had done, and seen, and experienced, rather than on the man who was doing, and seeing, and experiencing those things. By naively interpreting Dave’s stories this way, we did him a great injustice.
As we reflect on his stories now, through .a new lens that allows us to focus on who he was, we are humbled. We are humbled because we see him as a man – Captain York – who loved his country, his family, and God in the good times and the bad. Our respect swells as we realize that the man we’ve known for all these years – Dad/Gramps – loved his country, his family and God until his final day. Such consistency is a testament to his character as a man, father, and husband.
After all of this reflection, we can’t help but think of all the reasons we are thankful. Thankful that Dave always put God first in his life; and kept Him there no matter what life threw at him. Thankful that he chose a godly wife and raised godly children who, perpetuating his legacy, raised godly children of their own. Thankful that he was willing to put himself aside by choosing to serve our great Nation and the principles it was founded on. We can only hope to instill in our children some of the character Dave exemplified so well.
(Photo – Captain York in Washington, D.C. on the Honor Flight two years ago. He was accompanied by grandddaughter Sarah)
So, even though the venerable title ‘Captain York’ inspires ample admiration; you’ll forgive us if we still refer to David York as ‘Dad’ or ‘Gramps’. For, you see, these names remind us of a man who was an example of a life well lived.
David was preceded in death by the York’s daughter, Patsey Kay O’Brien, and is survived by his wife of 71 years, Martha, and their sons, Jay and Rodney (and Alice) York of North Fork, their grandchildren, Sarah (and Jack) Crabtree, Alanna (and Tyler) Kamp, Shanda (and Adam) Crawford, Erinn York, Kevin (and Tiffany) York, and Stephen York along with ten great-grandchildren.
(Photo – David York, wife Martha, Diane and brother Floyd at Ducey’s on Dave’s 90th birthday)