Sylvester "Syl" James Yunker Lexington Obituary

Sylvester "Syl" James Yunker

<p>Sylvester James Yunker ("Syl"), was born April 5, 1928 and died February 27, 2024 from complications associated with pneumonia. He was the 4th of 5 children born to Carl Arthur and Marie Schimpeler Yunker in Louisville, KY. He explored the woods, streams and fields of eastern Jefferson County from the family homes in Middletown and Anchorage and attended Anchorage HS. Sylvester graduated in 1946 from Riverside Military Academy in Gainesville, GA and enlisted in the US Army where he served in Korea from 1947-48. He completed that service and attended both the University of Kentucky &amp; University of Louisville before returning to the Army, graduating 1st in his Officer Candidate School class in 1953. In 1958-59, he completed the rigorous Ranger and Pathfinder courses at Ft. Benning, as well as instructor training at Ft. Benning, (now Ft Moore) GA.</p><p><br></p><p>He met Elizabeth Gallivan at UK, and they married June 19, 1954. Three children followed; Gerald, Katherine and Sylvester L. The family lived in Kentucky, Germany, Georgia, and Kentucky again while Syl was on various postings with the Army including an advisory role with the State Department in Vietnam in 1960-61. He retired with a partial disability from the Army in 1962.</p><p><br></p><p>Syl worked in the insurance business for awhile, going on weeklong trips visiting the company's agents in eastern Kentucky. These trips included watching double features at the local drive-ins, numerous diner meals and many miles of twisty road driving. He started and ran a company doing residential, commercial and environmental cleaning. Syl purchased property in Powell County, KY and set to working out construction of a passive-solar off-the grid cabin and making the land productive growing ginseng, pioneering a cultivation technique he named "virtually wild". This ginseng technique was featured in an "Appalachia - Science in the Public Interest" technical paper, "Ginseng in Appalachia" in 1996 and his ginseng crop protection technique in an NPR "Weekend Edition" interview with him in 2002.</p><p><br></p><p>He married Wini Mastin, in 1977. They welcomed a son, Joseph, in 1979. Wini was a candidate for Lexington mayor in 1981, finishing 4th in the primary. Syl married a third time in 1993 to Carol Miller Graham after he met her at a dance. They enjoyed each others' companionship and idiosyncrasies' for over 20 years until her death in 2014.</p><p><br></p><p>Syl is survived by his four children; Gerald Yunker (Debra), Katherine Yunker (Charles Yeomans), Sylvester L. Yunker, and Joseph Yunker (Michelle), three grandchildren, Anna, Michael and Jay, 2 great-grandchildren, and his youngest sibling Ruthie Osborne.</p><p><br></p><p>He was predeceased by his parents, wives and 3 of his siblings, Yvonne Bass, Charlie Yunker and Elizabeth Caye.</p><p><br></p><p>The family especially thanks the staff at Cambridge Place, the VA Medical Center and Thompson Hood Veterans Center for the loving care provided to him.</p><p><br></p><p>In lieu of flowers and in Syl's honor; repurpose what would otherwise be discarded (preferably using duct tape and/or baling wire) or sweat a KY Bonded bourbon barrel with a gallon of distilled water and remember SJY while doing either.</p><p><br></p><p>For a more conventional remembrance consider donating to Appalachia-Science in the Public Interest. https://www.appalachia-spi.org/.</p><p><br></p><p>A funeral mass will take place Tuesday, March 5, 2024 at 9:30 at the Holy Spirit Parish Catholic Newman Center, 320 Rose Lane, Lexington, KY 40508, with a visitation/reception to follow from 11:00am-12:00pm.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p>
April 5, 1928 - February 27, 202404/05/192802/27/2024
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Obituary

Sylvester James Yunker ("Syl"), was born April 5, 1928 and died February 27, 2024 from complications associated with pneumonia. He was the 4th of 5 children born to Carl Arthur and Marie Schimpeler Yunker in Louisville, KY. He explored the woods, streams and fields of eastern Jefferson County from the family homes in Middletown and Anchorage and attended Anchorage HS. Sylvester graduated in 1946 from Riverside Military Academy in Gainesville, GA and enlisted in the US Army where he served in Korea from 1947-48. He completed that service and attended both the University of Kentucky & University of Louisville before returning to the Army, graduating 1st in his Officer Candidate School class in 1953. In 1958-59, he completed the rigorous Ranger and Pathfinder courses at Ft. Benning, as well as instructor training at Ft. Benning, (now Ft Moore) GA.


He met Elizabeth Gallivan at UK, and they married June 19, 1954. Three children followed; Gerald, Katherine and Sylvester L. The family lived in Kentucky, Germany, Georgia, and Kentucky again while Syl was on various postings with the Army including an advisory role with the State Department in Vietnam in 1960-61. He retired with a partial disability from the Army in 1962.


Syl worked in the insurance business for awhile, going on weeklong trips visiting the company's agents in eastern Kentucky. These trips included watching double features at the local drive-ins, numerous diner meals and many miles of twisty road driving. He started and ran a company doing residential, commercial and environmental cleaning. Syl purchased property in Powell County, KY and set to working out construction of a passive-solar off-the grid cabin and making the land productive growing ginseng, pioneering a cultivation technique he named "virtually wild". This ginseng technique was featured in an "Appalachia - Science in the Public Interest" technical paper, "Ginseng in Appalachia" in 1996 and his ginseng crop protection technique in an NPR "Weekend Edition" interview with him in 2002.


He married Wini Mastin, in 1977. They welcomed a son, Joseph, in 1979. Wini was a candidate for Lexington mayor in 1981, finishing 4th in the primary. Syl married a third time in 1993 to Carol Miller Graham after he met her at a dance. They enjoyed each others' companionship and idiosyncrasies' for over 20 years until her death in 2014.


Syl is survived by his four children; Gerald Yunker (Debra), Katherine Yunker (Charles Yeomans), Sylvester L. Yunker, and Joseph Yunker (Michelle), three grandchildren, Anna, Michael and Jay, 2 great-grandchildren, and his youngest sibling Ruthie Osborne.


He was predeceased by his parents, wives and 3 of his siblings, Yvonne Bass, Charlie Yunker and Elizabeth Caye.


The family especially thanks the staff at Cambridge Place, the VA Medical Center and Thompson Hood Veterans Center for the loving care provided to him.


In lieu of flowers and in Syl's honor; repurpose what would otherwise be discarded (preferably using duct tape and/or baling wire) or sweat a KY Bonded bourbon barrel with a gallon of distilled water and remember SJY while doing either.


For a more conventional remembrance consider donating to Appalachia-Science in the Public Interest. https://www.appalachia-spi.org/.


A funeral mass will take place Tuesday, March 5, 2024 at 9:30 at the Holy Spirit Parish Catholic Newman Center, 320 Rose Lane, Lexington, KY 40508, with a visitation/reception to follow from 11:00am-12:00pm.  

To plant a tree in memory of Sylvester "Syl" James Yunker, please visit our Tribute Store.

Events

Mar
05
Mass
Tuesday, March 05 2024
09:30 AM - 10:30 AM
Newman Center
320 Rose Lane
Lexington, KY 40508
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Mar
05
Visitation
Tuesday, March 05 2024
11:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Newman Center
320 Rose Lane
Lexington, KY 40508
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Final Resting Place
Camp Nelson National Cemetery
6980 Danville Rd.
Nicholasville , KY 40356
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