Bennett Kyle Yancey - son of John Dewey Yancey
As a lawyer and advocate, Kyle Yancey was of, and for, the common man.
"Kyle was the archetypical country lawyer," said his law partner of 12 years, David Fink of Atlanta. "His roots were with the common people of Georgia."
'Country lawyer' Kyle Yancey acted on his commitment to justice for everyday people.
"He always had a very fine sense of justice. If he felt somebody had been taken advantage of, he would represent them like a bulldog," Mr. Fink said.
In one case, Mr. Yancey represented neighbors he felt were wronged and put the offending company out of business, he said.
Mr. Yancey was no less fervent about reviving the American chestnut tree, making family vacations adventures or exploring old mills.
"Kyle was interested in just about everything, and what he was interested in, he knew about," said his friend Charles Jones of Austell.
The funeral for Bennett Kyle Yancey, 82, of Austell, who died of a stroke Saturday at Heartland Hospice, will be 2 p.m. Wednesday at Mount Harmony Baptist Church. Davis-Struempf Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.
Mr. Yancey's father had been a sharecropper, and that was at the root of his defense of the underdog, said his son Phillip Yancey of Marietta. "He was definitely willing to take positions that he thought were right rather than popular," he said.
When not in the courtroom, he could be found searching for interesting out-of-print books for his library — which would have been much bigger than it was except he loaned out books and didn't mind if they weren't returned, his son said.
He collected books about the American chestnut tree, all but destroyed by blight by the 1930s. Older family members told him stories of the trees being used for wood and the nuts keeping settlers fed and their livestock fattened. To him, his son said, it was a big deal when a major forest tree disappeared.
Mr. Yancey spoke widely about the need to revive the tree and even tried, unsuccessfully, to grow two himself. When he built his house in 1957, he created a fence of rescued American chestnut rails that still stands, his son said.
An inquisitive and adventuresome man, Mr. Yancey would rent a cabin cruiser to take his family on a trip down the Tennessee, Ohio and Mississippi rivers. Or, he and his sons would canoe from the mouth of the Suwannee River in the Okefenokee Swamp to the Gulf of Mexico.
He was just as adventuresome as a gardener and experimented growing new species and heirloom plants.
One of his pleasures was visiting old mills where he would buy 10 pounds of freshly ground meal to cook with and compare. In the kitchen, he excelled at making country breakfasts, often using the mill-ground meal.
A favorite was his corn bread with pecans.
"As far as we know, he came up with that combination on his own," his son said.
Another favorite at Lions Club fund-raisers was his barbecue sauce.
"He modified his mother's barbecue sauce and perfected it, at least according to him," his son said.
"It was," Mr. Jones confirmed.
Survivors include his wife, Janet Yancey; a daughter, Kathryn Yancey of Smyrna; another son, Stephen Yancey of Douglasville; a sister, Glennie Madge Martin of Brevard, N.C.; and three grandchildren.