Benny “Frank” Yancey was remembered Friday as a coach who made his offensive linemen proud of their “rotundness” and his South Bay jail colleagues feel a vital part of the larger law enforcement community.
As many as 800 friends, family and co-workers came to Sonrise Community Church to say goodbye to the 1981 Santana High School graduate who went on to play at Grossmont College and San Francisco State and coach at several schools, including West Hills High School and most recently Valhalla High in El Cajon.
Yancey, 49, died Feb. 13 2012 at his Santee home of causes still unknown to many of his closest associates.
His love of motorcycles was evoked by his large machine on stage, perhaps a Harley. His powerlifting interest was shown with trophies and medals displayed in the large foyer of the church.
Led by bagpiper Deputy Kathy Mars, family members were saluted upon arrival, and Sonrise Pastor Brian Reed opened and closed the celebration of life.
Yancey’s sister, Rhonda Yancey Bollen, called him “the best big brother a sister could ever have.” And Yvette Nolasco, his girlfriend of 13 years, spoke movingly of his affect on her life, thanking him for bringing adventure into it.
His godsons Jacob, 21, and Zachary Massie, 19, fought back tears in delivering their remarks.
And Jaime Hill, his friend and teammate since sixth grade, journeyed from Provo, Utah—stoically carrying a football inscribed with Yancey’s name.
On the stage, football jerseys were displayed from all his schools—all bearing his collegiate number 63.
Undersheriff Ed Prendergast, second in command to Sheriff Bill Gore, was the highest-ranking member of the Sheriff’s Department paying respects. Possibly 100 officers and deputies in uniform and civilian clothes came, and many also attended an evening reception at Carlton Oaks Country Club.
Yancey had been a court/detentions deputy sheriff since 1990, coaching “the O-line” as a sideline.
Always the O-line, the audience heard.