Ryan Yates, of Munster, was on the Earth a short time, but managed to touch many lives and accomplish many things.
“Even though he was 19 years old, he had been to 30 states and had been to a World Series," said his mother, Mary Yates. "He lived a lot more in 19 years than a lot of people do in their entire lives.”
One of his friends, Tom Kim, referred to him as “the light in the world,” his mother said.
She called her son “an old soul” and said he always greeted people with a smile and a handshake or a hug.
Yates loved to travel. Some highlights included visits to the Grand Canyon, Mount Rushmore, Rocky Mountain National Park, 16 major league baseball stadiums, the Indianapolis 500 and spring training games in Florida and Arizona.
“He loved baseball,” his mother said. “He really knew the game.”
Besides baseball, Yates also enjoyed golfing and was a talented singer who was in an honors chorus in middle school. He enjoyed seeing his sister, Olivia, perform with the Munster High School choir at Carnegie Hall in New York.
Yates was very well-liked among his peers and coaches and had played baseball from a young age. He got to know a lot of other kids his age through playing with Munster Little League, Munster Babe Ruth and Munster High School’s baseball team. Ryan was a 2013 graduate of Munster High School. Yates was student at Purdue University Calumet.
Family friend Ted Poulos wrote the eulogy for Ryan and talked about how open-heart surgery at 21 months old left him with a great appreciation for life. He saw things more maturely and had a kind and gentle nature.
“It’s why he seemed to have a special place for children,” Poulos wrote. “For example, on Thanksgiving last year at his house, his two little cousins cried as they were told to sit at the kids’ table. Without anyone saying a word, Ryno got up from the adult’s table and sat down at the kids’ table and the little ones were overjoyed and quiet. It was those little, random acts of kindness that Ryan performed seemingly every day of his life that best define him."
Mary Yates said that her family is in the process of establishing a memorial fund in Ryan’s name that will provide scholarship money to a varsity baseball player. Donations for the fund can be forwarded to Centier Bank, c/o Mary or Fred Yates, 9716 White Oak Ave., Munster.