Dolores ‘Dee’ Yates

Dolores ‘Dee’ Yates

Staff Reports's picture
October 21, 1938-April 4, 2023

Dolores "Dee" Estelle Boling Yates died peacefully on April 4, 2023, surrounded by family and friends, from complications of advanced dermatomyositis.

Dee was born October 21, 1938, in Tellico Plains, Tennessee, the second of three daughters to Bill and Estelle Boling. As a young girl, the family moved to Cornelia, Georgia where she grew up and graduated from South Habersham High School. She married Melvin King in 1957 and in 1959 their daughter, Angie, was born.

In 1962, after Melvin and Dolores divorced, Dolores moved to South Carolina where she raised Angie and worked as a secretary. During her part-time job working at the Belmont drive-in theater ticket booth in Taylors, SC, she met David Ray Yates, who worked in concessions. In 1969, she and David were married at the Greenville Memorial Chapel where her father was a patient at the time.

Dee lived a life of devotion whether to Angie, David Ray, her family or to God. She and David made lasting connections as members of congregations including Cornelia Christian Church, Woodruff Road Christian Church, Choice Hills Baptist Church, and Cornerstone Christian Church.

In 1970, attempting to renew her driver's license, she was unable to pass the eye exam. She thought she must need glasses and went to the eye doctor where she learned she had macular corneal dystrophy with a prognosis of going completely blind. To prepare for this new future, she attended the South Carolina School for the Blind to learn new skills.

In the ensuing 13 years both as a homemaker and stay-at-home mom, her vision continued to slowly decline. After one of her visits to her corneal doctor at Emory, she was informed that she qualified for a cornea transplant, a new procedure that eventually resulted in her vision being restored enough to renew her driver's license again. She took advantage of this freedom to drive her LL Bean Edition Subaru Outback many places, including to provide care for multiple family members in different locations.
In total she had five corneal transplants, but ultimately lost sight in one eye and once again her driving license was revoked. She carefully tended to her remaining eye with limited vision until in May 2019 a fall resulted in total blindness.

In 2004, when David retired from a career as Captain in Parker District and Greenville-Spartanburg Airport Fire Departments, he and "Mama Dee" sold their home to become full time RVers. Over the next 12 years they traveled the country in their 5th-wheel RV living the gypsy life, which they loved. Florida, Texas, Arizona, and Alaska were among their favorite destinations. Several years into their travels Dee was diagnosed with dermatomyositis, which slowly and steadily reduced her mobility.

In 2016, David passed away suddenly, which forced Dee to stop traveling and relocate to Thrive Assisted Living, then Restoration Senior Living, and most recently to Agape Upstate Community Hospice House. The caregiver became the cared for by the talented and compassionate staff at each location, supported by her very close friend Barbie Lawhon. Dee's clever sense of humor, insatiable quest for knowledge and contagious love for life endeared her to many. Her family would like to thank the staff and home health sitters who helped sustain Dee these past seven years.

Dee was predeceased by her parents, Bill and Estelle Boling; husband David Yates; sister Georgie Evelyn Boling Dalferes; brother-in-law George Dalferes; brother-in-law Jon Erwin; and son-in-law Tom Hamill.

Dee is survived by her sister Billie Jean Boling Erwin; daughter Angie King Hamill; nephew Greg (Kim) Dalferes; niece Gail Dalferes (Bailey Condrey); and her dear friend Barbie (Stan) Lawhon.

In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made in her memory to the David Yates Camp Scholarship Fund (1411 Lantana Ln., NW, Knoxville, TN 37912); to the Emory Eye Center ( or call 404-712-4483); or an organization of your choice.

Please consider planting a perennial in a favorite location to remind you of Dolores' bright and eternal spirit.

The Greer Citizen

317 Trade Street Greer, SC 29651

Phone: 1-864-877-2076

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