Buncombe County Taxpayers Lose Advocate - TribPapers

Buncombe County Taxpayers Lose Advocate

Don Yelton. Photo submitted.

Weaverville – Buncombe County taxpayers lost an advocate last week when Don Yelton passed away. As a reporter, I have known Don since the 1990s, when I got into the newspaper business.

He was also trying to uncover and expose government graft by Buncombe County’s officials. One of the loudest he yelled about was former. County Manager Wanda Greene. She was “convicted on two counts of federal program fraud, one count of making and subscribing a federal tax return, and one count of receipt of kickbacks and bribes. She was sentenced to seven years,” according to the Citizens-Times.

According to his obituary, “James Donald Yelton (Don), a resident of Weaverville, passed away at his home on Wednesday, July 26, 2023. After multiple hospitalizations in 2023, Don was able to spend his last week at home enjoying time with his wife, Deborah, friends, and his beloved “fur baby,” Molly, and Molly’s best friend, Bella. The number of friends Don leaves behind is innumerable.

“Don was born in Asheville, the youngest son of Wilma Duck Yelton and William Clarence Yelton. He is survived by his wife of 53 years, Deborah Metcalf Yelton; sister-in-law, Margie Yelton; brother-in-law, Rodney Metcalf, and wife Marcia; two nieces, two nephews, five great-nephews, and two great-nieces; and multiple cousins in both the Yelton and Duck families. Don is predeceased by his parents and brother, William Dwight Yelton.

“Don graduated from UNC-Asheville in 1970 with a double major in Biology and Psychology. He earned a Master’s degree in Biology from East Tennessee State in 1972 and a Master’s degree in Environmental Systems Engineering from Clemson University in 1976. He was a member of the honor society, Phi Kappa Phi. Over the years, his employment in the tapestry was a colorful one – ranging from Water Quality Management sales and teaching in college. He was nothing if not diverse.

Don even had the distinction of being roasted on Comedy Central’s Daily Show, who tried to make him look like a racist, but if you knew Don, you saw past their lies and knew that a black organization had him as a board member and that he was not a racist.

“Don was a man of principle and conviction who never backed down from what he believed. He was a man of strong faith, which was never in doubt. He was a member of Newbridge Baptist Church for many years.
True to Don Yelton’s form, he did not want a traditional funeral with ‘weeping, wailing, and gnashing of teeth.’ To honor his request, a Celebration of Life will be honoring Don Yelton at 11 am, Saturday August 26th. The service will be held in the Beth Anderson Center of Newbridge Baptist Church, 199 Elwood Avenue, Asheville, NC. 28804
I had heard he had recently gotten out of the hospital and hoped he was on the road back to recovery, but the next day I learned of his death. He ran for county commissioner in the last election. Buncombe taxpayers lost a real fighter in Don and he will be missed.