Elton Yancey McGann

September 4, 1924 - November 25, 2018
Elton Yancey McGann

Yancey McGann of Williamsburg died peacefully on Sunday November 25th at Riverside Doctors Hospital at the age of 94 after a brief illness. A mechanical engineer by training, Yancey became the first and only Executive Director at the Yorktown Naval Weapons Station, and received numerous U.S. Presidential service awards, Department of Defense commendations and U.S. patents for his work in underwater sound signals and explosives. An Army veteran who served in both the WWII and Korean conflicts, Yancey was born in Avon, Nelson County, Virginia in 1924. He graduated from Virginia Tech after completing an apprenticeship at the Newport News Shipyard, and worked as a design engineer for the N&W Railroad for ten years before moving to Williamsburg in 1962. Yancey was a member of Williamsburg Baptist Church for almost 60 years, and active in numerous civic organizations including Williamsburg Rotary Club and Middle Plantation Club.
“I shake men’s hands, but I hug women!” Yancey was known for his ever present smile, and soft, friendly affability. He was preceded in death by his wife of 63 years Dorothy, and is survived by his sons Brad (Barbara Moyce) and Brian (fiancé Tracey), grandchildren John (Crystal), Samantha (Patrick), Matthew (Michelle), and great grandson Jack. A memorial service celebrating his life will be held at the Williamsburg Baptist Church on Saturday December 1st at 2:00 pm. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be sent to Hospice House of Williamsburg (http://williamsburghospice.org/).


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  • November 27, 2018
    Susan Streitz says:
    John and I are thinking of you. We are so glad we got to meet Yancey at Thanksgiving a year ago.

  • November 28, 2018
    Jim and Fran Whitney says:
    We met Yancey at Williamsburg Baptist Church. It was always a pleasure seeing him come in to the Lounge on Sunday mornings with a big smile on his face. His sunny presence will be missed.

  • December 01, 2018
    Kindall H. says:
    I’m so very sorry for your loss. Thinking of you during this difficult time. He was a very sweet man.

  • December 02, 2018
    Gregory Schoch says:
    Brad and Brian, I am so sorry to hear of your Father's passing. I just found out today or I would have attended his memorial service yesterday. I was hired at the Naval Weapons Station in 1990. I had the pleasure of working with Yancey for over 20 years. I shared an office with him for over 10 years when he came back to work as a contractor. I have very fond memories of the talks we would have. He would talk about everything from his childhood in downtown Newport News, his experiences during World War II, his morning walks with his walking companions, and of course his family. When I went to NWS Yorktown for my job interview, fresh out of school in 1990, the man that would eventually hire me, said "Let's go meet the Department Head". Needless to say I was terrified. Yancey was my Department Head at the time and less than five minutes into the visit to his office, I felt completely relaxed, like I was talking to an equal instead of my future Department Head. That's the kind of person Yancey was, no matter what position he held, from Department Head to Executive Director, he was just a truly kind and down to earth person. After our organization's move to MD in 2011, my contact with him was limited to periodic phone conversations, which would always begin with me saying "Hello Mr. McGann" with his immediate reply of "Hello Mr. Schoch". I am truly sorry to have missed his memorial service, I would have loved to share some stories with his family and friends. Even though we only talked every few months the last seven years, I will miss him. He truly was a great man and a good friend.

  • December 04, 2018
    Steve Montgomery says:
    Yancy was one of the greatest generation is so many ways. I was privileged to know Yancy through Rotary and always held him in high esteem. We are a better world for his presence.