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Phillip Alton Yerby

March 1, 1937 ~ June 1, 2017 (age 80)
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Phillip Alton Yerby, 80, of Meridian, Idaho, died on June 1, 2017, in Meridian, surrounded by friends and family. He was born in Alexandria, Louisiana in a 2-room log cabin with dirt floors on March 1, 1937, the 4th of 9 children born to Margaret Agnes D’Orazio and Phillip Alexander Yerby. He married Gloria Jean Johnson, his highschool sweetheart, in November, 1955, and had five children with her. Phil, as he was known by his friends, learned to hunt and fish in the bayous of Louisiana and was educated in schools run by the Order of the Jesuits. He served four years in the Air Force, stationed in Amarillo, Texas. He moved his family from Louisiana to New York where he worked for many years for Division of Fish & Game of New York State in the Catskill Mountains. He moved his family to Idaho in 1969 where he enrolled in Boise State University as an English and Welding major. Phil was a prolific writer and commonly wrote essays and letters-to-the-editor in whatever community in which he lived. He served two years as the editor-in-chief of the Arbiter, the BSU paper. He loved the Broncos and remained a devout fan for the remainder of his life. He could always be found reading more than one book at a time on topics of history, politics, fiction and the classics.  Phil had a passion for politics and was active in many local and statewide campaigns in Idaho including Ed Williams, John Evans, and Cecil Andrus who he counted among his heroes. Phil was also an active businessman in the area. He owned and operated the Hilltop Café and a local convenience store. He was most known for his gun shop, Yerby’s  Quality Firearms, that he initially opened in downtown Meridian.  Later he moved his gunshop to a shared space with Moon’s Café in downtown Boise. The backdoor of this building, that now opens to Freak Alley, is still painted with “Yerby’s Quality Firearms”. Phil was an avid outdoorsman to the end. He primarily hunted but he also loved to fish. He belonged to Ducks Unlimited, Pheasants Forever and the NRA. Phil hunted all across the country and was especially proud of his two hunts in Alaska. He also experienced two African safaris and successfully brought home many trophies.  Although he was well-traveled he always said Idaho was the best place on earth. Phil is preceded in death by his son, Steve Yerby of Texas. He is survived by his son, Daniel Yerby of Louisiana, daughter, Patricia Martelle of Idaho, sons, Rene Yerby and Ron Yerby of Idaho; siblings, Oliver Yerby of New Mexico, Mike Yerby of Idaho, Rose Borchers of South Carolina, Kathy Bowling of Virginia, and Peggy Holmes of Virginia; his grandchildren, David, Michael, and Aeilla Yerby of Idaho, Adam and Michael Yerby of Louisiana and Valerie Yerby of Texas; and many great grandchildren. Phil had a strong impact on everyone he met. His skill for story-telling was epic among his friends and family. Phil was handsome, friendly, intelligent and knew how to work smart. He approached life with great confidence and was a model for many for living hard and happily. Phil loved the people around him. He was proud to call himself an Idahoan.  He will be missed greatly.


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