Members Remembered

Remembering Dennis Yarnell

Dec 1, 2019 | Members Remembered

A memorial service for beloved community member Dennis Yarnell will take place at 12:30 p.m. Feb. 10 at Lake Wilderness Lodge, 22500 S.E. 248th St., Maple Valley. Yarnell, the owner of the Newcastle Shell station, died after his car crashed into a utility pole on Feb. 2, 2013 authorities said.

The Newcastle Chamber of Commerce, of which Yarnell, 33, was a member, reported that the Newcastle Shell has set up a table inside its shop to receive flowers and cards. The table, located just next to the station’s cash register, is already filled with flowers and piles of letters from a mourning community.

The Newcastle Shell  is collecting donations in Dennis’ honor at its station, 6420 Lake Washington Blvd. S.E. The station will accept cash or checks payable to Newcastle Shell. In May 2012, Yarnell’s giving nature was on full display in a Newcastle News article (below) about the Newcastle Shell Charity Golf Event to benefit the Fisher House Foundation Veterans of America charity organization.

Newcastle Shell owners aim to give back with fundraiser

The Newcastle Shell station only has two stalls. But owner Dennis Yarnell doesn’t view that as a limitation.

To him, it’s an opportunity to provide more one-on-one interaction with his customers.

Dennis Yarnell and Beth Wideseth, the owners of the Newcastle Shell, recently organized the station’s first golf tournament to raise money for U.S. military veterans and the Fisher House Foundation.

In March, Yarnell celebrated the fifth anniversary of him and his wife Beth purchasing the station from its previous owner. Since then, he’s instituted several practices to bring back the feel of a service station of old.

He makes it a point to learn the names of his customers and even offers Free Full Service Fridays, where customers can honk their horn and someone from the station will pump their gas, and check their oil and tire pressure.

After the Newcastle community has given so much to him, Yarnell said he feels it’s time to give something back.

That’s one of the reasons why he and Newcastle Shell employee Joe Woo began organizing the first Newcastle Shell Charity Golf Event to benefit the Fisher House Foundation Veterans of America charity organization.

“It’s really a neighborhood thing here,” Woo said. “About 90 percent of the people that come in here, we know by a first-name basis. That’s just the way Dennis does business.” Yarnell’s father, a Marine who served in Vietnam, committed suicide last year after battling Post Traumatic Stress Disorder for years.  “It was hard on us,” he said. “It was me and him growing up. I think people don’t know how serious PTSD can be. It kind of just gets brushed under the rug.”

The golf tournament will begin at 8 a.m. June 16 at The Golf Club at Newcastle. The deadline for registration is June 1.

Winners can win prizes, including an oil change, Shell gift cards and a summer vehicle maintenance check.

Yarnell said he’s known he wanted to be a mechanic since he was a sophomore in high school.

“Five years ago, the opportunity opened up for me to own my own business,” he said. “That meant a lot to me. We’re trying to grow the shop and that’s really where I feel like I have the most control over what we do and what we become.”

The station, which offers repair and maintenance of foreign and domestic vehicles, offers him a chance to give young mechanics who are still studying at places like the Renton Technical College a start in the business like he got, Yarnell said.

“The small business really is still the heart of America,” he said. “We’re trying to do more things to keep the community involved, like starting a car show and having customer appreciation barbecues, things like that.”