- The Washington Times - Monday, May 7, 2007

Students and faculty at Grace Brethren Christian School in Clinton remember Arnold Lee Yowell as a popular teacher affectionately known as “Mr. Science.”

Yesterday morning, they gathered for a chapel service to honor the science department chairman who died Saturday when the ultralight airplane he was piloting crashed nose-first into a field in Pennsylvania.

“It’s safe to say, he really had an influence over hundreds of people over the years,” said George Hornickel, director of Grace Brethren, a school whose motto is “The whole Bible and nothing but the Bible.” “He leaves some very big shoes to try to fill for next year.”

On Sunday night, 150 students, faculty, alumni and Mr. Yowell’s wife, Vicki, took part in a candlelight vigil, and yesterday more than 400 people attended the chapel service where they spoke of the dry sense of humor of the man who had spent nine years at the school.

“We’ve been reminiscing,” Mr. Hornickel said.

Meanwhile, the school made sure there were counselors available for grieving students.

“He was quite a guy who really pushed the students here,” Mr. Hornickel said. “He didn’t like it when they did something half way.”

Two years ago, students in his applied science class built two airplanes — one bi-wing and one single-wing.

“He was a hands-on science guy,” Mr. Hornickel said. He was also “a very godly man. He had a big heart, and he especially liked to reach out to fatherless kids.”

Mr. Yowell, 54, who had served in the military, earned the “Mr. Science” tag for the periodic visits he paid to the elementary school, teaching the youngsters there how science applied to their everyday lives.

“He wanted [science] to be part of life,” Mr. Hornickel said. “He didn’t want it to be a theory.”

Mr. Yowell, a father of five who had been married for 35 years, was a licensed pilot who had flown since he was a child.

He also was qualified by the Coast Guard to captain ships of up to 50 tons.

Mrs. Yowell told the York Dispatch that her husband had put together ultralights himself, but that the plane he was piloting Saturday — an unregistered Guppy aircraft — was already assembled when he purchased it.

“He was happy on Saturday morning and had recently taken some training in the tail-dragger type of plane, which this one was, and felt confident that he could fly it,” she told the Dispatch.

Mr. Yowell crashed less than a mile after takeoff from Shoestring Airport in North Hopewell Township.

Cpl. Keith Dyke of the York Area Regional Police said the airport’s owner told police that the pilot had just taken off and it looked like the plane’s engine stalled. Investigators said the plane experienced electrical problems.

Mr. Yowell received an associate’s degree in applied science from the Community College of the Air Force and a bachelor of science degree in technical careers (electronic systems) from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale.

He had been teaching since 1988. His responsibilities with Grace Brethren Christian School included oversight of the applied science program for first through 12th grades.

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