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Honoring a great man
new re yowell
Mark Cassell, classmate and lifelong friend of Skip Yowell, gives a speech on Thursday at the Kansas Wetlands Education Center in honor of his friend.

Friends and family came out to the Kansas Wetlands Education Center on Thursday to honor A Great Bend native, pioneer, and friend to so many people around the world.
A celebration of life was held for Skip Yowell, who passed away in October.
He was a native of Great Bend, Great Bend High School Hall of Fame member and friend to the city of Great Bend.
“Skip was a great friend to his hometown of Great Bend, speaking at the Chamber’s Annual Banquet in 2008 and visiting frequently to speak to local students,” Great Bend Chamber of Commerce &
Economic Development Jan Peters said. “We would like to extend our sincerest condolences to Skip’s family, and recognize one last time the many contributions this Great Bend native made to our community and the world.”
The celebration began with friends and family mingling and remembering who this man was and all that he accomplished in his life.
“Skip was very adventurous, laid back and never said a bad thing about anyone,” Yowell’s sister Diana Crouch said. “He loved the world and the world loved him.”
When Yowell would visit Great Bend, he would always make an appearance at Park Elementary School to visit with the students and the staff.
“Every time he came to the school he would always challenge the kids and bring back packs with him to give out to the children,” Principal of Park Elementary School Phil Heeke said.
There were around 75 people in attendance for the celebration of life.
Yowell, a resident of St. Peter, Kan., was a 1964 GBHS grad. In 1967 he co-founded JanSport with his cousin, Murray Pletz, and Murray’s wife, Jan. He also had a passion for mountain climbing. He later wrote about his life and the company in the 2007 book, “The Hippie Guide to Climbing the Corporate Ladder & Other Mountains.”
Yowell was involved with JanSport’s many product innovations, including the first dome tent, the waist suspension flexible frame pack, travel packs and panel-load packs.