Feb. 27, 1954 - Sept. 23, 2012
David J. Yanko, of Williamsville, a pioneer in developing renewable energy and the founder and president of HVR Advanced Power Components, died Sunday in Topsail Beach, N.C. He was 58.
Mr. Yanko founded the company, which makes ceramic carbon resistors, as a University at Buffalo incubator project in 1993. It was recognized as one of Inc. magazine's 5,000 fastest-growing companies for the past three years.
Born in Cleveland, he was a systems designer for Electric Vehicle Associates in Cleveland in the 1970s and founder and president of Tristar General Inc. in Cleveland. He moved to the Buffalo area in 1986.
A graduate of the UB School of Management Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership, he was a participant in Renaissance Weekend in Charleston, S.C. He served as a mentor to other entrepreneurs and helped promote business opportunities for veterans.
An avid outdoorsman and sailor, he was one class shy of his captain's expeditionary sailing license. He kept a Grampian Classic 31 sailboat, the Mary Eileen, at Erie Basin Marina. He was a voracious reader and a musician, playing guitar and steel drums. He also was active in St. Joseph-University Catholic Church.
Surviving are his wife of 36 years, the former Janet Zielinski; three sons, Pete, David and Mitterand Ilunga; a daughter, Catherine "Carye"; and a sister, Nancy Weihrouch.
A memorial Mass will be celebrated at 10 a.m. today in St. Joseph-University Church, 3269 Main St.