Steven Emil Yunghans, 46, of Fredonia, died unexpectedly Friday (Oct. 16, 2020) at Brooks Memorial Hospital in Dunkirk, from congenital heart disease.
He was born on Oct. 22, 1973, in Lafayette, Ind., the son of Dr. Wayne Yunghans of Fredonia and Penelope (Dietter) Yunghans of Shinglehouse, Pa.
A 1992 Fredonia High School graduate, Steven studied fine arts and photography at the Cleveland Institute of Art.
Multi-talented and versatile, he pursued a variety of career paths. First and foremost an artist, he was employed at the OBSERVER as a photographer and staff writer from 2000-07. He also had worked as both a paid EMT for Al-Star Ambulance Service as well as a volunteer with the Fredonia Fire Department. Most recently, he had been employed as a toll collector for the New York State Thruway Authority.
Steven served as a firefighter and EMT for the J.S. Lambert Hook and Ladder Company of the Fredonia Fire Department for 15 years (2005-20), which he considered a true labor of love for his community.
Steven fulfilled many leadership and administrative roles during this time including captain, 1st Lieutenant, 2nd Lieutenant, 3rd Lieutenant, company secretary, and the department photographer. He received the following awards for his service and dedication: The John A. McCraith EMS Award in 2010, The Fredonia Fire Department Top EMS Responder in 2010, and The Firefighter (“Hook”) of the Year Award in 2018 (for his diligence as a responder).
Active in the community, Steven ran for trustee in the Village of Fredonia in 2017. He began volunteering for Fredonia Public Access in 1990. In addition to duties as a cameraman, Steven later served as the public access coordinator from 1994-2003. He was also a member of the Cable Television Advisory Board in Fredonia from 1994-2002.
Steven undertook coaching recreational youth soccer for the Northern Chautauqua Soccer Association in 2007. In 2008, he became an NCSA executive board member and served as the organization’s photo coordinator, safety coordinator, and various age-defined division coordinator. Steven fulfilled all these roles while continuing to coach from 2008-17. He also was a referee for the U.S. Soccer Federation in Western New York from 2012-18.
Steven spent much of his career in public service. He acted as such a powerful force for good and the betterment of humankind. Steven was a man of compassion and love. He shall live on by that legacy.
An accomplished musician (cello and bass guitar), Steven loved to create art, photograph life’s fleeting moments, engage in discussions, make people laugh, and cook, especially Indian and Thai food.
On Sept. 14, 2003, Steven married the love of his life, Erica Elizabeth Losonczy, in Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church in Dunkirk. A devoted and loving husband and father, family was most important to him.
Besides his parents and wife, he is survived by a daughter, Emma Rose Yunghans of Fredonia; a stepson, Patrick Yunghans of Fredonia; a brother, Daniel (Jennifer) Yunghans of Cortland; a niece, Leigha Yunghans and a nephew, Grayden Yunghans, both of Cortland.
A funeral service will be held on Sunday, Nov. 8, 2020, at 1 p.m. at Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church in Dunkirk. Due to current Covid-19 restrictions, the service will be private. However, those who wish to view the service may go to www. fredoniacableaccess.com. This link will be removed upon the end of the service. A celebration of life will be held at a later date.
Donations in Steven’s name may be made to the Fredonia Fire Department, 80 W. Main St., Fredonia, NY 14063 or to Dream From The Heart Camp, Pediatric Cardiology Associates, 936 Delaware Ave., Suite 100, Buffalo, NY 14209.
Arrangements are by the McGraw-Kowal Funeral Home.