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Richard Steven Yaffin

April 28, 1943 ~ December 23, 2021 (age 78)

Obituary

Richard Steven Yaffin, 78, of Asheville, NC passed away peacefully surrounded by his beloved son, sister and nieces on Thursday, December 23, 2021.

Richard, known by many as Rick, was born in St. Petersburg, FL at St. Anthony’s Hospital and attended Woodlawn Elementary School, Mirror Lake Middle School, Northeast High School, University of Florida and after Basic Combat Training in Fort Benning, GA, served in the National Guard of the United States.

Rick’s lifelong passion was dedicated to the buying and selling of fine and estate jewelry, a passion and expertise he honed over his many years as a successful business owner and consultant. Rick loved the people as much as the jewelry in every store he graced and his days were brightened knowing he could impact people positively with his zeal, and experiences.

The Yaffin family history in St. Petersburg, FL began in the early 1940s when Rick’s parents Vivian and David moved to “The Sunshine City” from New York to open Yaffin’s Jewelers and Diamond Brokers and to start a family. In 1973, Rick joined his father’s business that specialized in fine jewelry, and he subsequently took over in 1976. Identifying the need to revitalize downtown St. Pete’s shopping district, Rick was integral in forming a venture between the city and private sector to create Jannus Landing. Serving as co-founder and President of the Jannus Landing Merchants Association this endeavor, which came to fruition at the end of 1982, completely redeveloped an entire block of office buildings and retail. In 1985, Rick established Crossland and Yaffin International Estate Jewelers, expanding the scope of his jewelry business to additional locations in Pinellas County, FL. After 14 years, Rick decided it was time to combine a few of his greatest passions: road-tripping, jewels and meeting new people. He sold the store, bought a recreational vehicle which he used as a home base and traveled to jewelry businesses from Pennsylvania to Texas to California consulting on sales and marketing for the next two and a half years. Always captivated by his surroundings whether it was a new or familiar place, Rick used the free time between work assignments to explore cities around the USA. Rick’s son Joshua recalls the many excursions that they took together through the years from cruising the waters of Tampa Bay and lakes around the country to turning even a short journey into an adventure to driving cross country - there was always something to discover and to point out. His fondest memories were with his then teenage son doling out fatherly advice and wisdom, while exploring the wonder of the Blue Ridge, its towns, winding back roads, and iconic views on their road trip to Washington D.C. in the late 1980s. Joshua was not at all surprised that his Dad eventually settled in Asheville, NC because the area made a big impact on both of them when they visited Mt. Pisgah Inn, and the Biltmore Village along their route.

He opened Estate Jewelry Ltd. in 2005 and proudly built a beautiful, knowledgeable and forthright business. Rick surrounded himself with a staff of like-minded professionals who shared his vision to provide friendly, professional service and the best shopping experience in the Asheville area, so naturally his colleagues became family.  

A lover of fun, adventure and music (particularly as a devoted Dead Head), Rick had a keen eye for detail and a talent for creating effective and impactful advertising and graphic design. He possessed the rare combination of being the consummate salesperson who loved to be around people and could be equally happy solo, in his own company. Strangers, friends and loved ones were drawn to Rick’s unique energy and he will be remembered as a loyal friend, a knowledgeable entrepreneur, a kind man who lived life on his own terms and a cherished family member who loved deeply and unconditionally

Richard is survived by his pride and joy: son Joshua Yaffin, daughter-in-law Nhatle, adored grandsons Jordan and Jacob of Tallahassee, FL; sister Sue Yaffin Froid of St. Petersburg, FL; nieces Candi Obrentz and Dana Obrentz of New York, NY and his special Estate Jewelry Ltd. family in Asheville, NC: Stephen Frommel, Pamela Atkinson, Adam Strauss and Anet Skillin.  He was predeceased by his parents David and Vivian Yaffin of St. Petersburg, FL and many dear friends.

Rick’s family is carrying out his wishes to keep it simple after his passing so if you would like a suggestion on how to honor him: please have fun, enjoy a cocktail, play a Grateful Dead song and live a full life. Should you wish to make a contribution to a charity in Rick’s memory, please see below. Josh Yaffin (forRSY2021@yahoo.com) can be listed for the acknowledgement.

* The Jerry Garcia Foundation: https://bit.ly/JerryGarciaYaffin

* Brother Wolf Animal Rescue: https://secure.qgiv.com/event/donate/donate/

* Loving Food Resource: https://www.lovingfood.org/what-you-can-do/donate/

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