Friends, family mourn loss

Published 10:41 am Friday, September 19, 2008

Friends remembered a slain Southampton Academy graduate on Thursday as a strong-willed and creative woman with an adventurous spirit.

Amy Elizabeth Partner Yager, 26, was laid to rest next to her mother, Deborah Anne Partner, at Poplar Spring Cemetery in Franklin.

“She was a great role model, a great leader. She was an athlete and loved the outdoors,” Mayor Jim Councill said. “This is a terrible loss.”

Councill officiated over the funeral and is a close family friend.

Yager was shot to death last week, allegedly by her husband, in her Amarillo, Texas, home.

Her husband, Jeff Yager, 26, was arrested and charged with murder Friday morning. He remained in the Randall County Jail Thursday on $250,000 bond.

Councill said family and friends were stunned by the news of Yager’s death, especially since they loved Jeff Yager as their own.

“Nobody knows why,” he said. “It was a shock to everybody. Nobody suspected that there was a chance that anything like this would happen.”

Police found Yager’s body around 4 a.m. Friday in a bedroom of the couple’s home, the Amarillo Globe-News reported Monday. Preliminary autopsy results show Yager received two gunshot wounds — one to the back and one to the head — and was also beaten.

The couple met while both served in the Navy and later married.

Yager graduated from Southampton Academy in 2000 and attended Brigham Young University Hawaii. During her time in Hawaii, she developed a love of the ocean and took up surfing.

She joined the Navy and served for three years as a petty officer pursuing a career as an EOD diver and underwater welder, until a hip injury resulted in her honorable medical discharge. She moved from Hampton to Texas in 2006, attending Amarillo College and transferring to West Texas A&M, majoring in interior design and minoring in business.

Ann Councill Brown was best friends with Yager while the two attended Southampton Academy and the two attended church together.

“She was very determined, very smart and very witty,” Brown said. “She was one of those people who wasn’t afraid to break the mold. I always had a lot of respect for her.

“She was definitely taken away before her time. She was going to accomplish the world.”