Owner of Yankee's Tavern remembered for his generosity

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CARLOS, Tex. (KBTX) - Family and friends gathered to say their last goodbyes to Mike Pulkkinen, owner of Yankee's Tavern in Carlos. Pulkkinen died Friday after a long battle with cancer.

Known by the nickname Yankee Mike, he had a love for riding motorcycles and helping others.

"It's going to be hard telling everyone how great of a person he was because there is no way that between me and my brother if you add all of our accomplishments up, we would live up to what my dad was," said Shawn Pulkkinen, Mike's son.

For the last 18 years, the elder Pulkkinen and his wife ran the iconic biker bar, just off FM 244 in Carlos.

"He loved this bar and he loved everybody that came up here and that's why this business has been so successful because of Yankee Mike," said Aly Sanchez, a bartender at Yankee's Tavern.

Pulkkinen loved to ride motorcycles. Its how many of his bar's regulars came to know him.

"That's how a lot of people met him because they went on a ride with him cross country and that's the experience they've had with him," said Shawn.

The life Pulkkinen led has left a lasting impression. Pictures, memorabilia and thank you letters cover the bar's walls.

"He and my mom started MACH with some other people around here which are 'Make A Christmas Happen' which they helped needy kids and families during Christmas time," said Shawn.

Pulkkinen also started Run for Wheels, a motorcycle event in Somerville that raises money for Brazos Valley charities.

"He was just an all-around great guy, helped anyone who came in his path," said Sanchez.

"He helped people anytime they needed and he was a genuine man, I wish we would've had more time you know, he was pretty sick there and we never really had a chance to go on a ride, me and my brother and him," said Shawn.

A celebration of Pulkkinen's life will be held on Saturday, July 21 at Callaway-Jones Funeral Home in Bryan.

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