Long-time Member & Supporter Dies


Yvonne Yahnke

MADISON -- Yvonne Yahnke passed from this life into Shakespeare's "undiscovered country" on the afternoon of Dec. 2, 2016. Her devoted daughters-in-law, Mary Jo and Kari, were with her at the end and report Yvonne's passage was blessedly swift and free of pain.

Yvonne was born Oct. 1, 1925, in Minneapolis, Minn., to John and Elma Fallt. The family relocated to Chicago, where Yvonne grew up and attended Steinmetz High. (Among her classmates was one Hugh Hefner.) After graduation, she and her sister, Connie, did their part on the home front during World War II by serving as long-distance operators in Tucson, Ariz., and later San Francisco.

She married Robert F. Yahnke in August 1953 and returned with him to Madison. She was a working mom before it became the norm, first as a switchboard operator for the old Edgewater Hotel and then hiring on with Wisconsin Bell for 26 years. Upon retirement, her talent for poetry truly manifested itself. Fireweed Press published two collections of her verse, and her work saw print in Minnesota and Wisconsin in addition to Madison Magazine. Yvonne was a longtime member of both Madison Area Writers and the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets. She cherished the time spent with her circle of poet and writer friends.

Yvonne was preceded in death by her husband, Robert; sisters, Colleen Damon of Phoenix, Ariz., and Carol Strong of Concord, Calif. She is survived by her sons, Phillip (Kari) and their four children, Corinne, Meghan, Samuel and Collin; Ross (Mary Jo) and their children, Julia (Adam) Friedman and Nicholas, all of whom have been a joy to her. Yvonne lived to see and hold her first great-grandchild, Carter Douglas, born to Julia and Adam in June of this year. She took great pride in her sons and their accomplishments and was ever grateful for her loving daughters-in-law.