Wilma Joan Yakopatz was born July 31, 1934, in Kuna, Idaho, where she was raised as a hard-working farm girl. She passed away surrounded by her loved ones on the evening of June 8, 2017, in the St. George, Utah hospital.
She is survived by her brother, John Nelson Davis; and sisters, Jean Jacqueline McClure and Margaret Elizabeth “Peggy” Kesgard. She left one living daughter, Kathy Ann Hummel; and two step-daughters, Rose “Moon” Letchworth and Carrie “Sheena” Yakopatz; also numerous beloved grandchildren and great-grandchildren who were very close to her.
She was met in heaven with joy by those who proceeded her in death including her parents, John Franklin and Lena Ellen Davis; her husband, Vincent Yakopatz; her brother, Carl Eugene Davis; sister, Bethel Joyce Sharp; three of her children, Neil Kenneth Sanders Jr., John Albert Sanders and Mary Clements; and her great-granddaughter Taeva Hawkins.
She was married at a young age to the father of her children, Neil Sanders Sr. and then later to Vince Yakopatz, whom she enjoyed 38 years of marriage with until his death in 2009. They were a founding Page family and settled in April 1958. She loved her desert town and the people there.
Although her first attempt at biscuits could be stretched across the table, Grandma became the most amazing cook any of us will ever know. Nothing has ever or will ever compare to her meatloaf, pot roast, macaroni and cheese, fried eggs sandwiches or cookies, just to name a few of our favorites. There was no chance you could leave Grandma’s house hungry.
Grandma’s garden was well known in town as one of the most beautiful. She had a green thumb and found great joy in watching her flowers and vegetables grow. Nothing tasted as good as one of her tomatoes right off the vine. And nothing is as pretty as her numerous pots of violets lining the shelves in her home.
Joan was an amazing artist and found her favorite medium in ceramics. She created a brand, Ceramics by Yak, and sold pieces as far as China. She had a unique talent in dry brush painting that was second to none and was often asked for lessons on how to paint realistic eyes. She was extremely talented.
She was an incredibly kind and loving person and was a friend to all. The perfect example of endurance, dignity and grace, she taught us all to strive to reach our fullest potential. She gave constant encouragement and love, no matter the situation. She led an inspirational life.
Our hero, our rock, our sun, our joy, our best friend, our Mom, our Grandma, the world is a darker place without you. Until we meet again.
An open house memorial will be held from 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday, June 25, at her home. The family is asking that in lieu of cut flowers, we honor Grandma with potted flowers or plants instead or make a donation in her name to Page Regional Domestic Violence Shelter.