Stillwater News Press

May 22, 2013

Jeane Elizabeth Walker Yates


Stillwater NewsPress

— Jeane Elizabeth Walker Yates’ spirit flew home to be with her Lord and Savior on Saturday, May 18, 2013, at the grand age of 87. She lived a full, spiritual, amazing life touching other lives around the globe along the way. Her funeral service will be held at 2 p.m. on Saturday, May 25, 2013, at the University Heights Baptist church in Stillwater. Interment will follow at Fairlawn Cemetery, Stillwater. Strode Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.

Jeane was born May 1, 1926, to Rex Colonel and Chloe Martin Walker in North Wilkesboro, N.C.  She was raised and attended school in Winston-Salem, N. C., and always stayed active in the First Baptist Church choir. She began university studies at Mars Hill College, and transferred to Wake Forest University, in Winston Salem, where she met the one only love of her life, Kyle Monroe Yates Jr. They wed on June 14, 1949, and shared almost 53 devoted years together, celebrating each month-a-versary (every 14th), with fresh flowers and a romantic dinner.  Their true love inspired many. Following graduation from Wake Forest University, the two of them journeyed to Louisville, Ken., where Jeane attended music school, and Kyle Southern Seminary.  In Louisville, 1951, they gave birth to their son, David Monroe Yates, and moved the family to Berkeley, Calif., where they gave birth to their daughter, Peggy Jeane Yates in 1953. In the Bay Area, Jeane taught many positions in public schools, and Kyle taught at Golden Gate Baptist Seminary for 16 years. In 1969, they moved the family to Stillwater, where Kyle accepted a position with Oklahoma State University as the head of the religion department. As a strong-willed, intelligent woman, Jeane continued her graduate studies at OSU with a masters degree and doctorate in education, completing this in 1975.

Jeane taught every grade from kindergarten through seminary over a span of 40 years from Kentucky to California to Oklahoma. Her special zeal and enthusiasm was contagious, whether it was World Cultures, Language Arts, or Sunday School Bible lessons. The way she spoke through her eyes and facial expressions brought learning to life! A few of her honorable positions and accomplishments included student teacher supervisor at OSU, OSU Extension instructor, and director for the UPDATE Teacher Center in Stillwater.  Jeane also devotedly led at her beloved church home in Stillwater, University Heights Baptist Church. Throughout her membership, she had served as the college department director, seminar class teacher, chairman of the deacons, and actively participated with the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship Organization.  For each position, Jeane smiled at challenges because teaching was her sincere passion.  She was an innovator, leader, and example to everyone of how one person's life can make a difference and create change for the good.

Jeane then took a very unique opportunity, in the early 80's, to travel the United States with Midas Rex Bone Drill Company.  She always found positions of education, but in this instance, she taught surgeons on a new bone drilling technology, attending surgeries with them. As exciting and new as this was, she was drawn back to her love of teaching children (and to her love of her husband teaching at OSU!), and took a position teaching sixth-grade World Cultures at Stillwater Middle School.  Throughout her life, she was contacted by former students to express their gratitude, and let her know what an impact she had made on them.

Jeane and Kyle were fortunate to travel extensively throughout the world teaching, learning and experiencing new cultures and traditions. While Kyle was an archaeologist in the 1970s, Jeane trained in the computer recording of discovered artifacts with the American Schools of Oriental Research in Jerusalem, Israel. She accompanied him on summer archaeological digs in Israel to Caesarea Maritima. Jeane had an extraordinary, inquisitive mind that never ceased to desire learning.  

In 1978, Jeane and Kyle both worked on the Semester At Sea campus afloat, going around the world in six months.  Jeane served as the chief of protocol, and Kyle taught humanities classes.  Traveling to 13 ports of call, her responsibilities included reciprocal program introductions, and entertainment of dignitaries of host countries, including the planning of receptions and parties.

Despite her love of traveling and teaching, the joys of sharing time with her family made her the happiest. She loved taking her children and grandchildren on various trips with Kyle to open their horizons.  She was a never ending glow of optimism and energy, and a devout teacher of God’s word. Her inspiration supported many dear friends and family through triumphs and tribulations that life brought along. Jeane was a strong survivor conquering cancer seven different times in her life.  She fought and led for cancer research by becoming the president of the Payne County American Cancer Society, and helped start the first Relay for Life and Daffodils Days in Stillwater.  Her footprint and impact on this earth is immeasurable, and she will be dearly, dearly missed, and never forgotten.  We celebrate her long, blessed life, and are comforted with the assurance that she is skipping and dancing with Kyle and all of her family in Heaven.

Jeane is survived by her son David Monroe Yates and wife, Carolyn; grandson Kyle David Yates; granddaughter Becky Lenington, husband Mark, and their daughter Amy;  granddaughter Angie Marshall, husband Trey, and their son Alex and daughter Breanna; granddaughter Christina Rogers and her daughters Abigail and Michelle all of Oklahoma; daughter Peggy Jeane Williams, and husband Dr. John D. Williams of Stillwater.; granddaughter Jamie Annabelle Williams of Brooklyn, N.Y. ; brother Joe Walker and wife Wanda; nephew Gary Joe (Oogie) Walke, and wife Julie; great-niece Jenny and husband Chris all of North Carolina; great-niece Allison Whitlatch, husband Terry, and their children Walker and Olivia of Charleston, S.C.;  sister-in-law Ellen Tanner; nephew Bill Tanner, Jr. and wife Paula; nephew Keith Tanner, wife Ginger, and children all of Texas; niece Kimberly Canova, and husband Terry, and daughters Scarlette and Sophia of La. ; sister-in-law Jean Wooddy of Hendersonville, Tenn.; niece Margaret Wooddy of  Waco, Texas;  niece Laura Ore and husband John of Pflugerville, Texas; niece Martha Minardi, husband Ray, and son Kyle of Nashville, Tenn.

She was preceded in death by her parents Rex and Chloe Walker of Winston-Salem, N.C.;  Kyle and Margaret Yates, Sr. of Waco, Texas ; brother-in law William Tanner Sr. of Belton, Texas; brother-in-law Robert Wooddy of Hendersonville, Tenn.; and grand-daughter Anastasia Williams of Brooklyn, N.Y.

Memorial contributions can be made in Jeane Yates' name to the Stillwater Medical Center Foundation at P.O. Box 2408, Stillwater, Okla., or the American Cancer Society.

Condolences may be emailed to the family and an online obituary may be viewed by visiting www.strodefh.com.