Former Salida resident Josephine “Jo” Marie Goodnough Yakich, 95, of Westminster died in her sleep Nov. 2, 2022, at her home.
She was born Oct. 6, 1927, in Bennington, Kansas, to Edward and Frances Goodnough.
She attended high school in Hays, Kansas, and graduated in 1945 with a music scholarship to Fort Hays State University.
She earned a college degree, majoring in music, from Fort Hays State University in 1949.
Shortly after graduation, she moved to Denver, where she worked as a receptionist at the University of Denver.
During her early years in Denver, she was the first oboist in the Denver Community Symphony (later the Denver Philharmonic), conducted by Dr. Antonia Brico, the first woman to conduct the New York Philharmonic.
She met Eli Yakich Jr. at the boardinghouse where they both lived, and they married on Christmas Eve in 1950.
They settled in Aurora, and Mrs. Yakich became an organist at St. Therese Church. For the next 40-plus years, she accompanied Sunday Mass and the choir, as well as funerals and weddings for parishioners.
During those years, she taught piano out of her home and was a substitute teacher while raising her four children. She continued to teach and give piano lessons for the next 15 years.
After she left the school system, Mrs. Yakich worked full time at a bank for a couple of years before joining the Aurora Municipal Court as a court reporter. She worked for the court for 13 years before retiring.
Mr. and Mrs. Yakich retired to Salida, and she became an organist and choir member of St. Joseph Catholic Church.
Though music was her passion, she was also an exercise enthusiast until she was 93, and she enjoyed tennis, bicycling, volleyball and softball.
Friends and family described her as sweet, genuine and kind. They said she affected many lives in her 95 years, but none more so than her loving family, who will miss her always and love her forever.
Mrs. Yakich was preceded in death by her husband of 66 years; sisters, Frances Rankin and Eldora Verberg; and brother, William McKinley.
Survivors include her children, Debra Yakich Montgomery of Parker, David (Carrie) Yakich of Arvada, Diane Yakich (Rudy) Simondi of Golden Valley, Minnesota, and Danell Yakich of St. Louis Park, Minnesota; granddaughters, Sarah Yakich of Westminster and Ali Yakich of Denver; niece, Lynn Kelly of Santa Fe, New Mexico; and nephew, Dennis McKinley of Buena Vista.
Remembrance Mass and reception will be at 11:30 a.m. Dec. 22, 2022, at Mount Olivet Cemetery in Wheat Ridge. The service will be live streamed on the Mount Olivet Cemetery website. A recording of the service will be available approximately 30 days after the service.