In Memoriam


Andrew Flury, Staff

Sharon Yanasak, a Meeker Elementary teacher for over 20 years, passed away Oct. 22 after a five-year battle with cancer. She was 63. Yanasak is survived by two sons and a daughter: Curtis Yanasak, Chris Yanasak and Ericka Bairle-Meacham.

“She treated everyone with love and respect, as if they were the only person who mattered,” Bairle-Meacham said. “She was driven by a dedication to friends and neighbors and hundreds of kids considered her a ‘second mom’.”

Bairle-Meacham, a teacher at Shaw Road, considers her mother a true inspiration.

“My mom was an inspiration to everyone she met, me included,” Bairle-Meacham said. “She lived a wholesome life, selflessly giving to others: a true model of caring. The three of us kids were her world…and when she went into teaching, her students became her world.”

Yanasak’s friends emphasize how loving and loyal she was. Meeker teachers Mary Ann Loucks and Sue Field knew her for over 20 years and both taught Yanasak’s children.

“She always had energy and smiles,” Loucks said. “When I was going through hard times she would give me little verses from the Bible to help me through the day. I would keep them in my pocket and we would trade them back and forth.”

Yanasak stepped in as a substitute for Field, who recounts the faith she had in her friend.

“Sharon was so dependable. When she was in charge, you just knew she would take care of everything,” Field said. “She did things because they were the right thing to do.”

According to Field, Yanasak was also an adventurous soul: she was a certified scuba diver and an avid skier.

“She has been all over the place,” Field said. “She [traveled] through Europe, just her and her kids.”

Patrick McGregor was the principal of Meeker Elementary during Yanasak’s last three years teaching.

“The biggest thing was her connection to kids, an ability to connect and find the thing that motivated them,” McGregor said. “And she would do whatever it took, if it was outside [of class], inside–it did not matter.”

Even after Yanasak retired, she returned as a volunteer at Meeker and her decorations in the school’s front hall can be seen today.

“The culture here is family and she embodied that, especially when times got tough,” McGregor said. “I thank her for her dedication to each child and all children. That is what her legacy is.”