Yvonne McCormick died peacefully on the morning of September 10th, two days after her 85th birthday. She was born Ileta Yvonne Gifford, but was always known as Von, Vonnie, Mrs. McCormick, Mom, and Nana.
Yvonne grew up in dusty southeastern Arizona during the Great Depression. She referred to her large family – she was one of nine siblings – as plain hard workers who always managed to make a very little go a long way. She described her parents as loving and generous, and she maintained close lifelong ties with her sisters and brothers. In fact, Yvonne got to hear her sister singing Happy Birthday as she turned 85.
Yvonne was intelligent, and read history voraciously throughout her life. She was the valedictorian of Elfrida High School’s Class of ’54, a volleyball star and, years later, an amateur belly dancer. She had a sharp sense of humor and a profound gratitude for the many blessings in her life.
Yvonne was 19 when she married Raymond. In their 51 years together, they moved from Arizona to New Mexico, traveled North America in their trailer, and presided over an occasionally raucous family. Yvonne worked for 30 years as a middle school secretary, and her kindness and generosity touched generations of Los Alamos kids.
It’s impossible to recount every story, but family lore revolves around a few legendary events: Raymond catching a skunk that turned around and sprayed Yvonne; Raymond’s cat pouncing on Yvonne’s head and ruining her beehive hairdo; and Yvonne’s disastrous spaghetti pie, born of a Depression-era need to waste not.
When Raymond died in 2006, Yvonne described that time as one of profound loss, but also one of comfort – her family, friends, and Church community rallied to support her. Over the years, she became a regular fixture playing dominoes and exercising at Curves. She kept wearing her wedding ring, and stories of her adventures with Raymond were always her favorite ones to tell.
As her health declined over the last few months, her daughter Kathy and daughter-in-law Linda worked tirelessly to keep her comfortable. Yvonne was adamant about not going to the hospital - many of you will recognize the stubborn streak. She won that battle, and took her last breaths at home on a sunny Friday morning.
As the family reached out to notify people in the hours afterwards, the devastation and love from those who knew her was palpable. We’ll never know how many lives she touched in 85 years, or how many lovely stories are living in peoples’ hearts.
Yvonne is survived by her sister Anne; her kids Kathy, Mike, and Don; five grandchildren; three great-grandchildren; and countless friends.
The services will be held on Friday, September 24th at 1 p.m. at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in Bernalillo, N.M.
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