Janice Lyon Yates

Jan Yates, 90, passed away on Monday, August 8, as a result of congenital heart failure. Both of her daughters were with her. The memorial service will be at the Epple Chapel at Lenoir Community Center, Columbia, Missouri on Saturday, August 20, at 4:00 PM.

Jan was born in Lawrence, Kansas on September 21, 1925. In 1947, she graduated from the University of Missouri and married J. W. (“Dub”) Yates. They had two daughters, Nancy Knipping of Columbia, Missouri, and Ann Mertz of Buena Vista, Colorado.

Her career began as a kindergarten teacher at Robert E. Lee Elementary School in Columbia. After her children were in elementary school, she earned a master’s degree from the University of Kansas and became a special reading teacher. In 1964, she became an academic advisor at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, Illinois.

In addition to her daughters, she is survived by four grandchildren, Jonathan Knipping; Kevin, Emily and Andrew Mertz; and three great grandchildren, Jasmyn Knipping; Spencer and Samantha Mertz. She and Dub moved to Columbia in 2007.

Online condolences can be left for the family at www.heartlandcremation.com. In lieu of flowers, the family would appreciate donations in her name to the Child Fund International, www.ChildFund.org, or the Breast Cancer Aid & Research Institute, <www.breastcancerinstitute.org>.


  1. Melissa on August 13, 2016 at 11:01 pm

    I am so sorry for your loss. Your mother seemed like she had such a full life and her love for you was obvious and lovely. I hope you have some peace knowing what a wonderful daughter you were to her. You are such a wonderful, kind, loving person and I’m sure your parents were so very proud of you.

  2. Susan Phillips on August 15, 2016 at 8:56 pm

    I am shocked and saddened to read this news. I got the privilege to meet Jan when I taught a Mah Jongg class at Lenior Woods. Such a wonderful wit. She was obviously a get-things-done sort of lady. I remember teaching the Charleston (a pass done in Mah Jongg) when someone asked why it was named that. I said I did not know. Once I taught them the pass, Jan jumped up and danced out the steps to the Charleston showing us that the sequence of the pass, was the same as the dance. Now, I tell all my classes about Jan showing us where the name originated! I am so grateful I got to know her. She enriched my life. She will be missed by all her Mah Jongg buddies, bridge pals and of course her family. I am indeed sorry for this terrible loss.

  3. Beverly and Bob Hallesy on August 19, 2016 at 1:37 pm

    Dear Nancy, Ann and Grandchildren,

    We are beyond sorry for the loss of your incredible mother…and our precious friend. It breaks our heart to see the beautiful photo of her…wearing her favorite colors. Please know how very much we care. Bob was released from the hospital Wed. night…pneumonia, otherwise we would be there. Love, Bob and Bev Hallesy

    Bob was just released from the hospital Thursday night, otherwise we would be there for her service.

  4. Karen Renzaglia on August 24, 2016 at 3:23 pm

    I have many memories of beautiful Jan Yates. She was like a second mom to me. Her depth and spirit of heart were unsurpassed. I can hear her warm laughter and see her smile, even without the photo. The world was a brighter, more positive place because she was part of it. I am thankful that she graced my life. I will miss her dearly, but she will remain in my heart forever.

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