OBITUARY

Edith D Yerke

June 23, 1921July 9, 2018

Our mother told us recently, “I’ve had a long life, and a good life.” And so she did, passing away peacefully July 9th 2018 just after her 97th birthday. Edith (“Ede”) was born in Portland on June 23rd, 1921, the eldest of five children to an Oregon railroad man and his bride from Galveston, Texas. Her father was a bridge inspector for Southern Pacific Railroad. As a result, she had a lifelong love of trains and enjoyed many a rail journey, beginning as a child back and forth to Galveston to visit grandparents during the summer.

She graduated from Franklin High School, where she met her future husband Fred, and went on to graduate from St. Helens Hall Junior College. During the war she worked as a switchboard operator at Union Station, typically the graveyard shift. This meant she took the street car from her home at Mt. Tabor then walked alone over the Broadway Bridge at midnight. She and her colleagues were also known as “Hello Girls,” after the famous WWI female switchboard operators. Following WWII, she lived in Cambridge for three years working as a secretary in the physics department, while Fred attended Harvard Law School.

Ede referred to herself a “professional volunteer,” beginning with her years working for Multnomah Association for Retarded Children. During the 60s and 70s, she was a pioneer along with other parents, championing the rights of developmentally disabled children to gain special education. For many years, she was a Camp Fire Girl Leader for developmentally disabled girls including summer day camp and won a national award for her service. She was also a Boy Scout Leader for handicapped boys, until the program became managed by special education professionals. She supported Albertina’s Kitchen by cooking twice a month for 20 years, until retiring at the age of 80.

Ede and Fred lived off NW Skyline Blvd. for nearly 50 years where together they raised three children. She was devoted to Fred, who passed away in 1985, and supported him throughout his entire career as a trial lawyer. Ede was an avid seamstress all her life, sewing and altering clothes, and later finding great pleasure making dozens of colorful patchwork quilts for family and friends. Last year at the age of 96, she made one last quilt with the help of her good friend, Sue.

During her active years, Ede was a good athlete. She bowled weekly in a league for many years, and played a decent game of golf into her 80s, especially at Portland Golf Club and Astoria Golf and Country Club. She loved traveling—with her husband to places like Mexico, Hawaii or just their Surf Pines beach home, and on her own to England, Croatia and Hungary for visits with her daughter, Ann. She was an avid bridge player most of her life. Up until a few years ago, she loved hosting her bridge foursome at Surf Pines where they played from dawn to dusk.

Ede was an ardent sports fan whether it was basketball, football or baseball and enjoyed repeatedly beating her son and grandson at March Madness. She loved spending time with her three grandchildren and would drop everything to do so, for she was a consummate grandmother. By far, her favorite activity was spending time with her family.

Ede is survived by her siblings Norma and Russell (Kathy); children John (Kathryn), Dee and Ann (Graham); her grandchildren Grant (Jilian), Brooke, and Adam (Evangeline); eight great-grandchildren plus two grandchildren and four great-grandchildren in England. We thank Hearthstone of Beaverton for their wonderful care and affection during the last two years of her life.

Please send donations in her memory to Edwards Center Inc.; P.O. Box 6269, Aloha, Oregon 97007-0269; www.edwardscenter.org.

A Memorial Service and Reception will be held at Skyline Memorial Gardens Funeral Home, 4101 NW Skyline Blvd., Portland, Oregon on Monday, July 16, 2018 at 2:00pm.

Edith will be privately laid to rest in Skyline Memorial Gardens in the Garden of Meditation.

Please visit the guestbook portion of this site and enter a special memory or message. Thank you.

Services

  • Public Memorial Service Monday, July 16, 2018
REMEMBERING

Edith D Yerke

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Kim Hadfield

July 21, 2018

Dear Ann and family,
You’ve truly been blessed for 97 years. I first met your mom as I picked up Ann to go back to college in 1975. She was so kind and fun to talk to. My second visit was when I came to stay for the weekend after marriage and the birth of my first daughter in 1984. My daughter was born with Down syndrome and boy did Ede and I have some heartfelt conversation. She was so loving and wise. She was a champion of many people and did great things with her time spent here. I’m dearly sorry for your loss and know that her spirit will live on in the lives she gave so much to.

Nancy Anderson

July 16, 2018

On behalf of Hearthstone, we are deeply grateful to the family for selecting our residential community for Ede's final home. We enjoyed her wit and ability to talk on so many subjects. She will be greatly missed. I personally am honored to be included in the celebration of her life on Monday. With love from her Hearthstone of Beaverton family.

Nancy Anderson

July 16, 2018

On behalf of Hearthstone, we are deeply grateful to the family for selecting our residential community for Ede's final home. We enjoyed her wit and ability to talk on so many subjects. She will be greatly missed. I personally am honored to be included in the celebration of her life on Monday. With love from her Hearthstone of Beaverton family.

Carl Nash

July 13, 2018

Jack , I am sorry to hear about your dear kind Mother passing. She was a wonderful person and she had a great long life. She was our Cub Scout Den Mother and what great activities and functions she planned for us . I know she inspired my interest in scouting and she made the transition easy for us into the Boy Scouts with your Dad leading us to our achievement of Eagle Scout. She was a great cook and those sleepover mornings at your house with your mom grilling cottage cheese pancakes , as many as we could eat ( a whole bunch ) I made sure my mom got the recipe from your mom and my kids grew up loving them and my wife and I love em too. Your Mom was the nicest , most kind, lovely person and really fun to be around. She had a wonderful laugh , a laugh that made everyone who heard it feel good,knowing Mrs. Yerke was happy. God bless your family. Our thoughts and prayers are with you in this time. Carl , Nina Nash



FROM THE FAMILY

Biography

Our mother told us recently, “I’ve had a long life, and a good life.” And so she did, passing away peacefully July 9th 2018 just after her 97th birthday. Edith (“Ede”) was born in Portland on June 23rd, 1921, the eldest of five children to an Oregon railroad man and his bride from Galveston, Texas. Her father was a bridge inspector for Southern Pacific Railroad. As a result, she had a lifelong love of trains and enjoyed many a rail journey, beginning as a child back and forth to Galveston to visit grandparents during the summer.

She graduated from Franklin High School, where she met her future husband Fred, and went on to graduate from St. Helens Hall Junior College. During the war she worked as a switchboard operator at Union Station, typically the graveyard shift. This meant she took the street car from her home at Mt. Tabor then walked alone over the Broadway Bridge at midnight. She and her colleagues were also known as “Hello Girls,” after the famous WWI female switchboard operators. Following WWII, she lived in Cambridge for three years working as a secretary in the physics department, while Fred attended Harvard Law School.

Ede referred to herself a “professional volunteer,” beginning with her years working for Multnomah Association for Retarded Children. During the 60s and 70s, she was a pioneer along with other parents, championing the rights of developmentally disabled children to gain special education. For many years, she was a Camp Fire Girl Leader for developmentally disabled girls including summer day camp and won a national award for her service. She was also a Boy Scout Leader for handicapped boys, until the program became managed by special education professionals. She supported Albertina’s Kitchen by cooking twice a month for 20 years, until retiring at the age of 80.

Ede and Fred lived off NW Skyline Blvd. for nearly 50 years where together they raised three children. She was devoted to Fred, who passed away in 1985, and supported him throughout his entire career as a trial lawyer. Ede was an avid seamstress all her life, sewing and altering clothes, and later finding great pleasure making dozens of colorful patchwork quilts for family and friends. Last year at the age of 96, she made one last quilt with the help of her good friend, Sue.

During her active years, Ede was a good athlete. She bowled weekly in a league for many years, and played a decent game of golf into her 80s, especially at Portland Golf Club and Astoria Golf and Country Club. She loved traveling—with her husband to places like Mexico, Hawaii or just their Surf Pines beach home, and on her own to England, Croatia and Hungary for visits with her daughter, Ann. She was an avid bridge player most of her life. Up until a few years ago, she loved hosting her bridge foursome at Surf Pines where they played from dawn to dusk.

Ede was an ardent sports fan whether it was basketball, football or baseball and enjoyed repeatedly beating her son and grandson at March Madness. She loved spending time with her three grandchildren and would drop everything to do so, for she was a consummate grandmother. By far, her favorite activity was spending time with her family.

Ede is survived by her siblings Norma and Russell (Kathy); children John (Kathryn), Dee and Ann (Graham); her grandchildren Grant (Jilian), Brooke, and Adam (Evangeline); eight great-grandchildren plus two grandchildren and four great-grandchildren in England. We thank Hearthstone of Beaverton for their wonderful care and affection during the last two years of her life.

Please send donations in her memory to Edwards Center Inc.; P.O. Box 6269, Aloha, Oregon 97007-0269; www.edwardscenter.org.

A Memorial Service and Reception will be held at Skyline Memorial Gardens Funeral Home, 4101 NW Skyline Blvd., Portland, Oregon on Monday, July 16, 2018 at 2:00pm.

Edith will be privately laid to rest in Skyline Memorial Gardens in the Garden of Meditation.

Please visit the guestbook portion of this site and enter a special memory or message. Thank you.