Marla Dawn Yoell
August 12, 1956 – April 3, 2018
Marla Dawn Baker Yoell was born in Calexico, CA on August 12, 1956 to Gettys Albert Baker and Erma Sue Baker. She was an active, gifted and vibrant child growing up in her childhood hometown of El Centro, CA, dancing, singing, playing the piano, as well as participating in the activities at her church, First Baptist El Centro. Marla came to saving faith in Jesus Christ at the young age of 9. Her faith was the foundation for all she believed, how she related to people and how she served at work and at church. Marla was an excellent student, as well as a leader at school. She sang, played and danced in a group called Swing Singers at Central Union High School in El Centro for three years. Friendships were formed in that group that lasted all of her life. She graduated from Central Union in 1974 and continued her education at Azusa Pacific College (now University), studying music education and theory. She was a valuable member of the music community at the college. She performed in musical theatre, chapel, choirs and select groups. It was at APC where she met a shy, developing musician named Steve Yoell and became friends. Upon being placed in the same select summer performing group, the friendship became a romance. Marla graduated from APC with honors in 1978. Steve graduated the next year and they were married on September 29, 1979. Through a series of circumstances, Marla and Steve were able to tour with a Christian music group named Bridge, where they sang 730 concerts in two years at various venues, mostly local churches. Upon coming off “the road” in December of 1982, the Yoells settled in to working and serving in their church. Marla resumed teaching private piano, as well. Marla worked to receive her California teaching credential in early 1990. In May of 1990, the Lord made known His plans for Steve and Marla. They took a position at Garland Avenue Alliance Church, serving the Lord and His people as worship pastor. This began a wild and crazy journey of serving in eight churches in two states over 21 years, with Marla teaching in the public schools and playing, singing and directing at church. She influenced thousands of students at church and school over her career. Marla spent most of her teaching career in the Spokane School district. In the summer of 2017, she was making plans for another year of teaching when she discovered a large mass in her abdomen. It was a Stage 3B ovarian tumor and surgery was performed. Chemotherapy followed, but it had no effect on the cancer. She was taken to the northside Hospice House on Sunday, March 18th and transitioned to her heavenly home peacefully and comfortably on Tuesday, April 3, at 12:15 pm. Marla is survived by her husband of almost 39 years, Steve Yoell; her mother, Erma Sue Baker of Stockton, CA; her brother, Martin (Liz) Baker of Burke, VA; her sister, Julie (Mickey) Horton of Stockton, CA. Her father, Gettys Albert Baker, preceded her in death in 2008. A memorial service to celebrate Marla’s life will be at 2:00pm on Saturday, April 21, 2018 at Shiloh Hills Fellowship, 207 East Lincoln Road in Spokane.
- Memorial Service Saturday, April 21, 2018