Ethel T. Yokes, 86
May 25, 1930 — Aug. 7, 2016

Ethel T. YokesEthel T. “Neomi” Yokes (nee Owen) of Grafton went home to her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ on Aug. 7, 2016, at the age of 86. Ethel, born May 25, 1930, in Shawano was the 15th of 17 children of Elmer and Lela (nee Meverden) Owen. Times were not easy for a family of that size during the Depression years, so her nine older brothers, five older sisters and two younger sisters learned the value of hard work and cooperation at an early age.

Ethel moved to the Chicago area when she was in her teens and met her future husband, Ronald, whom she married on April 23, 1949.

They had seven children, and she was a devoted wife and mother dedicated to creating a meaningful home life for the family while supporting her husband’s career in broadcast technology, which often meant relocating every few years.

Their moves took them from Grafton to Iowa, California, Illinois, back to California, New Jersey and finally back to Grafton, where they lived since 1976.

She was the “glue” that held their family together, often as a semi-“single” parent because her husband’s work involved so much travel.

Through the years, Ethel earned a certificate in business, and kept the family books. She also enjoyed crafting, playing cards with family and friends, antiquing, crocheting and there was often a jigsaw puzzle on her table that was fair game for kids and later grandkids. She volunteered as a Girl Scout leader and Boy Scout den mother and, in her later years, she and her husband were volunteers for “Meals on Wheels” and were strong advocates for Portal, inc. She was a member of St. Joseph Catholic Parish in Grafton.

Ethel was a gracious and caring woman who had a special gift for remembering people’s names no matter when in her lifetime she met them. It was not unlike her to send family or friends a card, often homemade, with birthday wishes or just to encourage and uplift them.

In her later years, Ethel began writing a book about childhood as one of 17 children, and her own family, caring for her husband and seven children. Her story also included her perspective on the evolving social status of special needs children as it documents the parent’s advocacy efforts on behalf of a daughter with Down’s syndrome.

In 2009, she was so pleased when her daughter and son-in-law presented her with copies of her book, “Across the Miles,” to share with family and friends.

Ethel is survived by her husband of 67 years, Ronald, and children, Joanne Elliot, Randall (Diane) Yokes, Diane (Scott Ihlenfeld), Valerie (Craig) Colburn, Mary (Jeffrey) Pierce, James Yokes and Sara Yokes. She was grandmother of Steve (Terri) Mackey, Marques (Erica) Mackey, Tim (Beth) Yokes, Dan (Kristina) Yokes, Marie (Eric) Miller, Leah (Dave) Stauber, Ava (Danny) Holdmann, Amanda (Aaron) Casper, Avery Pierce, Hayden Pierce and Garrett Yokes. Ethel is further survived by her sister, Mildred Antos, and 10 great-grandchildren: Malia and Madison Mackey, Sidney Mackey, Ana and Emma Yokes, Jocelyn and Adeline Yokes, Nora and Declan Miller and Ella Holdmann and many nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her nine brothers: Lester, Delbert, Roger, Harland, Aloysius, Russell, Wilfred, Cread and Milton Owen and her six sisters, Evelyn Heinrich, Veronica Kasper-Lewis, Susan Bero, Catherine Dalum, Harriet Dillon and Mary Rizzo.

Mass of Christian Burial will be held Friday, Aug. 12, 2016, at 11 a.m. at St. Joseph Catholic Parish, 1619 Washington St., Grafton, WI.

Interment at St. Joseph Cemetery will take place immediately after the Mass.

Guests are invited to stay for a luncheon following the Mass to visit and reminisce with the family. Visitation will be held at the church on Friday, from 9:30 a.m. to 10:45 a.m. Memorials to Columbia St. Mary’s Ozaukee Campus or Portal Industries of Grafton are appreciated. Please visit to send online condolences to the Yokes family.