Dick was born on June 10, 1933, in Spokane, Washington to Albert and Alpharetta Yonck. Moving several times when he was young, his family eventually settled in Newport, Washington, where Dick attended high school and met Barbara Jean Menear, who would later be his wife.
Dick was an avid athlete who was passionate about sports. In school, he played football, basketball, baseball and ran track, including on several championship teams. In 1954, he entered the Army where he became a medical technician. Serving in Guam, he played for the champion 809th Pioneers baseball team. This led to his being selected to be a catcher for the Far East All-Star team in an exhibition game against the New York Yankees.
Dick married Barbara on March 3, 1956. They both attended Washington State University where Dick received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in physical education and became a lifelong Cougar. In 1960, they moved to Bothell, Washington, where Dick worked for the Northshore School District as a teacher and coach for the next 27 years.
Dick was a keen fisherman and outdoorsman, sharing these pastimes with family and friends. He also loved animals and the many dogs in his life were very important to him. Summers with the family at Priest Lake, Idaho were always a highlight, as were the family’s many trips in a camper around the western U.S. In later years, Dick found a creative outlet in working wood, rock and gemstones into beautiful furniture, cribbage boards and jewelry.
As a teacher and coach, first at Anderson Junior High School and later at Inglemoor High School, Dick taught, guided and mentored thousands of students. Many of these students’ credit Coach Yonck with helping them through difficult times in their lives. Several went on to become educators themselves and many have stayed in touch through the years and remain friends to this day.
In 2016, Dick was inducted into Northshore School District Wall of Honor at Bothell’s Pop Keeney field, adjacent to the Anderson building where he first started his teaching career. The former junior high was recently updated as a McMenamins historic property which even includes a hotel room named the “Dick Yonck” room that includes artwork and depictions from his career as an athlete and inspiration to his students.
While his family is deeply saddened by Dick’s passing, they are proud to celebrate his life and what he meant to so many people. In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts can be made to the Evergreen Health Hospice in Kirkland or PAWS.