Dr. Joanne Friedrich Yinger

Date of Birth

July 7, 1933

Date of Death

December 8, 2018

We lost our beloved Momma, Johanna Yinger, as she rested in a peaceful setting with her family by her side. She is survived by children, Michael Yinger, (Stacy), Peter Yinger, Lydia Yinger, Andrew Yinger (Perri), and Theresa Yinger with grandchildren, Nicholas, Alysha, Asher, Noah, Zach, Jacob and Grace. Most of the extended family had the opportunity to say goodbye to grandma over a Thanksgiving meal prepared by her children, eating some of her favorite foods, including Oysters Rockefeller.

Joanne preferred to by addressed as Johanna in her later years, as she fully embraced a more spiritual guidance and termed the new name a re-birth of the spirit within. She was born to William and Marian Friedrich in Los Angeles, CA on July 7, 1933 and had one sister, Shirley. She moved to Michigan as a pre-teen and eventually met her husband, Winthrop B. Yinger during college in Albion, where she received a Bachelor’s degree in Education and a Master’s degree in Child Psychology. She was a lifetime educator and spent many years at Far West Laboratories in San Francisco, which was the Center for Educational Research and Development, where she traveled the country, writing textbooks and teaching educators and scholars K-3 curricula. She was most proud of this work, although she talked often about her years in the classroom as a kindergarten and first grade teacher and was one of the pioneers of the Early Head Start Program, which was founded in Fresno, CA in 1967.

Johanna was a creative soul and worked her way through college as a floral designer, a skill she used much later when she partnered with a long-time friend to open her own flower shop in Sonoma, CA. She dabbled in pottery, Chinese Tempura painting, and was a voracious reader and writer of poetry. She was a pastor’s wife, having spent more than 50-years of marriage with Winthrop, who was ordained as a Methodist Minister in Hemlock, NY and eventually represented the United Church of Christ, hailing from a multi-generational family of clergy and educators. Part of Winthrop’s ministry at one time included a stint with a large church in Piedmont, CA, which sponsored a church camp in Calaveras County, CA, ensconced in the beautiful Sierra foothills. The Yinger Family spent summers at Lodestar, as the camp was called, and Johanna was what they called the “crafty lady” (a name lovingly given to her by her husband). She spent endless hours with kids of all ages, races and beliefs, creating beauty through art in the form of beads and mosaic, sewing and crochet, sculpture and painting, and anything else she could gather from the forests to create something inspired.

Johanna was courageous in all her undertakings and never knew the word stop. She received her PHd in Early Childhood Development from Cal Berkeley in 1978 with most of her studies and dissertation accomplished with four children at home! Her tireless work to improve herself and see the world through boundless curiosity was evident as she entertained her grandchildren with philosophy, art, and an open mind about all the possibilities in life. She spent her last years at Maravilla Assisted Living in Santa Barbara, a dream location for her, where the gardeners brought clippings for her artwork. She was often featured in expositions and fund raisers around the city and enjoyed concerts, theatre and the gorgeous Pacific coast.

Dr. Joanne E. Yinger will be immeasurably missed by all who knew her and will be honored with a celebration of life on January 27th, 2019 in Santa Barbara, CA. She supported Heifer, Intl., whose mission is to end world hunger and poverty, so if you’d like to send a donation on her behalf, that would also be meaningful.


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