John R. YanoraNovember 12, 1930 ~ September 18, 2017 (age 86)
John Rocco Yanora, aged 86, of Niceville, FL, set sail from the Grey Havens on September 18, 2017. The son of Louis Yanora and Anastasia Syms Yanora, he was born on November 12, in New Waterford, Nova Scotia, Canada, with lungs so loud and strong that his father called him "McCormick" after a popular singer of that time. One of seven children, he was preceded in death by his parents, his brothers Ralph Yanora and Louis Yanora. He is survived by his brother Rocco Yanora, and sisters Mary Louise Byndas, Carmel Kunis, and Rosemary Pilch; by his children Jack (Cindy) Yanora, Mark (Amy) Yanora, Jeffrey (Erika) Yanora, and Kathleen (Ed) Goebel, and by his grandchildren Jeffrey David Yanora, Elizabeth Yanora, Nicholas Yanora, Alexandria Goebel, Ryen Goebel, Amelia Yanora, William Yanora, and great-granddaughter Trynitee Yanora, as well as numerous nieces, nephews, and cousins.
From Cape Breton Island, he moved to Wilkes-Barre, PA at the age of 14 and attended GAR High School where he developed a love of American History, and was inspired to become a teacher. He joined the military in 1948 and served 20 years, during the Korean Conflict and Vietnam War, and was twice awarded the Air Force Commendation Medal before retiring from his last assignment at Eglin Air Force Base in 1968. Fondly reminded of the coastal community of his childhood, he resolved to make northwest Florida his permanent home. The GI Bill enabled him to achieve his dream of higher education, allowing him to pursue and obtain a Master's Degree and teaching certificate. He taught biology at Ruckel Junior High School and Niceville Senior High School "with imagination and daring". Acting as coach and assistant coach of several sports during his teaching career, one of his greatest memories was leading the1988 Ruckel Baseball team to a County Championship.
He was a tireless advocate for veterans and firmly believed that a thriving community can only be built by playing an active role. Liberally investing his time and resources, he was member of several organizations, often serving as an officer in: the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the Knights of Columbus, the American Legion, the Saint Andrews Society, the Celtic Circle, the Sons of Italy, Toastmasters International, and the Notre Dame Club, just to name a few.
But perhaps most importantly, he LOVED life: history and science, songs and poetry, stories and music, laughter and dancing, and people of all shapes, sizes, colors, beliefs, and abilities. He had an innate talent for recognizing the spark of potential in everyone, and the greater gift of inspiring us to discover it within ourselves, and, seeing that possibility of greatness, to reach out and seize it. Unhampered by a fear of making mistakes, he would often quote Scent of a Woman, "If you get all tangled up, just tango on." A beloved father, brother, teacher, colleague and friend, he will be sorely missed and affectionately remembered wherever his stories are told.
We wish to express our most heartfelt thanks for the compassionate care of Emerald Coast Hospice nurses, Brittany and April, and the entire staff of Superior Residences of Niceville, especially Barbara, Jessica, Paul, Jennifer, DeDe, and Kim.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation in his nameto the Alzheimer's Association at http://www.alz.org