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In loving memory of Kathleen Yonce


Oak Island, North Carolina


Dr. Kathleen Gayle Yonce, 73, passed away unexpectedly of natural causes on March 4, 2024. Born in Corvallis, Oregon, Kathleen grew up in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. She remained a devoted and fervent Tar Heel from an early age. Kathleen attended Brown University before completing her BA in Mathematics at UNC-Chapel Hill. She went on to receive both an MEd and PhD in Special Education from the university.


Before earning her advanced degrees, Kathleen taught math to middle and high school students in the Orange County schools. Committed to children’s early learning, she worked at UNC’s Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute, including studies of North Carolina’s Smart Start Program, and continued volunteering with the Smart Start Program in Brunswick County until her passing.


Kathleen was passionate about justice and was an active Democrat; she served as Chair of BCDW Education Committee and Vice Chair OKI Precinct 2. She spent countless hours educating citizens and getting out the vote. She displayed the sign (photo below) "You Cannot Say All Lives Matter Until Black Lives Matter," on the front porch of her home.


She loved the beach and moved from Chapel Hill to Oak Island 7 years ago. 


Her other volunteer work included working with PORCH NC, coordinating regular neighborhood food drives for hunger relief in Brunswick County. Kathleen was an intuitive person who was a beloved nurturer of people and animals. 


She was dedicated to her son and to her many good friends. Smart, deeply caring, funny, and thoughtful, Kathleen will be missed by all who knew her.



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