Yolanda was born on April 1, 1957, to Juan Rivera Ortiz and Celia Torres Rivera. Yolanda was always driven and after graduating from high school, she immediately began to work for the FBI in the fingerprints department. On July 3, 1979, Yolanda married Robert Anthony Smith, who had been a coworker in the FBI fingerprints department. In 1982, Robert enlisted in the U.S. Navy, and Yolanda and their two young daughters joined him as he traveled around the world for the next two decades. During those years, Yolanda became a loss prevention officer for the NEX, transferring to different locations as the family moved around. Once her husband retired from the military, Yolanda became a supply clerk for St. Elizabeth’s Hospital.
Yolanda had a passion for books, coffee, gardening, needle crafts, and pottery. She was often inspired by southwestern designs when she made gifts for family and friends. Yolanda always made sure to sample and enjoy the local coffee with her current book in her purse anywhere she went. Her favorite souvenir or gift was a bag of coffee beans that she could take home and enjoy later.
Yolanda enjoyed living around the world and tackling the challenges each move would bring. She would continue to spend her later years exploring and experiencing new places with her grandson, Marcus, carefully helping teach her grandson the joys and trials of the unknown and adventure.
Yolanda will be missed as we mourn the physical loss of her presence and her laughter and joy. She will always continue to fill our hearts with love and joy through our memories of her.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Robert; her father, Juan; and two brothers.
She is survived by her two daughters and a son-in-law, Monica, Emily, and Adam;
her grandson, Marcus;
her mother, Celia;
14 brothers and sisters;
and scores of cousins, nieces, and nephews.
Memorials may be made to the American Cancer Association, or flowers for the family may be sent to George Renner & Sons Funeral Home, Belleville, IL. Condolences may be expressed to the family online at www.rennerfh.com.
Funeral: A memorial service will be held in Montana at a later date.