Yolanda Bernadette Oakman (Yo-Yo), 92, of Meadville died Monday, Sept. 12, 2016 at her residence at Grace Health Center, Town Square Wesbury United Methodist Home, with family at her side.
She was the daughter of Italian immigrants Dominic and Esther (Marotta) Improta and was born Feb. 12, 1924 in Scranton.
She spent her youth and the rest of her first 21 years living in Jersey City, NJ. She graduated from James J. Ferris High School in 1943, where she had been active in track and basketball.
As a young woman, she worked at R.H. Macy & Co. (the original Macy’s), in New York City. During World War II, she did volunteer work for the American Red Cross.
She helped prepare bandages for autoclaving to be used for wounded military personnel. It was during that period that she met her future husband, Jack Oakman, a U.S. Navy Seaman 1/C, and to whom she was married on Sept. 19, 1945.
After the war, they took up residence in the East End of Clearfield, and she transformed from city to country girl and soon continued her volunteer work with the Red Cross via the Bloodmobile.
Years after her husband passed away and her family moved away, she moved from Clearfield to Meadville, where her youngest son, Fred, resided at. There, she renewed her volunteer work with the Red Cross at their Arch Street location.
She lived and thrived in the Shryock building for 17 years before moving to Wesbury in 2012. She was Catholic by faith and attended St. Francis Catholic Church in Clearfield and St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Meadville.
In her younger years, she sang, wrote poetry and painted. Later in life, she enjoyed volunteering and playing bingo with her Shryock “family.”
She also enjoyed her biological family and was very proud of all of their accomplishments great and small. She became affectionately known to the family as “Nana,” and subsequently to her Wesbury family as “Yo-Yo.”
She was preceded in death by her husband, Jack A. Oakman, on Sept. 7, 1979, and four siblings, Helen (Improta) Testa, Etra (Improta) Silvestri, Ferdinand Improta and Lt. Emil Improta, an Army Air Corps B-17 co-pilot, who was killed in action Dec. 10, 1944 during World War II.
She is survived by these loved ones: her son, Jack A. Oakman Jr. and his wife, Sherry (Campbell) Oakman of Atlanta, Ga.; grandson, Jeffrey Oakman and his wife, Kari, great-granddaughter, Ansleigh and great-grandson, Joshua, all of Winter Garden Fla.; and granddaughter, Rebecca and great-granddaughter, Amelia of State College.
Also surviving are her son, Fredric and his wife, Romona (Bowery) Oakman, granddaughter, Ginger Ferguson, great-grandsons, Austin, Zachary and Joseph and great-granddaughter, Ily, grandson, Fredric and his wife, Chelsea, all of Meadville, and grandson, Seth of Pittsburgh.
Calling hours will be Saturday, Sept. 17 from 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. with a memorial service to follow at the Ryan M. Warren Funeral Home and Cremation Services Inc., at 544 Chestnut St., Meadville, PA. Burial will be at a later date beside her husband at the Utahville Cemetery in Clearfield County.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the American Red Cross, Pennsylvania, or Wesbury United Methodist, 31 N. Park Ave., Meadville, PA 16335.
Please take a moment to share a memory or condolence with the family on Yolanda Bernadette Oakman’s Book of Memories online at www.WarrenFH.com.