Juanita Breneman Yakopin-Howell passed away on August 5, 2014 in Grass Valley, CA after a short battle with pneumonia. She was 87. She was born on March 16, 1927 in St. Louis, MO to parents Walter and Esther Breneman. Juanita grew up in southern California and attended UCLA where she met her husband Joseph Yakopin. They moved to Sacramento where Joseph was the principal of an elementary school. In her forties, Juanita went back to college, at Sacramento State, where she received a BA and teaching credential. She taught third grade for twenty years. They had two daughters, Robin and Toni, and raised them in Carmichael. After retiring, Joe and Juanita lived in Penryn, where they raised sheep. Joe died of a heart attack in 1988. Then she met Robert Howell and married him in 1990. They lived in Loomis, CA for many years. In their eighties, they move to Grass Valley, CA where Robert died in 2011. Juanita was a loving and devoted family member and friend. She enjoyed traveling to Bodega Bay, taking cruises and playing the slots. She was very talented in painting, sculpting and crafts. Most of all, Juanita enjoyed spending time with her family. She loved Thanksgiving, a holiday of good food and family. She was well-known for her witty sense of humor and being the life of a party. She was smart, strong-willed, kind-hearted and hospitable. She was a blessing to us. To have been a part of Juanita's life brought joy to your heart. Juanita is survived by daughter Robin Hintze; grandchildren Stephen Blaha, MD, Michelle O'Neill and Christine Blaha; nieces Susan Sawyer and Sunny Schalansky; seven great-grandchildren; and son-in-law Duane Hintze. She was preceded in death by her parents; twin sister, Juana Sawyer; daughter Toni Mertens; two husbands; and many others who cared for her immensely. She is so missed but will always be in our hearts.
Published in The Sacramento Bee on Aug. 30, 2014