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Jessica Jeanne Youle

1946 - 2018 Obituary Condolences
Jessica Jeanne Youle Obituary
Jessica Jeanne Youle

Phoenix - Jessica Jeanne Youle passed away on July 13, 2018, due to complications from a lung transplant a year prior. Jessica was born on July 29, 1946, in Elmhurst, Illinois. The first child of John Clinton Youle and Cherie Jeanne Eadie, she enjoyed her upbringing outside of Chicago. Jessica spent her summers attending horseback riding camps in places like Jackson Hole, and spent her junior year of high school as an exchange student in Australia. Her pursuit of higher education began at Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota, where she graduated cum laude in 1968 and formed many lifelong friendships. She went on to attain a master's degree and a certificate of advanced study in education from Springfield College in Springfield, Massachusetts, in 1973.

Jessica's father took her on a trip out west for a rafting trip later that year. This adventure sparked what would be a lifelong appreciation and a deep loyalty to the Colorado River through Grand Canyon. She was one of the first women to become certified as a Grand Canyon river guide and went on to become one of the first female owners of a commercial rafting company.

Jessica also took a personal step in her life at this time and gave birth to her first child, Alexandra. She spent the next decade in Flagstaff, Arizona, and planted the seeds for her daughter to live a life of adventure and strength. Her next adventure was law; she graduated cum laude with a Juris Doctorate from Arizona State University in 1983. Shortly thereafter, her prestigious law career began at Lewis and Roca, LLP, where she became a partner and again forged strong friendships that she would nurture throughout her life. True to the uniqueness of her spirit, she practiced law at the same time she practiced reading astrology, tarot cards, and, in her words, more "hippy-trippy stuff".

Jessica became a mother again in 1985 with Graham and 1987 with Andrew and imbued an appreciation of confident women and a love of the outdoors into her "boyos". Jessica moved on to Salt River Project in 1993, where she shifted her focus to environmental law and served as Senior Principle Counsel for Regulatory Policy. Her career reached a pinnacle with an appointment to Senior Director for Energy Policy for the State of Arizona under Governor Janet Napolitano.

After retiring from law, she took pleasure in the later period of her life by remaining close with her wonderful friends, maintaining her position as matriarch of her family, and getting to know her grandchildren, Lyra and Tiana. In her later years, she retired to Cottonwood, Arizona, and filled her days with gardening, gourmet cooking, reading voraciously, and serving as a board member for Habitat for Humanity.

Jessica is remembered for her tenacious spirit, arresting intelligence, stalwart devotion, loyalty to her friends, and unyielding love for her three children. She is dearly missed.
Published in The Arizona Republic on Aug. 12, 2018
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