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Yolanda Ruata Smith

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June 28, 1929 - October 3, 2015 Yolanda ("Mom") died peacefully of natural causes on October 3rd 2015, surrounded by her children. Yolanda was born in Los Angeles, California on June 28, 1929. She lived in the Los Angles community her entire life. Yolanda's parents, Joe Ramiro and Conception Berumen Ruata, immigrated to the US from Mexico. Yolanda has been a resident in the Hollywood Hills for 52 years, where she had lived with her beloved husband, Thomas Francis Smith. Yolanda was passionate about child advocacy. She had an exceptionally deep commitment to supporting the academic advancement of socioeconomically disadvantaged, inner-city middle and high school students. Yolanda earned an Associate of Arts degree from Los Angeles Community College (1964), a Bachelor of Arts degree in Spanish from the University of California at Los Angeles (1966), and Masters degree in Education from Pepperdine University (1985). Yolanda worked over the course of 42 years with the Los Angeles Unified School District, where she taught Spanish as a middle- and high school instructor. Yolanda also served as a counselor, an assistant principal, a principal and area assistant superintendent. She also was a committed principal mentor. In addition, Yolanda taught Spanish language instruction at UCLA's teacher credential program, as well serving as a Spanish and English instructor with the Los Angeles Community College District. Yolanda was an inspiration to many teaching and administrative colleagues across the Los Angeles Unified School District. Her retirement party filled the Kodak Theatre with friends and colleagues who's expressed such gratitude for her caring, and inspirational mentoring which she gave freely with kindness and love. Yolanda was also a certificated Spanish-English translator. In retirement Yolanda served as a volunteer at the Cedars Sinai Medical Center, supporting the hospital's Catholic ministry to critically ill patients. Yolanda is survived by her children Mark Garcia, Denise Connell, and Yvette Harris; and by step-children David Smith, Candida Smith, Priscilla Thompson, Matthew Smith, and Theresa Martin. She was pre-deceased by her husband Thomas Francis Smith and her sons; Ronald Garcia and Tommy Smith. She is also survived by twenty grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren. All of the surviving family members emulate Yolanda with compassion for the less fortunate and a passion for intellectual, artistic and spiritual enrichment.
Published in the Los Angeles Times from Oct. 6 to Oct. 7, 2015
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