Lynne Yates-Carter
1950 - 2020
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Lynne Yates-Carter
June 1, 1950 - May 4, 2020
Lynne was born in Oakland, California and adopted by Charles Merton Yates and Berenice Yates at birth. The family moved to Santa Clara, California in 1952.
Lynne went to the local public schools. By third grade, her teachers wanted her to skip to 5th grade. Her parents did not agree. The next year, Westwood Grammar School started the forerunner of the Mentally Gifted Minors Class, which Lynne attended and excelled in. She went to Santa Clara High School where she was the head majorette, editor of the school newspaper and a member of the California Scholarship Federation. She acted in both school plays and the talent shows. She was the co-valedictorian for her class. Beginning her senior year in high school, she was one of two high school students allowed to take classes at the University of Santa Clara.
She went to Santa Clara University on scholarships.
In 1970, she discovered the feminist movement and was a feminist for the rest of her life.
She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree. She took one year off, resurrecting the Monterey Chapter of the National Organization for Women and founding the Salinas Chapter of NOW. She worked on a political campaign, then went to work in a local law office. It was in that office that she decided to go to law school. She began attending the University of Santa Clara School of Law in 1973 and graduated in 1976. She started her law practice on her dining room table, but soon opened up her first law office.
She practiced family law for over 40 years and never tired of it. Her personal motto came from Mother Jones, an early labor leader: "Pray for the dead and fight like hell for the living."
She was a litigator who tried to settle all of her cases. She served as a private judge and expert witness, and taught classes (3 years of family law at Santa Clara) and programs for the American Bar Association, American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, California State Bar Association, Association of Certified Specialists, Legal Secretaries' Association, Paralegal Organization (PASCO) and Santa Clara Bar Association. She chaired the State Bar Family Law Section ("Flexcom"), the Northern Chapter of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, as well as the Santa Clara County Bar Association Family Law Executive Committee.
She published articles in the Family Law News as well as in Publications of the Continuing Education of the Bar.
She was awarded the Bryl Salsman Award for community Service and the Henry Collada Award for service to the families and the legal community.
She was one of the authors of the Domestic Violence Prevention Act and worked hard on the implementation of it in Santa Clara County. Legislation was important to her and she drafted several pieces of legislation.
For over 30 years, she gave a holiday party for the bar association community. Between 200 and 300 attorneys, staff, judges, commissioners, clerks, deputies and other friends would attend. The party was never catered, Lynne and some of her friends prepared the food from appetizers to desserts. Over 80 desserts would be at the party in what soon became labeled the "chocolate room."
Lynne was a mentor to many young attorneys and always made time for them. She always enjoyed young people, from babies to young adults.
Toward the end of her career, she focused on crafts and rubber stamping, sending 80 hand-made cards on most holidays.
She enjoyed her circle of friends and loved her son, Alex Yates Carter. Her best friend of over 39 years was Alice Chastain. Alice was her son's godmother and Lynne was godmother to Alice's daughter, Shauna Chastain. She loved her grandgodsons, Ryan and Chase Teresi, her niece Kelly, nephews Kristopher and Jason, and grandnieces and nephews, Frankie and Ellie Rose Carter, Leon Carter, Collin Carter and her wide circle of friends.
Her smile will be missed, but her legacy will live on through those whose lives she influenced.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to NOW, the Arthritis Foundation, the Pacific Grove Natural History Museum, or Aquarium. A Celebration of Life will be held at a later date. Cremation and arrangements entrusted to the direction and care of Twin Chapels Mortuary, Vallejo (707) 552-6606. www.TwinChapelsMortuary.com


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Published in San Jose Mercury News/San Mateo County Times on May 24, 2020.
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1 entry
May 24, 2020
When I began my career working in women's services, domestic violence, and community involvement. Lynn Yates Carter was a role model for me. I looked up to her, I learned from her, I admired her dedication and commitment to using her voice, her legal skills, her connections to make policy changes, challenge unfair legal practices against women and donate endless hours in pro bono legal services. Though I had not seen her in almost 40 years. The memories came rushing back, the memory of her impact on me, help me be a better person. Lynn Yates Carter fly with the angels.
Patricia Gardner
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