James Lin "Coach" Yerkovich
1943 - 2020
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James L. Yerkovich
1943 ~ 2020
James Lin "Coach" Yerkovich was born January 4, 1943, in Salt Lake City, Utah, and died June 10, 2020, at home in Poulsbo, Washington. In his 77 years, he shaped the lives of numerous young people-as a parent, grandparent, mentor, and in his roles at Judge Memorial Catholic High School, where he was an educator, vice principal, and, most dear to him, basketball coach. Over the course of his 44 years of coaching, his boys' basketball teams recorded 634 wins, were state champions three times, and runners-up six times. But it wasn't all about the win for Coach. His biggest legacy as a coach is the number of his players who went on to become coaches themselves, embracing his "WE" coaching philosophy, which he laid out in his book "WE: a Model for Coaching and Christian Living". He inspired generations of young people to go out and do what he did, largely because of the positive impact he had on them as their coach.
As much as he loved basketball and all sports, it was his family that brought him his greatest joys. He traveled the world with his wife Betty, spending time every year in her home country of Australia, where he was loved by an extended Aussie family. Their nearly 30-year marriage was one defined by love, support, and care. They simply meant the world to each other, navigating life's ups and downs as a perfectly-matched team. His absence will be profound to Betty, who took extraordinary care of him as he battled Parkinson's disease. They had moved to Poulsbo, just outside of Seattle, in 2017, to be closer to family in the area and fully enjoy his retirement, living by the water. His children Noël, Mary Chris, and John (with his first wife Marilee), and his stepchildren with Betty-Matt, Chris, and Jackie-made him proud, as did his grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his father, Nick, his mother, Emma, and his younger brother, Neil.
Jim's spirit will live on in his many friends, students, and players.
A memorial service will be planned in Salt Lake City at a later date, when it is safe for us to come together and celebrate Jim's life and legacy.

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in The Salt Lake Tribune from Jun. 13 to Jun. 14, 2020.
Memories & Condolences
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13 entries
July 30, 2020
Dear Betty, Jim yerkovich was the most influential educator of my academic career. He had a unique and endearing way of explains complex topics. He will never be forgotten. A legend is gone, but he left an amazing legacy.
Robert Alleman
Student
July 28, 2020
Couch Yerkovich was my basketball when I played at Judge Memorial Catholic high school. His younger brother Neil was the other guard on our team in 1967 and 1968 and my best friend. Good memories. Go Bulldogs!! Jumpin Joe Uzelac
Joe Uzelac
Friend
June 30, 2020
Dear Betty and Family,
I am deeply saddened by Jim's passing. My heartfelt sympathy to all who are grieving this great loss. Jim was my friend, my mentor, my colleague, and my confidant. I remember countless conversations with him: humor and advice that have stayed with me. We exchanged hospital visits and moments of sadness at the loss of dear friends. Jim helped give me the start to a long and fulfilling career. He was a major part of what success I have had in life. I will always cherish my memories of Jim.
Peter Van Orden
Coworker
June 17, 2020
We just got to know Jim and Betty when they moved to Poulsbo in 2017. We are happy to have known him, even for a short time. Betty was always always by his side. I learned so much reading Jim's obituary and wish we had had the chance to talk to him about his life. RIP to our neighbor Jim.
Robbie Larson
Friend
June 16, 2020
Dear Betty & Family,
My deepest sympathy on your great loss. I worked with Jim at Judge from 1974-1985, he was a superb teacher, coach and friend. He was also a devout Catholic Christian celebrating Mass before every game and praying with his fellow coaches and the team. He was always a gentleman and modeled that for the young men that he coached. He made the world and specifically the Bulldog Community a better place.
We will miss you, Jim, God's speed and thank you for a life well lived. A Mass of Resurrection will be celebrated for Jim here in Virginia and prayers offered for his family.
David Kenehan, OSFS
Coworker
June 15, 2020
Thank you Coach for all the opportunities you created for our boys. They learned about teamwork and community from your example. Some of our best family memories are connected to cheering for the Bulldogs :) Yours was a life well lived that will continue on in all our memories. Love and thanks to the Yerkovich Family for all you shared. John & Karin Kolbus
Karin Kolbus
Friend
June 13, 2020
Dear Yerkovich Family,

I was saddened to hear of Coach / Mister Yerkovich's passing. Please accept my deepest sympathies.

I graduated from Judge Memorial in 1979. Mister Yerkovich was my calculus teacher. Without reservation, I can say Mister Yerkovich was the most influential teacher in my entire academic life. His love of mathematics, and his spectacular skill in teaching calculus, catalyzed my pursuit of mathematics in college and graduate school. My lifelong love of mathematics and career as an applied mathematician can trace its beginnings to Mr. Yerkovich's calculus class in 78 - 79. At the start of the school year, as Mr. Yerkovich was introducing calculus he finished with "the discovery of the calculus changed the world." For me, Mr. Yerkovich, changed my life by inspiring me to pursue mathematics.

Although I wasn't on the basketball team, many of my closest friends were, and I attended all games and discussed the team with Coach Yerkovich dozens and dozens of times during the senior year. The team lost in the semifinals that year, but won the title the next.

Mr. Yerkovich's legacy lives on in the thousands of lives he influenced.

May His Memory Be Eternal .

Ted Forsman
Theodore (Ted) Forsman
Student
June 13, 2020
Condolences Betty, and best of wishes always. I always respected Jim and his ability to work through difficult situations with a logical solution as a result. Although as coaches we battled against each other the basketball court we truly cared about each other. Jim had a great sense of humor and we shared a fun loving friendship that I have always treasured.

Hal R. Hale
Friend
June 13, 2020
Betty and Yerkovich Family,

We were so sad to hear of Jims passing. Coach left a legacy of dedication, commitment and sportsmanship for his students and players both on and off the court that has carried them on in their lives. Jim was a strong supporter of the Christian Service Program because he was aware of the need to give back to community and work together as a team to solve social justice issues. We shared many good laughs over lunch in the faculty dining room. Jim was always accessible and kind. He will be missed. Good job, Coach.

Sincere Regards,

Barry and Dianna Swartz
Dianna Swartz
Coworker
June 13, 2020
My deepest condolences. I remember his comments to me always remembering my dear older sister, and how he saw her expressions in my face. That meant the world to me, we had 9 years and a whole lot of boys between us, plus a 5 yr straggler. Was so happy her son got to coach with him, in one way or another. May god bless his dribbling to heaven. for your being a friend at school always remembering me at reunion and asking about Jackies health!
Nancy Shumway
Student
June 13, 2020
He was a great person and awesome coach. Judge was fortunate to have him in their ranks
george malouf
Classmate
June 13, 2020
BettyIm so sorry for your loss! I always admired your love for your husband and the way you took care of him! I know you will miss him so much! You are in my thoughts and prayers at this difficult time!
Trista (Dental Hygienist)
Trista Manning
June 12, 2020
Dear Coach Yerkovichs Family,
We were saddened to hear of the passing of our dear beloved coach, mentor and friend Coach Yerkovich. We are sending our love, thoughts and prayers for our God to grant Coach rest in His loving arms and that God stretch forth His arm in hope, peace strength and comfort to help you through this difficult time. We are so glad our children had the blessing of having had him as a coach and mentor at Judge. He has left a tremendous legacy and one that will influence generations to come. May His Memory Be Eternal. In love and deep sympathy.
Rev. Elias and Ellen Koucos
Rev. Fr. Elias Koucos
Friend
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