Yvonne Pearson, of Centerville, died on Saturday, May 13, 2023 after a long, hard-fought battle with cancer. She was 84. Mrs. Pearson was born on September 25, 1938 in Brownsville, PA. She was adopted by Frank and Matilda Reed Vechnak at the age of 18. Her adoptive siblings included Charles Vechnak (deceased) of Mercer, Nancy (Nick dec.) Vechnak Bernadino of Stockton, CA, and Francis (Max dec.) Vechnak Hienl of New Middleton, OH.
Yvonne graduated from Mercer High School in 1956 and attended Youngstown State University majoring in Music. She married her husband of 50 years, Dick, on February 18, 1961. Over the years Yvonne assisted in the many family business ventures that ranged from the invention and manufacturing of the Pennsylvania Buck Light, the management of the family’s multiple rental vacation properties in the Outer Banks, and running the day-to-day operations of the family’s rental storage business. It is safe to say that none of the business would have reached the level of success without her tireless support and selfless sacrifice.
Yvonne was best known for her strong nature and resilient personality. Shortly after her first battle with cancer in 1996 she became active in running 5k races. She stated that “the thought of taking back control of my life is what helped me get through those treatments.” This led her to run her first 5k race at the age of age of 60 finishing the course in 59 minutes, 59 seconds. With the support of her oldest son Scott, she had continued to run 2 to 3 races per week, ultimately bettering her time to a sub-30-minute 5k personal best. This also led her to become very involved with the American Cancer Society’s Relay for as well as the creation and running of her grandson Marky Sampson’s Memorial 5k Race that was held for many years.
Survivors include four children, Terri Pearson, Titusville; Scott Pearson and fiancé Jan, Harborcreek; Karen Sampson and husband Mark, Titusville, and Jeff Pearson, Byron, IL.; nine grandchildren: Torri Pearson, Seth Pearson, Lauren Sampson, Alena Pearson, Adrienne Pearson, Jonah Pearson, Annie Pearson, Aaron Pearson, and Jude Pearson. She was preceded in death by her husband Richard, and a grandson Mark Jeffrey Sampson. Knowing that they are together is a comfort to the family. The family suggests memorial contributions be made to the Mark Jeffrey Sampson Memorial Scholarship Fund c/o Crawford Heritage Community Foundation, 415 Chestnut St. Meadville, PA 16335.
At Yvonne’s request, there will be no calling hours or graveside funeral services. Instead, she wished for those to reflect on the following: “Remember me with smiles and laughter for this is the way I’ll remember you. If you can only remember me with tears, then don’t remember me at all.”
Interment will be in Woodlawn Cemetery.