Elizabeth M. Yanez ’11 died on January 2, 2023, in San Antonio, Texas.
(The following was provided by Legacy Remembers on January 5, 2023)
Elizabeth Marie Yanez died peacefully surrounded by family and friends on January 2, 2023, in San Antonio, Texas, at age 33. She was known interchangeably as “Lizzy” or “Liz” by her closest family and friends.
Elizabeth was an avid athlete playing soccer for most of her life starting at age 5. She attended Keystone School, where on the basketball team she was known as “the refrigerator,” and even managed to adapt some soccer moves into her basketball game. Elizabeth was an avid musician playing piano and cello. Her passion was the cello, and she was taught for many years by Robin Abraham of Northside Music School who was a continual teacher and mentor to Elizabeth. She enrolled at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, ME, where she DJed on the school’s WBOR radio station, played on the junior varsity soccer team, continued performing cello in the musical performance program, and worked at the library. She enjoyed the summers in Maine kayaking and hiking, but the bitter winter cold of Maine did not agree with Elizabeth and she completed her studies closer to home at San Antonio College and the University of Texas at San Antonio. She pursued a degree in Radio, Film and Television before deciding to pursue and graduate Magna cum laude with a bachelor of Business Administration in Finance degree.
Elizabeth pursued a number of career paths as varied as the hospitality industry, the television industry, and the banking industry. She obtained her first part-time job at Chick-Fil-A at age 16 before working at Starbucks part time at various times in her twenties. Highlights from this time included serving George Lopez at the Starbucks at the Westin La Cantera Resort and learning later that he had incorporated the interaction into his performance at the Majestic Theater later that night. Her first full-time job was as a camera operator and production assistant at the local San Antonio NBC affiliate News 4 WOAI where she worked for two years. After graduating university, she worked in commercial banking as a credit analyst with Lone Star Capital Bank.
Elizabeth had many passions she carried through her adult life including soccer, learning more about her Mexican ancestry, playing cello, photography, languages, traveling and experiencing different cultures. She was able to continue playing the cello into adulthood and was grateful to be able to perform during her maternal grandmother Celia Martinez’s funeral via Zoom. Elizabeth was devoted to her grandmothers Celia Martinez and Baldomera “Lala” Yanez. Constantly learning more about their lives and roots, improving her Spanish both via conversation and the constant presence of telenovelas on the TV screen, as well as learning their recipes. Elizabeth studied and spoke Spanish, German, and Mandarin. She had a passion for learning about other cultures through food and travel. She especially enjoyed traveling in Singapore, Bali, Vietnam, Taiwan, France, England, the Netherlands, Spain, and Mexico. She would often recall her time learning to surf in Bali as a beginner in a place where professional surfers are drawn by the challenging surf. She would often recall the chaotic, ample, and delicious food markets of Singapore.
Elizabeth was a generous and compassionate soul. She would often go out of her way to help both friends and strangers who were down on their luck. She once drove a stranded single mother home so she could care for her child. Furthermore, Lizzy started a music education program, in concert with Mr. Abraham, for disadvantaged children at The American Sunrise Foundation in San Antonio.
Elizabeth had the fortune of celebrating two birthdays: her natural birth and the day she received her lung transplant on September 14, 2019. Elizabeth fell ill in late May 2019 and went into fulminant lung failure. During this time Liz was uninsured. She was able to secure health insurance through the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, allowing her to pursue a lung transplant. This process was widely regarded as miraculous as it is exceedingly rare for patients who start out without insurance to end up with a transplant. She enjoyed three years and 107 additional days of life with her donor lungs. She was always grateful for the gift of organ donation that allowed her to extend her life as well as to all the doctors, nurses, and other medical staff at Methodist and University Hospitals who helped her in her transplant journey. Throughout this process her family were her greatest advocates in pursuing her healthcare goals.
Elizabeth was born on March 8, 1989, in San Antonio, Texas. She is survived by her mother, Olga Martinez Yanez, and her father, Niceforo Yanez of San Antonio, and her brother, Gregory Nicholas Yanez, MD, of New York City. The Lord God took Lizzy home; the family is thankful she is at peace and at rest, in the bosom of God’s Love and Grace.