Remembering Mountaineer Storm Yanicks

It is with deep sadness that we share the news of the passing of Storm Yanicks, Mountaineers member and former Mountaineers Books employee. A Celebration of Life will be held at Mercer Island Presbyterian Church on Sunday, July 14 at 2pm.
The Mountaineers The Mountaineers
January 25, 2024
Remembering Mountaineer Storm Yanicks
Storm (third from right, in red) on an outing with the Retired Rovers.

We are deeply saddened to share the news of the passing of Storm Yanicks, 32-year Mountaineers member, former Mountaineers Books employee, and dedicated past Chair of the Retired Rovers. Storm passed away on December 14, 2023. 

With a name befitting of her character, Storm was a powerful force in The Mountaineers community. For 27 years Storm played a pivotal role in the evolution of Mountaineers Books. Authors knew and respected her, as she was the one who carefully scheduled and incorporated updates or corrected errors when a book was reprinted. When she began her career at Mountaineers Books, digital publishing didn't exist. By the time she retired, she was adept at managing complex software and layout programs (all this from a person who insisted she didn't really like change). As Mountaineers Books transitioned from a volunteer-run component of "the Club" to a professional publishing operation, Storm was the first employee hired by the first publisher. She was a careful proofreader, astute editor, and an innovative problem solver. Most of all, she was just plain fun to be around.

In her later Mountaineers years, Storm was inducted as an honorary lifetime member serving as  chair of the Retired Rovers, a community designed to engage longtime community members through social events and approachable urban excursions. One of the most talked about outing was the urban adventure through the updated highway 99 tunnel to see the infamous lodged tunneling machinery Bertha. Storm lead this effort with  a passion for community and camaraderie. She led numerous hikes around Washington and monthly lunch gatherings at the Seattle Program Center and in numerous greenspaces around the city.

Storm had many interests and passions: from genealogy to travel, and especially gardening. She had two pea patches with veggies – a lot of which she donated to the local Food Bank – and grew Early Girl tomatoes in this cool climate like no one else. The pies made with apples from her trees were sublime. Her English cottage garden surrounding her home belied her love for all things British, including the Royals and High Tea. Storm was also active in local political campaigns, fighting for the causes she cared about most. She loved to travel, and had a keen photographic eye for the beauty she encountered on her trips. Her passion for fostering connections among members of all ages, creating meaningful outdoor experiences, and sharing the beauty of the world enriched the lives of many in our community. 

Here are a few things Storm’s friends and family had to say about her: 

  • “The Mountaineers was fortunate to have a volunteer like Storm, whose enthusiasm, vision, and tireless efforts contributed significantly to the vibrancy of the Retired Rovers community. She not only strengthened the bonds within the group but inspired others to join The Mountaineers collective mission of promoting outdoor adventure, community engagement, and stewardship of the natural world. We are truly grateful for the positive influence she had had on the lives of our members.” -Bri Vanderlinden, Director of Development at The Mountaineers

  • “Storm was such a wonderful friend to me and a capable and enthusiastic leader of our Retired Rovers group. I joined the group about twelve years ago, shortly before she took over the leadership from Warner Hughes. She participated in most of our activities and led some of them until she was not feeling well enough to do so. She worked for Mountaineers Books for many years. All of us who knew Storm miss her so much and send our best wishes and love to her family.” -Sue Hays, current Retired Rovers Co-Chair

  • “Storm was the glue that kept our Rover's members connected to each other and to our many memorable adventures.  When we would meet monthly at the Program Center, she would always warmly greet the regulars and the new arrivals.  From one of our trips to Paradise on Mt. Rainier, she put together an album of pictures from that incredible Autumn Day.  She told me recently that the Rovers had all become her friends.  We will miss her.  God Bless you, Storm.” -Malinda Merrell, Retired Rovers member

  • “I was introduced to Storm when I took over the job of Facilities Manager in September of 2015. Storm was the leader and organizer for the Retired Rovers and it quickly became apparent why. She was smart as a whip, sweet as can be, and made everyone feel welcome for their monthly meetings. The Rovers became my favorite group in large part because of Storm. She, along with her Rovers, reminded me of my parents, and I just wanted to take care of them, especially Storm. I always looked forward to seeing her every month, and started drawing pictures for their sign board because I thought Storm would like it. She never failed to tell me how much she loved it. Storm was always so appreciative of the littlest things. Always had a kind word or compliment. Always warm and welcoming. I will miss her sweet nature and feisty spirit. She was a blessing.” - Tim Bugler, Facilities Manager at The Mountaineers

  • “Storm was beloved; we are grateful to have her as a colleague and a friend, and for her role in building the consequential legacy of Mountaineers Books. Whenever someone's kid was visiting, in no time I'd find the child on the floor with Storm crawling around in her office playing a game (usually alerted by the NOISE they were both making, mostly made by Storm). To some of the lucky kids, she was known as "grandma Storm." Her Halloween costumes were raucous and irreverent – from the pregnant nun to the punk biker – made more hilarious by how "normal" she seemed on the surface (you could not judge that book by its cover). 

    Given the hundreds of authors she worked with over the years, she encountered a wide range of personalities – from the accommodating and charming to the demanding and challenging – a feat she accomplished with humor, grace, and confidence. On one occasion I walked by her office and saw that it had been cordoned off and wrapped in yellow crime scene tape. She had received the tape along with a missive from one of our authors who for the sake of anonymity I'll refer to as "Harvey." "Harvey" had requested some changes to the next printing of his book that were not realistic, and were not possible within the physical limitations of the existing book format. She had patiently explained the problem, and suggested options. "Harvey" sent a long, berating note, and said her refusal to accede to his demands was "criminal." Instead of being flustered or angry and throwing the entire lot into the trash, she turned what was intended as an insult into a playful joke. We were left instead to speculate where – or how – "Harvey" had acquired that amount of crime scene tape anyway? 

    When Storm retired, she maintained her connection to Mountaineers Books, asking to be included on email threads and joining us for our annual picnics and holiday parties. And yes, she always brought pie.” - Helen Cherullo, Executive Director of Braided River


A Celebration of Life will be held at Mercer Island Presbyterian Church on Sunday, July 14 at 2pm. Reception to follow.

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