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Farewell, John Yoakam PDF Print E-mail

Farewell to John Yoakam, founder of MN Bears

It is with a profound sense of loss that we announce the passing of John Yoakam, who was a true leader in our community and who founded the MN Bears as a non-profit group, which eventually became the North Country Bears today. Yoakam, John R. age 62, passed away April 20, 2009. Preceded in death by parents, Reid and Virgie Yoakam. Survived by life partner, Gary Gimmestad; brother, Cyrus A. Yoakam; sister, Janet E. Jacobs; neices, Diane L. Guerrero and Ginger E. Jacobs; nephews, David A. Yoakam and Scott Jacobs; and grand nieces and nephews, Lucas Guerrero; Alejandra Guerrero; Julia Jacobs- Schelsinger; and many dear friends. Memorial Service Sunday, May 3, 2009, 3:00 PM at First Universalist Church of Minneapolis, 3400 Dupont Ave. S., Mpls. Memorials preferred to First Universalist Church or the donor's favorite charity. Washburn-McReavy Davies Chapel 612-377-2203

A Founding Member of the Twin Cities Bear Community

John accepted a position teaching social work at the College of St. Benedict/St. John’s University, in the fall of 2000. He became chair of the department in 2001 and served in that capacity until 2008. While at St. John’s and St. Ben’s, John was a faculty sponsor of Prism, the campus organization for GLBT students. He also participated in the GLBT faculty/staff group and helped organize the first Lavender Graduation ceremonies for GLBT and allied students on campus. He served as a facilitator for the Gay and Bisexual Men’s group in St. Cloud. Professionally John became active in several organizations involved with concerns of aging within the GLBT community: including the Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual/Transgender Aging Issues Network of the American Society on Aging, and GLBT Generations in the Twin Cities. Like his earlier ventures in raising awareness of gay and lesbian issues in the 1970s, Dr. Yoakam had been involved nationally, regionally, and locally in training professionals on the needs of GLBT seniors. John lived with his partner (since 1994), Gary Gimmestad, in Minneapolis. In 2008 they were active in starting a cancer support group for couples in the First Universalist Church.

Read and sign John's memorial guestbook at

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