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Martha S. "Marti" Yonikus

Yonikus, Martha S. "Marti" Marti Yonikus, age 70, of Naperville, IL, entered her eternal home with Jesus Christ, her Lord and Savior on Wednesday, December 11th, at home, surrounded by her loving family. Born March 31, 1943 to Charles and Anna (Clark) Yonikus of Decatur, IL who preceded her in death, along with her sister, Sandy Waite. She is survived by her sister in the Lord and best friend, Cathy Vierra and dearly treasured nieces and nephew, Tiffany, Joseph, Nancy Diane, and Marquita Vierra; and precious great-nephew, Landon Dabney. Marti, greatly loved and respected by entire Vierra family will be sorely missed by Ernie, Steve, Lynn, and Diane and their families. Also survived by loving sister, Sally (the late Jim) Waite of Farmer City, IL; and dear nephews and nieces, Kevin (Edna) Waite and their daughter, Jasmine, Katrina Waite of Oswego, Sean (Lynn) Waite of Oswego and their children, Lauren, Allison, Caitlyn, and Stephen, Annie Waite of Oswego, Matt (Kiri) Waite of Oswego and their children, Aiden and Madisen. Marti received her BS in sociology at the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana. After graduation, she worked as a juvenile officer and counselor in the Oak Park Police department. She then worked for the Department of Children and Family services for one year before beginning the graduate program at Jane Adams Graduate School of Social Work at University of Illinois Chicago Circle Campus. She worked for nine years with West Aurora District 129 as a social worker and then supervisor before coming to Naperville School District 203 in 1979. As social worker at many of the schools over the years and then as Supervisor of Social Work Services for the entire district, she touched the lives of countless individuals and families in the community, as well as school personnel and the entire social work staff with her incredible leadership, insight, wisdom, and passion before retiring in May of 2012. Her desire to use all the gifts that God had given her came to fruition when she and sister, Cathy joined forces in 1984 and bought a house together with the purpose of providing foster care. At that time there were 43,000 children in Illinois caught in the child welfare system. She not only supported Cathy through the adoption of four tiny lives that became the treasure of her heart, she fought to make changes in the law that would protect all children from the abuses in the child welfare system. She worked closely with Congressman Harris Fawell (R-Naperville) in 1990 to introduce a bill to expedite adoption of abandoned babies. The bill decreased the time between the abandonment and the infant's eligibility for adoption, ending the years children spend in foster before adoption could be considered. She testified before congress on behalf of not only those that she loved so much but all children caught in a system that ignored a child's best interest over failed family preservation, policies based on race matching, and racially charged issues concerning trans-racial adoptions. Over the years Marti received honors and awards from different groups for her advocacy and service, but was never comfortable with credit or attention being given to her. So many had shared what a blessing Marti has been to them and her response was always, "I am the one who has been blessed". Her faith in God and dependence on His strength, wisdom, and mercy each day of her life allowed her to be used by Him to make a difference in so many lives. Since 1983, Calvary Church in Naperville has been her church home and such a blessing. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Calvary Church or Life Outreach of Dallas, Texas. Visitation will be Monday, December 16, 4:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. at Calvary Church, 9S.200 State Route 59, Naperville, IL 60564. An additional visitation will be Tuesday, December 17, 10:00 a.m. until 11:00 a.m. at Calvary Church. A Funeral Service will follow at 11:00 a.m. Interment will be at Naperville Cemetery, Naperville, IL. Arrangements entrusted to Friedrich-Jones Funeral Home & Cremation Services, 44 S. Mill St., Naperville, IL 60540. For more information, please call 630-355-0213 or www.friedrich-jones.com.
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Published in Naperville Sun on Dec. 15, 2013
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