Mae Elizabeth Knebel Yonce was born on May 10, 1919, in Lambert, Montana. She was the daughter of LeRoy and Retta Knebel who had homesteaded eastern Montana when the buffalo grass was waist high. They had four children (now all deceased): Harvey, Mae (the only girl), Earl and Bill. Each of the brothers served our country during WWII. Harvey (Naval appointment) was a flight engineer for Pan American; Earl flew B24 Bombers in the South Pacific. Bill was a captain in the Marines serving in the South Pacific. Mae was busy with a career in Montana elementary education in the same one-room school with grades 1-8 that she and her brothers attended as children, a Crow Indian Reservation school and the Billings public school system. However, because her brothers were all in the military, Mae left her education career to enroll in the Cadet Nursing Program with the intension of serving in the Navy. Though the war ended, Mae completed her degree in nursing, graduating in 1948. She was hired to teach nursing by Montana State University. Mae met Lloyd Yonce at the Memorial Hospital in Bozeman and they were married at the end of 1948. Mae and Lloyd moved from Montana to Oregon when Lloyd decided to go to graduate school at Oregon State University. After he completed a Master’s degree in physiology, he and Mae moved to Michigan where Lloyd obtained a PhD at the University of Michigan. After a year on a postdoctoral program in Georgia, Mae and Lloyd settled in Chapel Hill. Mae taught in the Chapel Hill School system for seventeen years, originally teaching third grade but later becoming a very competent reading teacher. Mae and Lloyd had two children: Kathleen, born in Oregon, and Mark, born in Michigan, and one grandchild, Jesse Bernier.
Mae lived a long and good life, loving many family and friends, and receiving lots of love in return. The family wishes to thank all of the wonderful people and organizations for their thorough and compassionate care of Mae. We will always treasure your loving care, excellent skills and attention to details. Per Mae’s wishes, there will be no memorial service. Online memories and condolences may be sent to cremnc.com. Donations to UNC Hospice or the Church of your choice are welcome.
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