Obituaries – 08-23-2017

In October 2012, then-Holmes Beach Commissioner Sandy Haas-Martens, left, former Commissioner Billie Martini and then-Mayor Rich Bohnenberger opened Grassy Point Preserve to the public.

Billie Martini

Former Holmes Beach Commissioner Billie Greenwell Martini, 90, died Aug. 20.

She was Islander of the Year for 2002.

Martini came to the Island in 1944 and resided in Bradenton Beach and later Holmes Beach. After college, she married and, with husband Bob, opened the first motor court on the Island alongside the old wooden bridge in Bradenton Beach.

She had been a Holmes Beach resident for 47 years and a commissioner 1992-93. She donated funding for the original outdoor play pavilion at AME. She was an officer of Save Anna Maria Inc.

Her finest achievement and lasting legacy is Grassy Point Preserve in Holmes Beach. Martini first eyed the undeveloped area for a preserve as a commissioner and fought to see it to fruition, attending the grand opening in 2012.

The flag at Holmes Beach City Hall will be lowered to half-staff in her honor one day this week.

 

Sara Elizabeth Walton

Sara Elizabeth Walton of Holmes Beach died Aug. 10.

She was born in Elk Horn, Wisconsin, July 25, 1979, and moved to Rising Son, Indiana, where she became a gifted athlete. She played center in basketball for her undefeated high school time. She also played volleyball.

She graduated from the University of Southern Indiana, and her caring heart led her to a degree in social services.

She loved meeting people and, with her infectious laugh and vibrant smile, was quick to make friends.

She moved to Holmes Beach four years ago and was a passionate animal lover, taking a special interest in sea turtles.

She is survived by parents Roger Walton and Sharon Robinson; brother Darin; sister Janella Pryce; grandmothers Bula Walton and Eloise Holland, boyfriend Jesse Candish, and her beloved dog, Mr. Biscuit.

 

In May 2010, Anna Maria Island Historical Society director Betty Yanger, left, presents Thea Kelley with a silver serving tray for her years of service as AMIHS board president. Islander File Photo

Betty Helwig Yanger

Betty “Betty Lu” Helwig Yanger, 79, a native and longtime resident of Tampa and later Anna Maria, died Aug. 10.

She was a graduate of Plant High School and the University of Tampa. She was an educator in Hillsborough County for more than 30 years, retiring in 2000 after serving as principal of Broward Elementary School. She lived the truth that “a teacher affects eternity” by bringing the spirit and the wondrous revelations of learning to thousands of young minds in the course of her career with enthusiasm and her characteristic grace.

To Mrs. Yanger, retirement meant bringing her new blue Volkswagen Beetle and love of learning full-time to Anna Maria Island with husband Bill, after spending 40 years of summers and holidays under the banyan trees, in the gardens and on the sand of the island.

She was a director emeritus of the Anna Maria Island Historical Society, serving on the board from 2003, and for a time as the director of the museum on Pine Avenue in Anna Maria.

She was passionate about protecting the historical significance of Anna Maria and was a champion of identifying, preserving and celebrating the unique character and charm of many of its original homes and buildings.

Her open invitation to islanders and visitors alike to share cool breezy evenings in her “secret garden” was a cherished ritual for many.

The cliché seems written with Mrs. Yanger in mind: she truly never met a stranger. Her smile was ever-present, her snappy wit was searing and timely and her tenacity was renowned, particularly in recent years, as she battled Multiple System Atrophy, defying all medical expectations and prognoses.

Above all else, her husband and her family were everything to her and she never shied from giving a simple and warm “I love you” to all.

A memorial service was held Aug. 19 in Tampa. Memorial donations may be made to the Multiple System Atrophy Coalition in Memory of Betty Yanger at multiplesystematrophy.org or 9935-D Rea Road, No. 212, Charlotte NC 28277.

Survivors include her husband of 59 years, Bill; brother Griffin and wife Pat; daughter Shay and husband Bill Rustam; son Bill and wife Sherry McDonaugh; grandsons Zachary and Martin McDonaugh; granddaughters Rachel Yanger Munch and husband Joshua Munch, Madeline and Sophie Rustam and Kelli McDonaugh; along with numerous cousins and extended family.

 

Sara Elizabeth Walton

Sara Elizabeth Walton of Holmes Beach died Aug. 10.

She was born in Elk Horn, Wisconsin, July 25, 1979, and moved to Rising Son, Indiana, where she became a gifted athlete. She played center in basketball for her undefeated high school time. She also played volleyball.

She graduated from the University of Southern Indiana, and her caring heart led her to a degree in social services.

She loved meeting people and, with her infectious laugh and vibrant smile, was quick to make friends.

She moved to Holmes Beach four years ago and was a passionate animal lover, taking a special interest in sea turtles.

She is survived by parents Roger Walton and Sharon Robinson; brother Darin; sister Janella Pryce; grandmothers Bula Walton and Eloise Holland, boyfriend Jesse Candish, and her beloved dog, Mr. Biscuit.

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