Photography

John P. Yukevich Jr.

December 18, 2021

Obituary

In the early hours of Thursday, December 16th, John P. Yukevich, Jr., of Edgeworth, Pennsylvania died peacefully and in the company of those he loved the most of pneumonia following an epic fight against stage IV esophageal cancer. He was 67 years old.

A celebration of his most unique life will be held at The Sewickley Hotel on Monday, December 20th from 5-8pm. All who loved him and are vaccinated are welcome to join us for food, libations and stories a plenty. In lieu of flowers, please place an irresponsibly large wager on the Steelers beating the Browns on January 3rd and/or make a donation in his name to TAPS (Tragedy Assistance Program) at www.taps.org, who provide emotional support and camaraderie for military survivors. For a more detailed obituary, visit https://www.richarddcolefh.com Private condolences may be sent to the family: ℅ Polly Yukevich, 4640 N. Spaulding Avenue, 1, Chicago IL 60625 or pollyyukevich@gmail.com  

The grim reality of the Pittsburgh Steelers finishing yet another season with an abysmal record proved to be too much to bear for John, who decided he’d seen enough of this world after watching them lose against the Vikings with his daughters. The Steelers may not have sent him into the afterlife with a win but the victory against Baltimore on the 5th gave him some peace. In fact, his most recent letter to the coaching staff of the Steelers acknowledged how difficult the task of coaching must be, and forgave them for their previous blunders.

Yuke, as he was known to friends, family, and scorned rivals, was born to Dr. John P. Yukevich, Sr. and Mary Elizabeth Yukevich (née Troll) of Edgeworth, Pennsylvania on November 12th 1954. Following his graduation from Quaker Valley High School, he toddled off to Boston College in Massachusetts. While many think that four years is customary for a bachelor's degree, John chose to be thorough and stayed a bit longer, crediting a woman named Bregita for helping him remain steadfast in his dedication to his education.

Upon graduation, Yuke returned home to the Burgh and took a job at J&L Steel. While his work at the mill was fulfilling, he eventually decided to follow in his brother Jim’s footsteps and enrolled at the Cumberland School of Law at Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama. It was here that he received his law degree and his characteristic southern drawl. 

Again, he returned to his roots in Edgeworth to begin his career as an attorney and it was then that he met Clare Buckley, who he married in 1984. The pair was blessed with their first daughter in 1985 with another in 1989 and their youngest in 1991. 

Growing up, he saw his father helping so many people as a physician in Ambridge, Sewickley and Pittsburgh. He did much the same as an attorney, seeking to serve his clients and do everything in his power to improve their lives. He was often at his office in Ambridge late into the night, listening to Steely Dan, but most evenings he made it home for dinner with his family, sitting at the table and discussing the world and politics.

When he wasn’t working he was with his family, watching movies, teaching CCD and building decks in his backyard as well as a big one online. Bigdeck.com was ahead of its time. It was a place he hoped the dissatisfied would find shelter with strange facts, beautiful art, t-shirts and movie reviews. Zoomers would have loved it. While his first foray onto the world wide web exists now only on the way back machine, he found his true calling on Youtube. At first he was showcasing his perfect flag flying design and pontificating about the virtues of this nation and eventually he found his calling for political satire and songwriting. You can check them out at https://bit.ly/yukester and https://bit.ly/ogyukester

John was not without demons, and struggled with addiction for a number of years, but even in those years, he was always doing his best to help and support others. Eventually, he broke out of that cycle and it was around that time that a chance encounter at Safran’s Supermarket brought him together with his girlfriend, Helen Hipsley. The two shared a home and were dutiful pet parents to Conner and Foodie. Again, John made their backyard into a paradise where they could spend time with friends, watch the Steelers and play with the dogs.

In August of 2018, John was diagnosed with stage IV esophageal cancer. He was fortunate to make it into a clinical trial at Allegheny General where he received a combination of immunotherapy and chemotherapy. He was a part of the global, phase III study, Checkmate -649 which has forever changed the standard of care for patients with his diagnosis and rendered him virtually cancer free after two years. 

While the pandemic prevented him from being physically with family and friends, he upped his Youtube presence, producing internet gold regularly with his political satire smash hits. This fall, he was told that the cancer had returned, and he prepared again to fight just as he did before. Unfortunately, the hurricane that was this cancer spun off tornadoes of pulmonary emboli and pneumonia, which he eventually succumbed to this past Thursday.

He is survived by his brother, James J. Yukevich; his girlfriend, Helen Hipsley; his three girls, Polly Yukevich (Will Clow), Clare Yukevich (Lenin Guerrero), and Mary Beth Yukevich and his two grandchildren, Lenin and Emiliano.

He was preceded in death by his parents; aunts, Katheryn & Ruth Troll.

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