Jeannette Yannitelli, 83, of Garrison, died Aug. 13 after a long illness.
She was born in Florida on Nov. 11, 1937, the daughter of Andrew and Blanche (Barnes) Milam. To help provide for her family, Jeannette became an excellent fisherman, wildlife explorer and forager. After attending school, she became a real-estate agent in Fort Myers.
In October 1959, she met and married a pilot and developer, Donato Yannitelli, in Santa Rosa, Florida, and settled in his hometown of Garrison. In Philipstown, she formed fast friendships thanks to her charm, wit, generosity of spirit, authenticity and ability to connect to others in human terms, her family said.
Jeannette and Don worked together in the family development businesses (Jeannette operating heavy equipment, when necessary), forming Yanco Properties in 1964 and Andon Associates in 1969.
Jeannette quickly adapted to life in Garrison, raising her family, enjoying the social life and playing golf and tennis at the Highlands Country Club, where she won many championships, her family said.
In 1978, Don died in a plane crash in Mystic, Connecticut. Through Jeannette’s tenacity and, with the help of Don’s family and her four boys, the family businesses carried on. The supportive community in Philipstown became increasingly significant to Jeannette, and rare was an event, church fair, potluck, senior social or fundraiser where she was not spotted.
Jeannette was passionate and dedicated to whatever project she embraced in life, politics, civic affairs, sports, fishing, gardening, cooking and her love for animals. Through these interests, in 1993, she cultivated a friendship with Roger Chirico. Jeanette and Roger reveled in boating and striper fishing on the Hudson, dancing, socializing at the Cold Spring Boat Club and other events.
She is survived by her sons, Don Yannitelli II (Lori), Anthony Yannitelli (Mary Ellen), Tino Yannitelli (Susan) and Vincent Yannitelli, as well as her grandchildren: Salvatore Donato (Katie), Theodore and Aubrey Jean.
A graveside service will be held at a later date. Memorial contributions be made to the American Cancer Society (cancer.org).