Cover photo for Richard J. Yankowitz's Obituary
Richard J. Yankowitz Profile Photo

Richard J. Yankowitz

March 17, 1943 — January 19, 2024

Philadelphia, PA

Richard J. Yankowitz

Richard “Yank” Yankowitz, passed away at the age of 80 on January 19, 2024, in Havertown, PA. He was born on March 17, 1943, in Philadelphia, PA to Solomon and Dorothy (Zolot) Yankowitz. He is survived by his mother, Dorothy Yankowitz; brother, Edward Yankowitz; daughters, Amy (Craig) Milsten and Randie (Lon) Edelman; son, Matthew (Kelsey) Yankowitz; and his 5 grandchildren: Alex, Andy, Finch, Maya & Brielle.  

Yank attended Overbook High School where he played basketball and baseball and ran both cross country and track. He graduated from West Chester University with a bachelor’s degree in health and physical education and earned his master’s degree in the same from Temple University. He began his teaching career at Leeds Junior High. Playing and coaching sports was Yank’s greatest passion. Not only did he teach his students, but he was a mentor, a motivator, and a counselor to them.  He cared about every student he coached and gave them all the tools they needed to be successful.  He expected excellence from his players and would not accept anything less.  

Yank spent 34 years teaching and coaching at Murrell Dobbins Tech. During his time there, his basketball teams had a combined total of 486 victories making him the winningest coach in Philadelphia Public League history.  Some of his biggest honors included: being named 1984 Basketball Coach of the Year by the Philadelphia Daily News, winning the 1985 Philadelphia Public League Championship with some former NBA greats (Bo Kimble & Doug Overton), and the late-great Hank Gathers (d. 1989). In 1994, Yank was named the Philadelphia Public League Coaches Association Coach of the Year. He was inducted into the Overbrook HS Sports Hall of Fame in 2000, and the Philadelphia Jewish Sports Hall of Fame in 2012. Most recently, in 2018 he was honored by receiving North Philadelphia High School’s Lifetime Achievement Award. Yank retired in 2006, giving 40 years of his life to the Philadelphia School District.  Yank was loved and cherished by everyone he encountered. He was a Philadelphia sports legend.  

After he retired, Yank became an assistant baseball coach at Penn State Abington and played in both 55 and over and 65 and over baseball leagues. He continued to volunteer as an assistant baseball and basketball coach.  During his time away from the baseball diamond, Yank also enjoyed spending time with his brother, mother, children, and grandchildren. He was a loving and caring son, father, and grandfather. He was a devoted and loyal friend to many colleagues and fellow coaches. The love, compassion, and sincere attention he showered upon everyone he encountered was one of his greatest gifts. 

One of the most infectious parts of Yank’s personality consisted of his ability to maintain a childhood level of silliness throughout every day of his life. He loved to make up silly songs, sayings, and invent outrageous nicknames for everyone he met.  He left long and rambling voicemails full of his crazy and uniquely-Yank vernacular. 

Everyone who has ever known him can attest that there was, and never will be, another human on this Earth like Yank.  

You are invited to visit with Yank’s family and friends from 3:00 – 5:00 pm on Monday, January 29, 2024, at Doubletree by Hilton Hotel, 4727 Concord Pike, Wilmington, Delaware, 19803.  His Life Celebration memorial service will follow at 5:00 pm. Interment will be held privately.   

Anyone who wishes to honor Richard (Yank) Yankowitz, may contribute to Yank’s Memorial Scholarship of Leadership in Excellence of Sport and Academia. 

“This honor will be awarded annually to a deserving student athlete/scholar who entered Dobbins to learn and is demonstrating how he/she will not only be exceptional on the field/court but go forth to serve their chosen community with dedication and heart.”   

Donations can be made payable to: Dobbins Alumni Association. Checks or money orders can be mailed to: Carolyn Monson, President, Dobbins Alumni Association, P.O. Box 572, Bala Cynwyd, PA 19004. Payments by Cash App are also accepted at: $mustangpower1938 (indicate Coach Yank Scholarship.) 

Arrangements are by Matthew J. Grieco of Grieco Funeral Home & Crematory, Inc. (484-734-8100) of Kennett Square.  To view Richard's online tribute, and to share a memory with his family, please visit www.griecofunerals.com


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Past Services

Visitation

Monday, January 29, 2024

3:00 - 5:00 pm (Eastern time)

DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Wilmington

4727 Concord Pike, Wilmington, DE 19803

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Celebration of Life

Monday, January 29, 2024

5:00 - 6:00 pm (Eastern time)

DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Wilmington

4727 Concord Pike, Wilmington, DE 19803

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

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