Louis "Wayne" Yankoff, passed away on February 19, 2023, after battling Parkinson's Disease and Lewy Body Dementia. Wayne was born on April 24, 1948, in San Antonio, TX, growing up in Miles City, MT, but Great Falls, MT was the place he called home for most of his adult life.\n \nWayne was married to his loving wife, Kathy, for 51 beautiful years, having tied the knot on January 1, 1972. She only jokingly threatened to smother him with a pillow a couple of times. The had one daughter, Lauren who gave them two grandsons – Luke and Cael, whom Wayne delighted in being their “papa” pretty much more than anything.\n\nWayne was an accomplished man, having obtained a BA in Psychology from Concordia College in 1971 and a Master’s Degree in counseling from the College of Great Falls in 1999. He lived a life of service – starting his professional career as a Special Education teacher working with adjudicated youth In Rapid City, SD. He spent the bulk of his career serving the community of Great Falls as a firefighter for 20 years, including two-terms as the president of the IAFF Local #8 where he was instrumental in establishing critical incident stress debriefing peer counseling and greater community involvement. Upon retiring from the department, Wayne transitioned into his dream career as a counselor, once again serving youth working as the lead therapist for Intermountain Children’s Home Day Treatment program in Helena, MT as well as in private practice.\n\nWayne was a man of many passions, and he never did anything halfway. Whether it was winning a bike race with a 3 speed, skiing across Yellowstone National Park or showing up to embarrass his brother Tom with a pirate eye patch or Groucho Marx glasses. He was happiest building furniture in his woodworking shop, where he sacrificed a couple of fingertips. He spent his free time bicycling, motorcycling, cross-country skiing, reading, creative writing, and fishing. Wayne was known to dance with his full heart, sometimes in the living room with his daughter & wife, a polka in a bar with his sister Sue, or always his own creation, the Appleton shuffle, at wedding receptions. He was a man who lived life to the fullest, and his presence will be sorely missed – even his off-key singing.\n\nWayne had a genuine ear for listening empathetically and providing excellent guidance and counsel. He had a spiritually based moral compass that guided how he treated people and the causes he championed. Working with Beyond War, conscientious objection, PTSD/trauma training & counseling, native American groups & men’s support groups and retreats. Wayne fought for socioeconomic justice through all his actions.\n\nWayne was curious beyond measure, especially about people. He loved learning and loved to learn about people. The people he loved to learn about the most were his family. He always showed those closest to him his love through his actions – building a wooden racetrack or fishing with his grandsons, showing up to events for his daughter, reaching out with a letter or text, even as it grew harder for him to do so, Wayne always had a way of being present.\n\nWayne was the son of Maxine and Louis Yankoff and was predeceased by his mother, father, and sister, Tammy. He is survived and greatly missed by his loving wife, Kathy, daughter Lauren, and grandsons Luke and Cael. Wayne is also survived by his siblings and family, Tom (Dina), Patty, Sue (Nino), Elsie, and Richard (Cheryl), sister-in-law Sue Hartman (Mike), 4 nieces and 9 nephews he loved very much.\n\nA celebration of Wayne's life will be held at 2:00 pm on April 22, 2023, at the New Hope Lutheran Church Fireside Room located at 3125 5th Avenue S, Great Falls, MT. 59405.\nA ceremony to spread Wayne's ashes along the Tongue River in Miles City, MT, will happen later this summer, with details to come.\n\nIn lieu of flowers, please make donations in Wayne’s name to the IAFF Local #8 Benevolent Fund, Fire Station #1, 105 9th St. So, Great Falls MT. 59401.\n\nWayne lived his life with passion, grace, and a never-give-up attitude, and he will be remembered and celebrated for all that he accomplished and the lives he touched. Rest in peace, Wayne; you will be missed but never forgotten.