Frank W. Yakaitis, 94, city auditor

August 03, 2006

Frank William Yakaitis, a retired Baltimore municipal auditor and former band leader, died along with his son and daughter-in-law Sunday in a head-on collision on a Mexican highway that also injured a daughter and killed two people in the other vehicle.

The family was heading from Arizona to a vacation beach home at Rocky Point in Mexico, riding in a Chevrolet Suburban. It was hit by a Nissan Titan whose driver was attempting to pass another vehicle in a "caution zone," police said.

The dead included Dr. Ronald W. Yakaitis, 64, of Tucson, a retired University of Maryland-educated anesthesiologist who grew up in Arbutus, and his wife, Carroll Ann Yakaitis, 62.

Christine Yakaitis Wills, 55, a former attorney living in Tuscon, was critically injured and taken to the University Medical Center there - where Dr. Yakaitis practiced and taught after moving from Baltimore 35 years ago, and his wife had been head trauma nurse at the time.

Frank Yakaitis, who was 94, was born in Newcastle, Pa. and moved to Baltimore as a child. He was a graduate of St. Alphonsus Parochial School in downtown Baltimore and had worked in the old city Department of Audits.

For many years, Mr. Yakaitis played the saxophone and led the Debonaires, a 10-piece dance band that regularly performed at the Emerson, Southern, Belvedere and Lord Baltimore hotels.

"He was an excellent leader and he helped make the band be popular," said its drummer, Ray Powell of Glen Burnie.

Mr. Yakaitis and his wife, the former Anna Mikelaitis, moved to Tucson in 1977 to be near their son. Mrs. Yakaitis died earlier this year. They had lived for many years and raised their children on Elm Ridge Avenue in Arbutus.

Dr. Yakaitis was a 1959 graduate of Mount St. Joseph High School and received his medical degree from the University of Maryland in 1967.

He also was a talented musician who spent his younger years playing piano and composing music, even playing professionally with his father in Baltimore before choosing a medical career, said Dr. Charles Otto, a University of Arizona anesthesiologist and longtime friend.

A former president of the Arizona Society of Anesthesiologists, Dr. Yakaitis retired from his practice three years ago, according to a newsletter of the Medical Alumni Association of the University of Maryland.

Carroll Ann Backer Yakaitis graduated from Rincon High School in Tucson and the University of Arizona. She met Dr. Yakaitis while he was practicing at TMC as part of his internship in Phoenix, said their son, Steve Yakaitis of Tucson.

In addition to their son, the couple are survived by a daughter, Lisa Yakaitis of Phoenix, Ariz., and a granddaughter. Mrs. Yakaitis also leaves her mother, Margueritte Backer, and two sisters, Cindy Linhares and Diane Rupkey, all of Tucson. A funeral Mass will be offered Aug. 14 at St. Pius X Roman Catholic Church in Tucson.

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