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Yvonne Pipkin

Yvonne Pipkin (1948–2024)

Yvonne Marianne Pipkin, 75, woman of the world, died peacefully in Austin, Texas on January 17, 2024, after an afternoon of listening to her favorite music with her daughter Melissa. 

Yvonne was born in The Hague, Netherlands in 1948 to Henricus Sodenkamp and Maria Dekker, who loved her immensely. Yvonne graduated from high school with an aspiring dream to become an artist. However, The Netherlands only had one art school and space was extremely limited making admissions very difficult. Yvonne was unable to attend art school at that time but she went on to hold a variety of jobs; including working for the Dutch Broadcast Systems, an artist agency, and an advertising agency. 

In 1970, Yvonne joined KLM (The Royal Dutch Airlines) as an Airline Hostess. She traveled all over the world, including being stationed in Johannesburg, South Africa and Kano, Nigeria. Every place she visited she collected dolls. Yvonne gifted the doll collection to her grandmother Oma Dekker, who later passed them down to Melissa. 

In 1977 on a flight to Singapore Yvonne met her husband Jim Pipkin. Yvonne and Jim married and settled down in Texas. They had one child together, a daughter named Melissa. In 1984 they moved to New Braunfels in a house right on the Guadalupe River. Throughout Yvonne’s travels and life experiences she learned to not take anything for granted. She realized how fortunate she and her family were to live in the Hill Country of Texas; where she had her own little sanctuary.  

Yvonne later fulfilled her life-long dream of attending art school at Southwest Texas State University in 1989 where she was a fine arts major. She specialized in etching; her favorite medium. Her beautifully extensive portfolio consisted of charcoals, pen and ink, etchings, watercolor, and even lithographs. She was a diligent learner, always reading and researching for her interests- whether they be her notebooks from finishing school filled with recipes, table settings, and the like or her notebooks from art school filled with fonts, murals, iconography, animals, and inspirational images. 

The Pipkin’s had a slogan, “You name it, we feed it.” She loved all wildlife and hoped to preserve it for the next generation. She was a long-time docent for the San Antonio Zoo, spreading her love of animals by volunteering with kids, taking zoo animals to local elementary schools. She was active in her community, including painting a mural for the Hertzberg Circus Museum in San Antonio, creating a King Cavalier Parade float for the San Antonio Zoo full of large paper mache animals, crafting elaborate costumes and sets for school plays in New Braunfels, hosting their First United Methodist Sunday school group at the house for picnics by the river, and more.  

After her husband passed Yvonne felt the call of the Santa Fe art scene and moved there in the early 2000s. Although always a creator at heart; it was in Sante Fe where she became more of a collector. She continued to support the causes she felt passionately about. 

In 2012 desiring a similar environment to the one she grew up in, Yvonne moved to Seattle. Her neighborhood in Everett was full of yards blossoming with flowers and was very reminiscent of the Netherlands. While in Everett, she served as a Senior Companion, taking time to visit with seniors in her community. She often took them on errands, to lunch, and to doctor’s appointments. In 2023 she moved back to Texas to be closer to her family and we are very thankful for that time together. 

Yvonne was preceded in death by her parents Henricus Sodenkamp and Maria Dekker, her husband Jim Pipkin, and her sister Ellen Sodenkamp. She is survived by her daughter Melissa Thomas, son-in-law Jonathan Thomas, granddaughter Marianne Thomas; her step-son Steve Pipkin and his wife Blanche Pipkin, her brothers and sisters-in-law, Hubert and Janice Pipkin, and BillyAnne Pipkin, and her cousins Cees and Ineke de Veer. Yvonne loved her furry friends, treating each and every one of them as the valuable family members they were. She included the dogs in family photos and those were some of her most treasured photos. She is preceded by her pets Bobo, Mr. BoJangles, Ziggy, Rowdy, Pete, and Grace, plus a few kitty friends in Santa Fe.  

A celebration of Yvonne’s life and art will be held Saturday, March 9th from 6-8pm at the Primal Art Gallery in Dripping Springs, Texas. Yvonne’s art that is sold that night will be put into a scholarship fund for her granddaughter Marianne. The family asks that donations be made to PAWS Shelter of Central Texas in memory of Yvonne Pipkin.

Yvonne Pipkin
Yvonne Pipkin

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