In memory: Yolanda Dybdahl

The community leader served as a UC Santa Cruz Foundation trustee during a period of significant change

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Yolanda Dybdahl, Santa Cruz County community leader and former UC Santa Cruz foundation Trustee.
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Yolanda Dybdahl (right) and Chris Dybdahl, M.D. (center) with Mary McPherson at a Seymour Center fundraising event. The Dybdahls were active in many Santa Cruz County organizations and leaders in health care.

Yolanda Addeman Dybdahl, a long-time volunteer leader in Santa Cruz County institutions and a former UC Santa Cruz Foundation trustee, died peacefully in her home July 21. She was 96.

Both Yolanda and her husband, Chris Dybdahl, M.D., were involved with UC Santa Cruz beginning with its establishment when they became members of UCSC Affiliates. As a UC Santa Cruz Foundation trustee, Yolanda Dybdahl helped oversee the University's fundraising from 1997 to 2007. In that period the campus significantly expanded support from donors and established 10 new academic chairs endowed by private gifts.

Dybdahl's other community work included the Dominican Hospital Advisory Board and Dominican Hospital Foundation Board on which she served for 32 years. She was instrumental in the hospital's development of Dominican Oaks, a retirement community inspired by a similar project in Santa Rosa that has been led by a close friend. As a volunteer in Dominican Hospital Auxiliary she logged over 20,000 hours. In 1973 Santa Cruz Chamber of Commerce named her Woman of the Year.

Dybdahl was born Yolanda Addeman. She grew up in El Paso, Texas on a property owned by her grandparents, who had emigrated with her parents from Hidalgo Del Parral, Chihuahua, Mexico. Her first language was Spanish. She met Chris when she was 21 at her first volunteer job teaching Spanish at William Beaumont Army Hospital.  

In 1951 they moved to Santa Cruz, and in 1953 Chris was asked to be a founding partner in Santa Cruz Medical Center, now known as Palo Alto Medical Foundation, Santa Cruz. Chris remained active in Santa Cruz's medical community after retirement, continuing well into his 90's.

When Chris died in 2014, they had been married 67 years. Yolanda and Chris reared four children, three of whom attended UCSC. Four grandchildren are UC graduates.

Chris and Yolanda created a charitable remainder unitrust in 1997. Their planned gift will benefit both the UC Santa Cruz Foundation and the University of Colorado Medical School, where Chris earned his M.D. The portion of the gift that will go to UCSC will create the Dr. Chris and Yolanda Dybdahl Leadership Opportunity Award.