Anita Louise (Yengich) Kanakis, 59, died on October 3, 2021 after a courageous 10-year battle with cancer. She was born April 22, 1962 in Salt Lake City to Marko and Mary Pasquali Yengich. She was the youngest of 5 children. Anita was a member of the Catholic Church.
Anita worked at the Utah State Capitol as a Senior Publications Specialist teaming with Legislative Leadership and Primary Support Offices to ensure the daily activities of the House and Senate legislative sessions were captured and published for daily review by the legislators and the public. Anita successfully initiated an effort to support state agencies publishing needs which resulted in an annual cost savings for the State of Utah.
In 1988, Anita moved to Denver and began her career with United Airlines. Anita had over 20 years of experience with operational and maintenance aviation data. She was part of the Management Work Group for over 6 years culminating in co-authoring a professional textbook regarding Aviation Information Management.
With her airline flight benefit Anita travelled all over Europe. She often took her mother on special trips around the United States. In the summer of 1994, Anita travelled to Athens, Greece and met the love of her life Yanni Kanakis. They married in Greece and Yanni moved to Denver where they had a lovely home and their dog named Stella. In 2008, Yanni died the night before he was to fly home from visiting his family in Greece.
After 20 years with United Airlines, Anita left Denver and moved to Oak Harbor, Washington. There she met and married J.D. Willis. Anita and J.D. enjoyed the beauty of Whidbey Island and happy years together until his death in 2013. Anita stayed in Washington and took care of J.D.’s mother, Mary, until her death. Anita returned to Utah in 2020.
Anita was a kind, generous and loving person. She was always upbeat and fun to be around. Anita was a gift to all who knew her. She kept her positive spirit and attitude even during her battle with cancer.
Anita is survived by her sisters Marie and Doug Taylor, Rose and Andy Dunn, niece Shay Taylor, nephew Shon and Tania Taylor, niece Lindsey and Peter Bianco, nephew Justin Dunn and four great nieces and two great nephews and her dearest friend Eric Brantseg. Anita was preceded in death by her father Marko, mother Mary, brothers Anthony and Michael and husbands Yanni and J.D.
Funeral Mass will be held on Saturday, October 23, 2021 at 10:30 A.M. at the Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church in Sandy, UT.
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