Arizona remembers the life and contributions of community leader Doug Yonko

Arizona last Friday learned of the untimely passing of Arizona business leader Doug Yonko.

Doug Yonko

Governor Doug Ducey released the following statement regarding the longtime Hensley Beverage Co. executive:

“I’m deeply saddened to hear of the loss of my friend and an outstanding Arizonan, Doug Yonko. 

“I met Doug when I was at Arizona State University working as a college rep for Hensley Beverage Company. He would become someone I’d turn to throughout my life for advice and mentorship. 

“Throughout Arizona, Doug quickly became known for his immense business acumen, civic engagement and generous willingness to give back to the state he loved so much. Among the many issues he devoted himself to include advancing Arizona’s trade relationship with Mexico, creating opportunities for emerging entrepreneurs, and making Phoenix a cleaner, safer place to live. 

“Doug was also a doting father and husband, and I know his kind heart and one-of-a-kind sense of humor will be missed by many. His legacy will live on in the issues and causes he cared about so deeply. Angela and I send our love and deepest condolences to Doug’s wife, Elisabeth, and his daughters and grandchildren.”

Arizona Chamber of Commerce & Industry President and CEO Glenn Hamer said this about the former Chamber chairman in a statement to the Chamber Board of Directors:

“Doug was a long-serving, dedicated officer and past chair of the Chamber board, a great friend and advocate for the state, and my personal mentor and cherished friend. Generous, honorable, and ethical are just a few of the plethora of words that immediately spring to mind when I think of Doug.  

“The world lost a great and good man today and is truly a better place because of the life he championed while here among us.”

Condolences poured in from across the state on social media.

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema wrote on Twitter:

“Doug Yonko was a generous, thoughtful man who did so much for our state. He was unfailingly kind to me all these years, no matter the politics.

“I’m so sad for the loss of my friend and I’m sending my love to his wife, kids, grandkids and his @HensleyBeverage family.”

State Rep. Lorenzo Sierra wrote on Twitter:

“Part of having an amazing life are the amazing people who befriend and enrich our experiences. One such person who came into my life was Doug Yonko. Doug was one of the people who saw in me things I did not see in myself.

“As he was preparing to become chairman of the @AZHCC he asked if I would serve as one of his vice chairs. Doug taught me much, and his impact will influence my public service for years to come. Rest In Peace, Doug.”

State Rep. T.J. Shope called Yonko “a giant in Arizona’s business community and a supporter of so many different ventures. Locally, he became a great friend to St. James Catholic Church and our annual fiesta.”

A longtime supporter and advocate of the tourism and hospitality industry, Yonko was remembered by the Arizona Lodging and Tourism Association as a “tourism industry icon, community leader, policy giant and steadfast friend. He worked tirelessly day in and day out to give back to the state he loved dearly. His loss is immeasurable.”

He is survived by his wife Elisabeth, two daughters and two grandchildren.

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