Sadly, the performer known as Yahoo (who played Star Wilson Stoner on The Edge of Night) passed away earlier in 2017.
The sweet voice of Yahee Fernandes-Baxter, of New York, NY and LaSalle, ON, left us on Thursday, March 30, 2017, at Henry Ford Hospital, in Detroit, MI, after a brief battle with a rare cancer.
Yahee was born in Wareham, MA. She was the fifth of ten daughters of Arthur and Rose Fernandes of Marion, MA. In 1984, she married Gregory Baxter in Marion, MA, and had two sons, Whitney and Ryan.
In 1969, Yahee earned an Associate of Arts degree in Theatre and Voice, from Colby Junior College (now Colby-Sawyer College) in New London, NH. She then matriculated to Dartmouth College in Hanover, NH as one of the first 70 women admitted. While at Dartmouth, Yahee was the first female, African-American cheerleader and first woman to pledge a fraternity, Phoenix. When her area of study was discontinued, she transferred to Smith College in Northampton, MA, where, in 1972, she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre and Voice. Yahee later changed her major to English and Education and in 1973, Smith, granted her a Master of Arts in Teaching.
Show business was Yahee's vocational calling and so, she moved to New York, NY, to pursue her craft. She became an Entertainer – singing, dancing, and acting – and a member of all the performers unions – Screen Actors Guild (SAG), American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA), and Actors Equity Association (AEA).
Yahee fell in love with Broadway, performing both "on" and "off" for many years in numerous shows, including: The Skin of our Teeth, Scapino, Salute to Broadway, Rockaway Boulevard, Gotta Dance, Divine Comedy, Myths of America Smith, Silver Queen, Ragtime Blues, Three Musketeers, La Gente, South Pacific, Storyville, Othello, Hollywood Heartbreak, The Brixton Recovery, and Starting Over Again. Yahee appeared in more than 150 television commercials and radio voiceovers, for brands such as: Budweiser, Dawn Dishwashing Liquid, Luvs Diapers, Ford, I Love New. Yahee originated, and played, for almost five years, the role of Star Stoner/Wilson on the long-running ABC network soap opera, The Edge of Night.
Yahee would leave the boards to become a full-time mom to her sons and to pursue her volunteerism and community activity. For over 20 years, she was deeply involved with Hunter College Campus Schools, where Whitney and Ryan both attended and graduated. She is a member of Jack & Jill of America., Inc. She was active in St. Andrews Anglican church, the Praise Band, LaSalle Community and the Oasis Women's choirs, Harbour Lights singers and community theatre with Theater Alive. Yahee has now brought her sweet voice to the Lord's choir.
Yahee is survived by her husband, Gregory, and her sons, Whitney and Ryan, all of New York, NY. She is also survived by her nine sisters and many, many cousins, nieces, nephews, grandnieces and grandnephews, largely in MA, FL, and CA.
In lieu of a funeral, the family is planning a celebration of Yahee's life that will reflect the bubbling, vivacious, full-of-life person that she was, and that all those who came in contact with her remember.
A memorial fund in Yahee's name at St. Andrews Anglican Church (519-734-7682), 205 Laurier Drive, LaSalle, ON N9J 1L5, has been established for those who wish to make a donation.
What though the radiance which was once so bright
Be now for ever taken from my sight,
Though nothing can bring back the hour
Of Splendor in the grass, of glory in the flower;
We will grieve not, rather find
Strength in what remains behind…
- William Wordsworth (1804)