‹ Return to Current Obituaries

Order Flowers now for guaranteed delivery before Robert's visitation.

Robert "Bob" Yavits

Robert (Bob) Yavits of Ithaca, NY died September 6, 2022 at the age of 72. He was born on October 7, 1949 in Ithaca. He grew up in the New York City area, but loved returning to Ithaca to spend summers with his grandparents. He moved back to Ithaca as a young adult and has lived there ever since. 

Bob attended Ithaca College, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology and master’s degree in communications. After a whirlwind courtship of three months, he married Betsy (Patterson) Yavits on January 7, 1984. Together they raised their children with love and compassion. 

Bob worked at Tompkins Cortland Community College for 27 years, retiring in 2018. He was proud of his work bringing technology to the college and supporting faculty learning how to use online instructional software. He also taught a handful of commuter courses each semester, which he continued to do after retiring.

Spirituality held an incredibly important part of Bob’s life. He was raised Jewish and as an adult explored many religions, including several branches of Christianity and Buddhism. His life goal was to find the truth in the universe. He never stopped learning about psychology, science, meditation, and religion as he worked to understand the hidden elements that connect them all. 

Bob was passionate about music. He spent many years traveling to and camping at music festivals during his down time. 

In every part of his life Bob built community. He sought connection with other people. He is remembered by all who have met him for his genuine kindness and words of wisdom. 

Bob is survived by his daughter Lillian (Frank D’Agostino) Yavits, girlfriend Sarolta De Faltay, mother Laura Yavits, sister Susan (Al) Weiser, and beloved grandsons Owen, Teddy, Gage, and Jonathan. He was preceded in death by his wife Betsy Yavits, son Travis Yavits, and father Myron Yavits. 

A private burial is being held. A celebration of life will follow at a later date, the family will let loved ones know when scheduled.



To plant memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Robert Yavits, please visit our flower store.


I have few words to express my feelings about losing my colleague, friend, and big brother, Bob. We worked together at TC3 for years and spent time at music festivals together. I always looked forward to our monthly lunches and check-ins. Bob was kind, compassionate, creative, and caring. I'm honored to know that I carry part of him with me all the time.

Eric Machan Howd Sep 26 2022 1:40 PM

I worked with Bob at TC3 and was involved in his initial hiring back some decades ago. Talk about the right decision at the right time! It was the advent of the Internet with all of its nascent opportunities for exploring and implementing new tools for teaching and learning. In his role as academic technologist, Bob had a gift for working with faculty in a most supportive way that encouraged them to learn about and to adopt the tools made possible by the Internet in their work, both in the classroom and online. His was a transformative presence. I most miss our post-retirement occasional lunches together where I especially enjoyed his reflections on his own spiritual voyage. He was a man of peace and basic good will.

Bill Demo Sep 20 2022 3:48 PM

I knew Bob from his years at TC3. Every day that I interacted with Bob was a good day; no matter what mood I was in, his smile could lift me up. His kindness, inquisitiveness, and calm were inspiring. He will be missed.

Victoria Zeppelin Sep 15 2022 2:47 PM

Dear Lillian, My Love to you, your dad and your mom. I met you at your mom's memorial and I've know your dad for over 40 years. I've cherished Bob's and Betsy's union and their presence at my home. I've loved them both and now miss them both. I'm sure they are together celebrating the afterlife with my husband, Dale, who also transitioned this year. I wish you comfort and joy in your memories of your MOM and DAD. All my love!

Nancy Gallagher Sep 15 2022 9:26 AM

Bob Yavits was enormously helpful to me when I began teaching at TC3. He was able to show me how to utilize different software programs that generated much more class time for my students. He was kind, patient, great sense of humor. He managed to survive very painful chapters of his life with a renewed sense of optimism and kindness. His passing is a loss not only for his family, but for our community.

Kim Frey Sep 13 2022 4:56 PM

I met Bob at TC3 in 2003---my first year there. He gently coaxed me from online learning skeptic to active practitioner--one conversation at a time. He was genuinely interested in helping folks conquer tech phobia and had a profound influence on me. I trusted him, he never let me down. Find peace!

David D. Flaten Sep 11 2022 8:16 PM

We met YaYa back in 1977 and he was just one of those souls who seemed "familiar" from the get-go. Over the years we got to share many times pursuing spiritual quests, discussing philosophy, partying and Zobo dancing. Even when we were no longer physically close we remained in touch - often sending each other identical books we had just discovered. It is quite apparent his loving kindness touched many during his lifetime. Bob's light will remain burning bright in our hearts and memories. A hui hou from Irene and the Yates Street tribe.

Irene Jessen Sep 10 2022 6:52 PM

A candle was lit in memory of Robert Yavits

Branwen Drew Sep 9 2022 8:57 PM

Bob and I met in 1963 and remained the closest of friends all through these years until his passing. Words cannot convey the depths of loss I am experiencing. Yet, it has been some comfort to see the affection so many have expressed for Bob in recent days, and the widespread recognition of his eternally amiable nature, highly developed spirituality, and good good heart. He will be very missed by so many, which may be the truest testament about who he was. Farewell, my dear old friend.

Gene I Katz Sep 9 2022 6:08 PM

I recall meeting Bob at TC3 , as a student. He was so helpful, supportive and calm. I immediately knew, that a met a fellow intuitive. I’ll miss seeing your post, Bob. I’ll miss connecting with you online… I’ll miss seeing your light 😢😢😢

Dani Sep 9 2022 2:57 PM

Show More Entries