Yona Diane Victor

Denver, CO: It is with great sadness that we inform you of the passing of Dr. Yona Diane Victor, 75.

Zikhronah l’vrakhah, May she be remembered as a blessing

Yona is the loving and devoted mother of Ellen Esther Smirnoff and stepmother of Anastasia L. Zaikina (Carlos Estrada). Yona was predeceased by her husband Leonid Smirnoff of blessed memory.

Yona is the sister of Phil Victor and Dr. Rena Kay of blessed memory (Dr. Jerald Kay); Grandmother of Edgar Alejandro Estrada; Aunt of Dr. Sarah Kay (Joshua Lewis), Rachel Kay (James Brennan) and Jonathan Kay (Mary Spadoni).

Yona was born in Maryland to Selma and Samuel Victor, and completed her undergraduate degree (Phi Beta Kappa), graduate degree, and medical degree (Alpha Omega Alpha) at Case Western Reserve University, having started medical school at a time when only 5% of those admitted to medical school nationwide were women. She came to Denver for her internship and residency in Internal Medicine and fell in love with skiing double-black diamond trails and met and married Leonid. Together they enjoyed playing tennis, camping in the Rocky Mountains, and would hunt mushrooms in the fall to make his famous mushroom soup.

Yona was very compassionate to people and animals alike. She worked to bring her stepdaughter Anastasia over from Russia so she could live with her and Ellen. Yona enjoyed having her dogs and together with her daughter Ellen participated in rescuing a variety of animals in the area. A life-long learner, when she enrolled Ellen in dance classes, she signed herself up too!

Throughout her life and career, her empathy and wisdom guided her desire to care for others. Yona was a general internist in a solo practice in Aurora, Colorado, later taught science classes and medical ethics at Platt College, and worked as a community chaplain assisting Rabbi Eliot Baskin. She was a member of Temple Sinai for over 30 years, enjoying Torah Study with Rabbi Zwerin, singing in the High Holy Day Choir, and Friday services.


Graveside service, Friday, 4/23/21 at 11:00 AM, Fairmount Cemetery; Meet at Staging Area “B” (Alameda Ave. gate) at 10:45 AM for procession to graveside. A highlighted map can be found in the tribute wall section. Livestream available on Feldman Mortuary’s YouTube channel. 


A physical shiva will be held Sunday, April 25 at 12-4pm at 9306 E. Asbury Place, Denver (outdoor short visits) The family respectfully asks that masks be worn at all times, and that social distancing requirements are followed. 


Zoom- Shiva on Monday, April 26, at 6PM MST


Meeting ID: 846 2309 1957
Passcode: Yona


Zoom- Shiva on Tuesday, April 27 at 7PM MST

Meeting ID: 955 7408 9415
Passcode: Yona


In lieu of flowers, please donate to causes important to Yona, including Doctors Without Borders (https://donate.doctorswithoutborders.org/onetime.cfm?_ga=2.11353140.1028500036.1619102245-1613971515.1619102245&_gac=1.37023380.1619102362.EAIaIQobChMI99OOgIqS8AIVDWtvBB1MSwyaEAAYASAAEgLdEPD_BwE),


Parkinson’s Foundation (https://secure3.convio.net/prkorg/site/SPageNavigator/2017_donate_form_2.html?_ga=2.2491700.580608672.1619102729-38271537.1619102729&_gac=1.153234956.1619102729.EAIaIQobChMItdbf44uS8AIVuXRvBB1dHgKCEAAYASAAEgLehfD_BwE),


Arthritis Foundation (https://www.arthritis.org/donate),


and Dumb Friends League (https://www.arthritis.org/donate). 



As we express our sympathy to Ellen, Anastasia, Yona’s family, loved ones and friends, we say:

HaMakom yenachem etkhem b’tokh sh’ar aveilei Tzion viYerushalayim,

May God comfort you along with all who mourn in Zion and Jerusalem.