Yoke’s Fresh Market Founder Dies

Charles “Chuck” Marshall Yoke was 92
Bridget Goldschmidt
Managing Editor
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Yoke’s Fresh Market Founder Dies Charles "Chuck" Marshall Yoke
Charles "Chuck" Marshall Yoke (Courtesy of Lauer Funeral)

Charles “Chuck” Marshall Yoke, founder of Pacific Northwest independent supermarket chain Yoke’s Fresh Market, died July 21 at the age of 92 at his home in Spokane, Wash., according to a published report.

In 1953, Yoke’s parents operated a grocery store in Deer Park, Wash. At that time, he formed a partnership with his father, adding checkouts, shopping carts and refrigerated display cases, reported CBS affiliate KEPR, citing company officials. In 1960, Yoke took over full ownership of the business, becoming one of the first in the area to offer full-service delis, pharmacies and floral departments.

“Chuck Yoke always remained loyal to the people that helped him build the Yoke’s grocery empire,” the company said. “In 1990, he sold the stores to his employees, leading the way for employee-owned enterprise in the Northwest.”

A native of eastern Washington, Yoke attended Washington State University, where he earned a degree in marketing and sales management, and then served in the Air Force.

Yoke’s survivors include his wife of 70 years, Gwen; five children; 20 grandchildren; 42 great-grandchildren; five step great-grandchildren; and one great-great-granddaughter. He was preceded in death by his son Steve.

Spokane-based Yoke’s has 17 stores in Washington and Idaho, and employs 1,615 associates.

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