Villager strives to encourage others, fulfills childhood dream to become an author.
Photo: Nicole Hamel
Yvonne Combs looks forward to becoming involved in Villages activities and meeting more people who call The Villages home.
“I’ve met the kindest people here; the people are so loving,” says the Vietnam native who became an American citizen in 1975. “We will overcome the global pandemic challenges and emerge stronger than ever. I’ve learned through life lessons it takes patience, faith, and trust to get through life’s changes… I encourage people to press on and have hope.”
Yvonne, 72, grew up in war-torn Vietnam, the daughter of a Vietnamese mother and French father during the Indochina War.
One of her goals is to inspire others to have hope and faith, which she touches on in her autobiography “Me’Tisse” (a woman of mixed ancestry), where she tells of being abused by school peers who considered her an intrusive “half-breed.” She also pens of being raped, surviving war, fire, flood, family chaos, the grief of widowhood twice, and the death of her only child.
However, Yvonne chooses not to let adverse times control her life.
“Life’s storms are capable of generating powerful winds,” she writes in her book. “When times get tough, I continue to love, support, and encourage others. Even at the lowest, most stressful points in my life, sometimes the most healing that you can do is be there for others to help the gloom of dark days turn to sunshine.”
Living in The Villages allows Yvonne to see the beauty of each day.
Yvonne’s first husband, Charlie Combs, was a World War II prisoner of war. They were married for 39 years before he died in 2009. She was married to her second husband, Dr. David Dietrich, for 10 months. He died in 2018.
She’s happy to have found love again. Yvonne is engaged to Judge Michael Abrams, whom she was introduced to by Villages friends Judy and Dan Matthew.
Yvonne has three granddaughters, Samantha, Amanda, and Vanessa; two great-grandsons, Gabriel and Aiden; and daughter-in-law, Susan, whom all live in Ocala.
The Villager recently finished her second book on the 2,000-year history of Vietnam, and she continues to do book signings of “Me’tisse” to benefit veterans.
“I love the veterans,” she says. “We need to honor veterans and appreciate them with a grateful heart.”
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