Yolanda Jean Gross, who retired from teaching at P.S. 49 in the South Bronx in 1996 but continued as a classroom substitute at the Springs School and worked as its librarian for a time, died on Sunday at Southampton Hospital after an illness. She was 74.
Ms. Gross, who was known as Yo, and her husband, Richie Gross, had long had a weekend and vacation house on Hildreth Place in Springs. She kept in touch with many of the former students she had come to know during her years at P.S. 49 and invited some of them to Springs to visit with their own children as the years went by.
She was a member of the League of Women Voters of the Hamptons, volunteered for the Hamptons International Film Festival for a number of years, and was a member of a local teachers’ book club. She attended services at the Springs Presbyterian Church.
Mr. Gross said that she was embraced immediately by the community here and was loved and respected by family, friends, colleagues, and students.
She was born Yolanda Jean Wright to Paul and Lora Jean Wright in New York City on Feb. 15, 1939. She went to George Washington High School in New York City, where her gift for music was expressed through playing flute and piano. She later attended the Manhattan School of Music, where she trained in classical piano. Her performances included one in New York’s Carnegie Hall.
She then went to Fisk University in Nashville before going to work at P.S. 49, teaching kindergarten and second grade. She later became a teacher trainer at P.S. 49 and was very highly regarded by her peers, Mr. Gross said.
She and her husband were married on June 11, 1977. A highlight for the couple was an annual cruise with friends. Other joys for her included listening to jazz and savoring a fine glass of wine. She loved to entertain, preparing meals for friends and family.
Ms. Gross had been called in by the Springs School when it was learned that its librarian was only a few months away from having a baby as the end of the year approached. She was called back as a fill-in in the fall and continued until the end of the school year the following June, Mr. Gross said.
Her parents, who later lived in Danville, Va., died before her. In addition to her husband, she is survived by a daughter, Lora Jackson of Manhattan, a sister, Elizabeth Wright Simpson of the Bronx, a niece, a nephew, and one grand-nephew.