Self-storage industry figure Rick Yonis passed away last month at the age of 61.

A fixture at state and national trade shows, Yonis was president of Sentry Self Storage Management, a Coral Springs, FL-based operator with 24 owned and managed facilities in Texas, Florida, Georgia and South Carolina. Yonis stepped down from the position in October due to his ailing health. On November 14, Yonis died from sarcoma cancer at his home in Grapevine, TX.

Yonis worked in the storage industry for more than 25 years, starting out as a Regional Vice President for Storage USA in 1993. Yonis was a past president and current member of the Florida Self Storage Association, and was also a member of the Texas Self Storage Association. He also helped found an online storage auction site, StorageStuff.Bid, that later merged with another auction company. Yonis served as president at Sentry Self Storage since 2006.

Rick Yonis

Following Yonis’ death, friends, family, colleagues and other industry peers shared their condolences and memories on his memorial page.

“I’ve worked for Rick for 20 years with Storage USA, then Sentry. His excitement for this industry was contagious. Every sentence he spoke was inspirational and guaranteed loyalty,” wrote Rene Breaux, a Sentry employee at Your Storage Place in Houston, TX.

Harry Affleck, whose family owns the Your Storage Place facilities managed by Sentry said Yonis was more than just a business partner.

“My family was fortunate to know Rick for as long as I can remember us owning mini warehouses. He was the rock to our portfolio and also taught us so much about the industry.” Affleck wrote, “More importantly, he was a great friend and often times I found us just talking about baseball or something unrelated to our properties whenever he came to town.”

Mario Feghali, co-founder of storage finder SpareFoot, said that he would frequently have new employees talk on the phone with Yonis so that they could get an overview of the industry from an operator’s perspective.

“Rick was a friend. Someone I could count on to give us feedback that was always open, honest, and candid,” Feghali said. “He was incredibly generous with his time and was an amazing advocate.”

Alexander Harris