Joseph White Young, formerly of Mt. Carmel, passed away June 19, 2019, after struggling with cancer, at Medical City Arlington Hospital in Arlington, Texas with his loving family by his side.
He was born on January 27, 1932 in Vincennes, Indiana, the son of Richard Steele and Melba (White) Young.
Joe grew up in Lawrenceville, Illinois. He graduated from Lawrenceville Township High School in 1950 and Eastern Illinois University in 1957 with B.S. and M.S. degrees in American History, and as a Lincoln scholar. Joe had a wonderful life growing up in Lawrenceville. He was the grandson of J. S. and Gertrude Agnew Young. After graduating from E.I.U, he taught school at Casey, Illinois, and later took a teaching position at Brookside Junior High, a new type of school in Sarasota, Florida. This school would be one of the first schools in the nation to implement the relatively new technique of team teaching for grades 6 through 9. He taught social studies and American History.
Joe never lacked for a good story to tell. One of Joe’s favorite stories from this time period was that on occasion a celebrity or famous person would visit campus. It just so happened that on one particular occasion the visitor was the well-known Democrat activist and former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt. She wanted to sit in on one of his classes. He said he greeted her and warned her that he was a “red hot Republican.” He said she just laughed, and told him to carry on. Joe loved his tenure there and developed many lifelong relationships with faculty and students who would visit from time to time.
In 1961, Joe returned to Lawrenceville, Illinois to take over the family oil business from his ailing father, R.S. Young. Joe simultaneously accepted an instructor position at the newly chartered Wabash Valley Junior College, in the southeastern Illinois town of Mt. Carmel. Joe and wife Mary Lynn decided to re-locate their growing family to Mt. Carmel.
Joe taught American History and Government at Bluff Cottage. Over the next 30 years Joe and MaryLynn raised their family of three. They were active members of the community and developed many wonderful relationships and lifelong friends. During that time Joe drilled wildcats in Illinois, Indiana, Florida and Ohio where he and his partner, Ray Farrar recorded one of the largest discoveries in the Morrow County Mt. Gilead oil boom of the early to mid-1960’s.
Joe helped with Mt. Carmel’s sesquicentennial celebration in the mid-sixties by bringing in actor/comedian Jerry Van Dyke, a longtime friend from college, as well as legendary country singer Eddy Arnold. At the suggestion of longtime friend and attorney, George W. Woodcock, Joe entered the political arena by taking a position with the GOP in the state of Illinois. He worked in many different capacities, whether it was as an aide to then Republican Governor Richard B. Ogilvie, or as assistant to the Secretary of State. He was the campaign manager for two U.S. congressional candidates. Following this stint in politics, Joe continued with his efforts in the oil business primarily in Illinois, which he remained involved up until his passing. Joe and Mary Lynn moved to Midland, Texas in 1992 where they resided until 1999, living near their oldest son J.B., his wife Billie, and their three girls. They decided to return to southern Illinois in 1999, to the southern Illinois town of Bridgeport, where Mary Lynn had grown up. They lived there until 2010, then returning to Texas to reside with their daughter Ashley in Arlington.
Over the years and through many endeavors, from his days teaching, to promoting and drilling oil wells, to his time spent in politics he developed and had numerous rewarding relationships with all kinds of people from all walks of life. The old saying “he never met a stranger” was so true and applied to Joe to a “T”. He loved his Pittsburg Pirates, pets, especially his border collies, Parker and Aggie, and most recently, his constant companion Charley, as well as his interest in many different types of historical memorabilia which he maintained through the years. Above all, he loved his family and they loved and now miss him.
Joe was survived by his wife, MaryLynn, of 67 years until her death May 6, 2020. He is also survived by their three children, J.B. Young and wife Billie of Midland Texas, Jeff Young of Arlington, Texas, and Ashley Young of Arlington, Texas; five grandchildren, James Brandon Young and wife, Kendra of Olney, Illinois, Abby King and husband, Matt of Odessa, Texas, Taylor Albo and husband, Jacob of Midland, Texas, Amanda Jackson and husband, Hilbert of Arlington, Texas and Shannon Young of Midland, Texas; great grandchildren include Jackson and Josalyn Young of Olney, Illinois, Nolan and Nora Jackson of Arlington, Texas and Kennedy King of Odessa, Texas ; brother-in-law Arthur Schmidt and his sons, Richard W., Douglas A. and David J., brother-in-law Fritz and wife Sarah Brian of Bridgeport, Illinois; and sister-in-law Claris Withrow.
Joe was preceded in death by his parents Melba White and Richard Steele Young; and only sister, Annabel Schmidt. Memorial service for Joe and his wife MaryLynn will be scheduled in Mt. Carmel, Illinois at a later date.
Memorials may be made to the Wabash County Historical Society/Museum, P.O. Box 911, Mt. Carmel, Illinois 62863 or Boystown.org and a written memorial of Joe may be made at Short-Cunningham Funeral Home, P.O. Box 397, Mt. Carmel, IL 62863.
Condolences may be made online at www.short-cunninghamfh.com or dignity.com.
Short-Cunningham Funeral Home is honored to serve Joe’s family.
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