'Little brother' looks back fondly on Jack Young's life
What does a little brother say about his big brother?
Jack L. Young asked that question in opening the eulogy for his brother, Bob L. Young, at a memorial service at Grace United Methodist Church in Coal Center.
Bob Young, a longtime resident of North Charleroi, died Nov. 2, at age 83. His younger brother, who lives in Shepherdstown, W.Va., said the service was held on “a day of mixed emotions.”
“We are here to share in our collective grief and sorrow for having lost someone so near and dear to each of us,” he told those gathered. “But we also are here to celebrate the wonderful life of someone who was, in his own way, bigger than life for each of us.”
Young recalled that his brother was born and raised in the Monongahela Valley.
“He lived for 83 years, and 79 of those years were spent right here in the Valley,” Jack Young said. “The only times he did not lived here were the two years he was in the Army during the Korean conflict in the early 1950s and two other years when he and (Bob Young's wife) Yvonne lived briefly in Ohio.”
Sons of the late Clarence William and Lois Stark Young, the brothers grew up in Fayette City. Their father was an auto mechanic and worked for many years at Kinder and Mollenauer Auto Supplies in Charleroi.
“People often ask who has the biggest influence on a child,” Jack Young said. “Most of us would answer, ‘My parents,' and that's true. But I read a magazine article that said perhaps siblings play an even more important role, and of course, spouses also have a great influence. I can certainly say that Bob was always a big contributor to who I am and what I have accomplished in life.”
Jack Young, an outstanding baseball player at Charleroi High School and California State College, had a distinguished career as a U.S. Navy officer from 1956 through 1980, and then worked for several years in the consulting profession.
“Bob was five years older than I,” Jack Young said at the service. “He was born in 1929, and I was born in 1934. As we grew up, Bob could have easily said that I was too little or too young to run along with him and the older guys.
“But that was not the case; Bob always saw to it that I was able to participate, not only with my friends but also with his friends. As such, I had to continually stretch to try to achieve at that next higher level.
“Bob didn't leave me in the dust; he brought me along to the next level. I am thoroughly convinced that the way he took me along enabled me to be a better person, a better competitor, more confident and to achieve many things that I would never otherwise have been able to achieve.
“He was always there to lead me and to support me when I needed help. I could not have achieved what I have done without my brother. He was my best friend.”
Bob Young played an important role in his brother's decision to attend Charleroi High School.
“I attended Fayette City Elementary School through eighth grade,” Jack Young recalled. “Fayette City had a high school, but it closed in the 1940s. Children were then given the choice of attending either Marion High School or Fairhope or Charleroi High.
“I selected Charleroi, because Bob had gone there ahead of me and spoke so highly about everything there, especially the students and teachers. And he was right.”
Jack Young said people say how important the “three Rs” were in school – “you know, readin', ritin' and rithmitic.'
“In reflecting on Bob's life and what was important to him, I would say he emphasized three other important building blocks, the Three Fs – friends, family and faith,” Jack Young said.
“I just don't know anyone who had more friends than my brother. He was always a big people person. He was not a name dropper; he really cared about people and what their worlds were like.
“Over the past several days, I have spoken to people we grew up with in Fayette City. Oliver ‘Fuddle' Niemela, who now lives in Richmond, Va., grew up with us.
“Ollie told me that Bob brought absolute joy into his life. And Bill ‘Jed” Janeri, who lives near Dayton, Ohio, remembers how Bob always watched out for him as he was growing up. Bill was a year younger than I. Several other longtime friends offered similar stories to me about how Bob influenced their lives in one way or another.”
Bob Young kept track of his friends.
“He was a ‘BC' – before computers – person,” Jack Young said. “But he maintained a strong following of his friends with those stacks of notes and cards he had stuffed in his shirt or coat pockets.
“And the backup capability to his ‘shirt pocket data base' would be to call our cousin, Helen Scullion Backstrom, in Fayette City. Helen still possesses almost total recall of all the information that Bob couldn't come up with.”
Bob Young was always reaching out to help friends and make new acquaintances, Jack Young said.
“I can't begin to tell you how many times someone would say to me, ‘Oh, you're Bob Young's brother,'” Jack Young said, smiling.
He emphasized Bob Young's commitment to family by saying “We Are Family,” the theme song of the 1979 Pittsburgh Pirates World Series team, would have been an appropriate tune for Bob Young and his wife, who were married for 61 years.
“They started to raise their family years earlier, back in the 1950s,” he said. “First came Cheryl, Terry and Pam – then all of the spouses and children and grandchildren and most recently, great-grandson Isaac.
“Bob loved all of them. If you look up the word family in the dictionary, you'll probably see a picture of the Young family. They do everything together; they are the poster family for togetherness.”
Bob Young and his wife, the former Yvonne Teulle, were raised in Christian homes and “worked very hard to see that their family was raised in a wholesome and loving Christian environment,” Jack Young said.
“The entire family has been active in the church throughout the years,” Jack Young said. “And it was such a blessing when they became part of the Grace United Methodist Church family.”
Jack Young added a light touch to his eulogy by recalling his brother being known as “The Candy Man.”
“Over the years, Bob made it a habit to always have candy – BB Bats, Gummy Bears – with him to give to children of the church every Sunday,” he said. “He also gave candy to children at other venues; hence he was frequently called ‘The Candy Man' by the kids.
“But before he became ‘The Candy Man,' he was ‘The Candy Boy.' Bob always loved sweets. He never really learned to walk past a candy store or a bakery. He just couldn't resist the sweets.”
Jack Young reminded his audience that when he and his brother were growing up, they often went to Charleroi to the movies.
“Charleroi had four theaters then – the Coyle, State, Palace and Menlo,” he said. “The Menlo was noted for having double features every Saturday afternoon. When Bob went to those double feature matinees, he would always have a big bag of candy with him; it was one big sweet-fest.
“Over the years, when it came to sweets and candy, I think Bob thought life was one continuous double feature. So, I guess it was natural that he was called ‘The Candy Man' in later years.”
He said the lyrics to the song made popular by Sammy Davis Jr. emphasize that point.
“One verse in that song says The Candy Man ‘... can take a sunrise and sprinkle it with dew ... cover it with choc'late and a miracle or two ... mixes it with love and makes the world taste good,'” Jack Young said. “That was my big brother, ‘The Candy Man.' He made the world much better.”