John E. Young

02/05/1928 - 07/06/2023


Obituary For John E. Young

John E. Young
Feb. 5, 1928 – July 6, 2023

On July, 6, 2023, John E. Young of Hollidaysburg passed away at home after a brief illness surrounded by his partner, Vickie Richards, and his three living children. He was a grand 95 years old and an important presence in the lives of many friends and family. He will be sorely missed by all.

A lifelong resident of Hollidaysburg, John was born February 5, 1928 in Altoona, PA, right before the Great Depression. His parents were John Sylvester Young and Florence (Bechoefer) Young. He was of English, Scottish, German, and Jewish heritage. His father was a Blair County engineer and a surveyor, and as a young man, John and his brother helped his father survey in the surrounding counties. John would follow his father in this profession. His mother embroidered exquisite fine linens. John had many memories of sitting beside his mother at quilting bees. John had an older sister, Edith Florence Thoburn (deceased) of Rochester, NY and has a younger brother M. Carlton Stanley Young of Los Alamos, NM.

John graduated from Hollidaysburg High School and joined the Army at age 16 near the end of WWII and serving with the Big Red One. After the Army, John attended Penn State for one year where he played football. He left Penn State to work at the Cavalier Coal Company but returned to earn a B.S. degree in Civil Engineering and became a registered Professional Engineer, eventually becoming an adjunct professor at Penn State Altoona.

While working for Cavalier Coal, John met and fell in love with Mary Jane (Carrig) (deceased) from Dogtown, Pennsylvania. John and Mary Jane eloped and were married in Bethlehem, PA on Christmas Day in 1951. John and Mary Jane, together 58 years, had four children, Anna Lee (Wally Long) of Millis, MA, Mark Christian (deceased 1996), Eric Joseph (Lisa Frauenholz) of Reston, VA, and Alan Blair (Sharon Worley) of Herndon, VA.

John was lucky to find love for a second time in his later years, with Vickie Richards, formerly of Altoona, PA. In Vickie, he found a partner who had many shared interests from bluegrass and quilts to history and genealogy to a love of gardening.

John was a Vice President at Gwin Engineers/EADS Group in Altoona. Prior to working at Gwin, John traveled to Alaska for nine months to work on the Alaskan Highway. He worked on many interesting civil engineering projects designing roads and bridges. After leaving Gwin, John used his expertise to help the State of Connecticut identify roads and bridges in need of repair. Following that, he worked at Hoss’s restaurant chain as they planned and constructed new establishments throughout Pennsylvania. John restarted the family business in 1984, Young & Associates, which operated until he passed.

John was involved in Rotary, YMCA, Shriners, National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), Zion Lutheran Church, and the Masons. He was involved in Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE) as a mentor to young entrepreneurs. As a Rotarian, he and Mary Jane hosted dozens of foreign exchange students who until the day of his death were checking in on him and still remember with love their mama and tata from Pennsylvania.

As a child, John remembered watching movies at the local YMCA and dropping a button in the collection box in lieu of a coin. Growing up during the Depression, John was always one to save his pennies, but as many know, he had a generous heart. He remained a lifelong supporter of the YMCA and loved his 20+ years at Sandy Island YMCA Family Camp in New Hampshire.

At an early age, John showed an adventurous and mischievous spirit. From burning down the family chicken coop around 11 years old to taking up skiing in his mid-forties to parachuting in his sixties to sailing a catamaran in the Caribbean with his grandchildren in his seventies to para-skiing in his eighties and still skiing into his 90s. John was always looking for the next adventure.

John enjoyed traveling, skiing, sailing, racquetball, hunting, tennis, gardening, and genealogy. He skied with his children and grandchildren and was a ski coach for the local Special Olympics. He loved sailing, even adding a sail to his canoe. He frequently took his grandchildren traveling, as well as skiing, hunting, and rafting. He traveled to China, Eastern Europe, and all over the USA and went to Honduras with Habitat for Humanity.

In addition to his three adult children, John is survived by five grandchildren: Michael Long (Cotton Estes), Wally Long III (Kristina), Shane Young (Marisa Lavalette), Casey (Young) Papageorge (Nick), and Seth Andrews (Tracy), and six great-grandchildren: Grayson Long and Wally Long IV, Lincoln and Zoey Papageorge, and Noah and Ethan Andrews.

John has requested that there be no funeral or memorial service. It has been John’s plan for many years to donate his body to Hershey Medical Center. John figured he didn’t need his old body anymore and hoped it would help science and of course reminded us to take a tax deduction for the donation.

In lieu of any flowers that you might graciously wish to give to the family in remembrance of John, please make donations in his name to the Blair County Genealogical Society, the Hollidaysburg YMCA, the Shriners, or the Blair County Historical Society.

Please feel free to share your thoughts, memories and stories on your relationship with John at The family would love to hear about “John” stories from others.

Arrangements are by Plank, Stitt & Stevens Funeral Home, Hollidaysburg.

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  • 07/08/2023

    In memory of John Young. One thing about a well written obituary is that it tells you so much more about a person that you thought you knew. What a life John!! We'll done. And what a character he was. Somehow he and my wife share lineage. John and I discussed that but never really sorted it out. One day some years ago John came to me and gave me the genealogy work he did on the Elliott line of local Blair County. He said to use it however I want but don't give it to ancestry dot com because they charge way to much for their membership. That made me smile. RIP

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