John Wilfred Young, Jr. was born on November 24th, 1944, in Chicago, IL,
to John Wilfred Young and Gwendolyn Prindiville Young. At an early age
is family moved to Rutland, ND and John attended his elementary and
high school years in Rutland. He was on the track, basketball, baseball,
and football teams and spent lots of time working on his grandparent’s farm, too.
After graduation, he attended Science School in Wahpeton for a 1 ½ years, but on March 25th, 1964, he was inducted into the United Sates Army. He was sent to Ft. Devens Base in MA for training and received commendation as an expert rifleman. In August he was sent to Iran where he ‘spied on the Russians’ for two yrs. He finished out his duty at Vint Hill Farms Station in Warrenton, VA. While serving there, he was part of the First United States Army Basketball Championship Team & received a Letter of Commendation for his teamwork and good sportsmanship. He was honorably discharged on March 22nd, 1968.
While in VA, he met and married Elaine Jamieson. They moved to Fargo, ND and John attended North Dakota State University. He received a degree in Business in 1972, then accepted a job with the Champion Spark Plug Co. and moved to Aurora, IL. He also worked for Beldon Wire and Cable before becoming an Insurance Agent with American Family Insurance in 1986. This career move brought John and his family to Mesa, AZ. John was an agent for 29 years and 5 mos. retiring on August 31, 2015. He was very grateful to his daughter Kelly for managing the office so efficiently during his recent ‘down’ times.
In 1999, John met his soul mate, Sandy Veldhuizen. Together they enjoyed golfing, shopping, dining out, dancing, traveling, and many other fun times. Sandy cared for him and was by his side through the entire time of illness. His youngest son, Tim, was able to adjust his work and activities and was also a very loving caregiver for the last five months. During the last month of his life, children Travis, Kelly, and Joshua were with him often as well; also his brothers and Mom. He was surrounded by love.
John learned he had small cell lung cancer in November of 2013. He withstood a metastatic brain tumor removal and subsequent chemo and radiation and led a somewhat normal life the second half of 2014. Unfortunately, in 2015, he had several neurological events that weakened him terribly and when the cancer returned his body was just too weak to fight it again. He died at home on December 12, 2015.
His greatest passion was golf. He belonged to the Aurora Country Club and Alta Mesa County Club, each for many years. He remained an avid golfer until his health made it impossible. He couldn’t even do his crosswords anymore and getting out at all was difficult. He dealt with these disappointments and his frustrations quietly and bravely.
John is survived by Sandy, one daughter - Kelly Young (& David Davidson) of Gilbert, three sons - Travis of Phoenix, Joshua of Rancho Palos Verdes, CA, and Timothy of Mesa; also Sandy’s two daughters - Stacy ( Ben) Mickey of Gilbert and Renee’ ( Aron) Hook of Golden, CO. John has nine surviving grandchildren: Jake Davidson, Kaitlyn Young, Reasen Young, Aidan, Owen, Tate & Sloane Mickey and Sydney & Addison Hook. He esp. loved those grandchildren. He is also survived by his mom Gwen (Gwendolyn) Young of Mesa, and two bothers: Harold and Vincent Young, both of Mesa; sister-in-law Candy Young of Spokane, WA; also many nieces and nephews, other family and many friends.
Preceding him in death were his father and his brother Patrick Young.
Funeral services will be held on Tuesday, December 22nd, at 11AM at St. Bridget Catholic Church where John helped lay the cornerstones. A light lunch and celebration of life is being held in Collins Hall immediately following the service. Interment will be in Forman, North Dakota in the family plot.
In lieu of flowers, donations in his honor may be made to the Salvation Army Kroc Center, 1375 East Broadway Rd., Phoenix, AZ 85040 OR donate on line to Hospice of the Valley.