Ira YOUNG

Obituary

YOUNG _ Ira of West Vancouver, British Columbia and Malibu Beach, California died January 29, 2003 at his home in Malibu with family at his side. Ira spent his life in pursuit of many passions. He was deeply loved and will be greatly missed by the many people he touched. Born in 1926 in Edmonton, Alberta, Ira earned his B.Sc. at the University of Alberta and an M.A. in Clinical Psychology. He was an instructor in Psychology at Hobart & William Smith in Geneva, New York before starting a career in real estate. Ira founded the Western Realty Management group of companies in Edmonton in 1953 and embarked on a journey to create some of the most notable and ground breaking land development projects in Canada. He earned a reputation as one of Canada's leading private developers and builders. His vision evolved from suburban subdivision projects to apartments, office buildings, industrial building projects and shopping centers, spanning from western to eastern Canada, Los Angeles and Hawaii. Most notable was his award winning Coquitlam Center outside of Vancouver, British Columbia. 1980 Merit Award winner of the International Council of Shopping Centers and Governor General's Award for Architecture, the first two-level center in western Canada, this project was recognized for innovations in energy efficiency and the dedicated spaces and design elements furnished by local artists. It also became the catalyst for the massive development of the immediate area and realized the Town Center scheme originally proposed to the local district by Ira Young's company. It was at this time that his love and support for the arts began to eclipse his prominence in the real estate business. Starting as an avid collector of Eskimo art, Ira and his wife Lori developed a collection of art including major works of legendary American Artists; the likes of Jasper Johns, Andy Warhol, Robert Rauschenberg, Roy Lichtenstein and perhaps the most important collection of Cy Twombly in North America. All the while they actively supported and befriended many emerging Canadian and American artists, displaying their works alongside the rest of their collection. Their collections have been shown in Vancouver, London, Montreal, Los Angeles and Halifax with over 90 pieces donated to the Vancouver Art Gallery. A member of The Vancouver Art Gallery's Board of Trustees since 1996, he was also active on the Gallery's Program, Acquisitions and Master Planning Committees, always arguing for world class standards through international and local perspectives. In the 1980's Ira and Lori's interest in automotive racing led to the acquisition of Malibu Grand Prix in Canoga Park, California. A family entertainment company featuring 35 amusement parks across the United States showcasing 3/4 scale Indy Type race cars, Ira threw his heart and soul into the venture eventually expanding into Canada, France, Portugal and Japan. True to form, he went all out and created a race team to compete in the IMSA GTU class of racing in North America. Surprising to many, but not to him, his team won their first race out, their first season out, and earned Mazda the Manufacturers title. Ira backed this venture in more ways than one. He drove in both the Daytona 24 hour and Sebring 12 hour endurance races. Also true to form, he recognized promise and gave opportunities to then unknown drivers like Jack Baldwin, Tommy Kendall and crew chief Clayton Cunningham. His commitment to racing was rewarded with a team with four consecutive years as IMSA GTU Champion and a car that now sits in an automotive museum as the most winning automobile in auto racing industry. Ira Young, a real estate developer with a vision, an outspoken advocate of the arts, and a race car driver at heart, will be forever missed by wife Lori Young; son Jason Young of New York, son Clinton Young and daughter-in-law Randi; daughters Jennifer and Susan Young of Toronto; step-son Christopher Wensley and daughter-in-law Tatiana of West Vancouver, step-daughter Blair and son-in-law Paul Donald of Edmonton and step-son Adam Wensley and daughter-in-law Laura of Upland, California and grandchildren Samantha, Jamie, Axel, Morgan, Miya, Dylan and Alejandro. A celebration of life with family and friends will be held at the Capilano Golf and Country Club on Saturday, March 1st, 2003, 420 Southborough Drive, West Vancouver, B.C. at 2:00 pm. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made "In memory of Ira Young" to the Vancouver Art Gallery, 750 Hornby Street, Vancouver, B.C. V6Z 2H7 or to a charity of your choice.

Published in The Vancouver Sun on Feb. 13, 2003
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