Robert Terry Young

Obituary
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Reverend
Dr. Robert Terry Young
A Sprig of Hope has Passed
LAKE WYLIE -- The beloved Reverend Dr. Young, of Lake Wylie, died Monday, August 31, 2009, at the age of 74. Surrounded by loved ones, he passed peacefully to the Lord at Presbyterian Hospital in Charlotte after battling heart disease for many years. He will be greatly missed but his passion, his strength and his unconditional love for all of us will never be forgotten.
'Bob', 'Dad', 'Granddad', 'Sunshine', 'Bobo', 'Coach', was born June 17, 1935 on a family farm in Woodfin, North Carolina. He was the 12th of 13 children of Robert F. and Rheba Tipton Young. In high school, he played football, basketball and baseball and was elected Governor of Boys State. Buncombe County honored him with 'Robert Young Day' upon his return from Washington, DC.
The first in his family to graduate from college, Bob attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on a full scholarship where he was elected President of the Student Body. After graduating from UNC in 1957, Young went on to the Duke University Divinity School where he graduated in 1960.
After Duke, he studied the New Testament at the prestigious University of Glasgow, Scotland under Dr. William Barkley, the legendary theologian and Minister to the Church of Scotland. Reverend Young served as Minister at Skyland United Methodist Church and Boone United Methodist Church. He became the Assistant Dean of the Duke University Divinity School, then was named Minister to Duke University and Honorary Dean of Duke Chapel. Following his first heart surgery in 1983, he returned to the local ministry at Broad Street United Methodist Church. He worked for his close friend, US Senator Terry Sanford, and the UNC Charlotte Athletic Department until returning to the ministry at River Hills Community Church, where he served until shortly before his passing. Two books of his sermons were published: 'A Sprig of Hope' and 'Holy Moments.'
Throughout his life, Reverend Young fought for progressive social change. During the Civil Rights and Equal Rights movements, he proudly shared the pulpit with influential leaders including Martin Luther King Sr. and Reverend Billy Graham. Powerful influences in his life included his 'brother' Dr. C. Eric Lincoln, Dr. Carlisle Marney, Senator Terry Sanford, UNC Chapel Hill President William Friday, and lifelong friend, Tom Lambeth.
In his lifelong ministry, he was famous for powerful sermons, meaningful prayers and questionable singing. Reverend Young baptized, married and gave last rites to literally hundreds of people. He had an uncanny ability to remember the name of everyone he touched and many of their family members.
In addition to religion, Reverend Young loved his family, politics, sports and food. He was a constant presence in his own family 1/8s life, no matter where they were and no matter how busy he was. Rarely a day went by without a call, a note or a visit.
He loved all sports - tennis, golf, basketball, football - except boxing. Even though he was a die-hard Duke basketball fan, he took pride in performing the marriage of UNC Coach Roy Williams and his wife, Wanda. One of his favorite pictures, which appeared on the front of the local papers, showed him on the Duke football sideline next to his close friend Coach Mike McGee. Coach McGee appeared to be praying. Bob appeared to be--adamantly coaching.
Reverend Young received numerous degrees and awards, but perhaps was proudest of two: the C. Eric Lincoln Award and the Order of the Long Leaf Pine, North Carolina's highest civilian honor.
He is survived by the love of his life, wife Virginia; his four children, Sherri Myers and her husband, Dean, Terri Young and her husband, Joe VonKallist, Robert Young, and his wife, Julie, and Andrew Young and his wife, Cheri; his two stepchildren, Jennifer Hausman and her husband, Jason, and Lee Richbourg and his wife, Abi; 10 beloved grandchildren, Dustin, Nic, Chris, Tyler, Brooke, Brody, Gracie, Cooper, Connor and Eli; and one brother, Perry Deane Young.
If it is true that all we leave behind is our impact on others, then he has left a gold mine. We will always treasure and remember him. He never met a stranger.
A quote from Reverend Young's book 'Holy Moments': 'Sometimes faith in God is all we have, and we find the power to endure our suffering. Sometimes that is all we have. Always that is enough. Perhaps that is all we can ask for -- expect, or hope for - faith in God will see us through. Faith can transform our suffering into a Holy Moment.' In honor of Bob Young, contributions can be made any of the following charities: River Hills Emergency Medical Services, Lake Wylie, South Carolina; River Hills Community Church, Lake Wylie, South Carolina; Robert T. Young Endowment at Duke University Chapel, Durham, North Carolina.
Visitation will be held at River Hills Community Church Friday, September 4, 2009 from 6 to 8 p.m.. Services will be held at River Hills Community Church Saturday, September 5, 2009 at 2 p.m. Interment will be held immediately following the service at River Hills Community Church Cemetery.
M. L. Ford & Sons Funeral Home, Lake Wylie, SC is serving the family of Mr. Young.
Published in Charlotte Observer on Sept. 2, 2009
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