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Vivian Lenora Bridgeforth Young

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Vivian Lenora Bridgeforth Young Obituary
Vivian Lenora Bridgeforth Young

AGE: 100 • Wilmington

Vivian Lenora Bridgeforth Young, beloved wife of 73 years to Leonard "Joe" Young, Sr., gently and peacefully went to her eternal place of rest on Saturday, January 30, 2016. A brilliantly spirited, generous and feisty lady until the end when she lost a heroic battle to pancreatic cancer.

A gem, determined to avoid the ordinary, she was the only child born to Nellie L. Bridgeforth and Hammit Bridgeforth in Richmond, Virginia on December 18, 1915. She recently achieved one of her life goals of reaching 100 years of age and to be of sound mind while doing so. Throughout the month of December, Vivian celebrated this significant milestone through small, intimate gatherings with family, friends, and neighbors.

Vivian attended Armstrong High School and graduated from Virginia Union University with a major in English. She was the longest living of a group of childhood friends that represented a generation, not to be seen again. They were extraordinary, strong, brilliant, beautiful, and educated women from Richmond.

Vivian lived a long-storied and adventuresome life, made possible, largely, by her husband's professional work. She lived and traveled on four continents

(Africa, Europe, North America and South America). Her most frequent travel companion was her only son and only child. Leonard "Butch" Young, Jr. In the late 50's and 60's, when the family lived in Geneva, Switzerland they hosted young American students, traveled and toured across Europe.

The years in the United States were spent in Virginia, Tennessee, Arizona, and Florida, from where the family departed to Switzerland in 1955 when her husband joined the United Nations International Labor Organization. In subsequent years, the family was assigned to Nairobi, Kenya and Parimaribo, Suriname. As Vivian would say, "I've spent a quarter of a century outside North America and it doesn't get much better than that."

Vivian touched many lives during her life span, giving and helping others. Her commitment to children's issues was unwavering. She worked with the Children's Defense Fund; She founded the International School in Suriname, that continues to thrive to this day. She was the founder of Stand for Children Delaware. She served on the Foster Care Review Board in Delaware, and tutored children. Vivian's caring, energy, commitment to children and to helping others are key elements to her rich legacy. It will continue to radiate far and wide and ripple into the future.

Vivian had a heart of gold and any time spent with her included a life-lesson filled with love. If her path ever crossed yours, you were blessed because to know her was one of life's treasures.

She personified the gift of friendship. If she counted you among her friends, she nurtured and cared for the friendship, helping us to understand the importance of a friend and leaving us with an indelible example. She'll always be remembered and loved.

A progressive lady, even in death. Many years ago she gifted her body to science via the Humanity Gifts Registry. A celebration of remembrance will occur in the springtime to honor her amazing life.

Vivian leaves to cherish her memory, her husband Joe and son Leonard, Loretta her devoted daughter-in-law and care-giver; four grandchildren, David (Tioni), Leonard III, Bernard Walker (Blanca) and Danielle Simmonds (Michael, Sr.); six adorable and smart great grandchildren that she adored: Amaya Dove, Quincy Austin, Michael Charles, London Louise, Bernard, III and Leslie. A host of cousins, nieces, nephews and friends the worldwide.

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Published in The News Journal from Feb. 5 to Feb. 7, 2016
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