DR. LEROY K. YOUNG
ITHACA - Dr. Leroy K. Young, a 45-year resident of Ithaca and retired Cornell University professor, passed away peacefully in his sleep at Oak Hill Manor Nursing Home on March 2, 2005 at the age of 90. Throughout his lifetime, Leroy shared his passion for medicine, travel, opera, classical music, photography, literature, and foreign languages with relatives, friends, patients and colleagues. He had a photographic memory, enabling him to speak and read eleven languages including French, Swedish, German, Hebrew, Latin, Japanese, Mandarin, and Cantonese. Leroy will be remembered for his love and respect for life, which was evident by his devotion in caring for his patients, his clever wit in capturing the spirit of the moment, and his charming ability to engage all who came in contact with him.He was born in Philadelphia on April 25, 1914 and attended Central High School, graduating in 1931 with 8 academic awards, ranging from Physics to French. When he entered the University of Pennsylvania in 1931 he was the first Chinese-American from Philadelphia's Chinatown to attend college. After graduating with his Bachelor of Science degree in June 1934, Leroy entered the University of Pennsylvania Medical School in September of that year. He received his MD from the UP Medical School in June 1938 and performed his residency at Pennsylvania Hospital in Philadelphia starting that fall, specializing in internal medicine.Leroy took a trip to California in the summer of 1938 to further his studies in Chinese. While visiting friends in Oakland, he met Ruth Chue, who he subsequently married in April 1942. As newlyweds, Leroy and Ruth moved to Portland, OR, where Leroy worked for the FBI during World War II. His lifelong interest in foreign languages gave him unique skills in the field of crypto-analysis (code breaking). Leroy was a member of a small team that successfully decoded an intercepted Japanese message, leading directly to the successful aerial interception of Admiral Yamamoto over the Solomon Sea in April 1943.Leroy subsequently joined the US Public Health Service and was assigned to the USPHS regional headquarters in Savannah GA, where he was responsible for tuberculosis fieldwork in Southeastern US. In March 1946, Leroy was sent on a "3 month" temporary duty assignment to Manila, Philippines, as a USPHS commissioned officer providing consulting services to the Philippine Government in tuberculosis control. Leroy served as Chief of their Tuberculosis Control Division and was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel, US Army. In 1951, Leroy established a private practice in Manila, providing medical care to US and Allied citizens, serving the US Embassy and the World Health Organization's Western Pacific Headquarters. He and Ruth formed the Bach Society of the Philippines and sponsored numerous concerts and performances during their time there.In 1957, Leroy spent a year in Ithaca, eventually earning his MBA in the first graduating class of the Sloan Institute of Hospital Administration in Cornell's Business School for Business and Public Administration. He returned to the Philippines in 1958 to be the first hospital administrator for St. Luke's Hospital in Quezon City, a brand new state-of-art medical complex sponsored by the Episcopal Church. In 1961 Leroy received a joint appointment at Cornell University, to teach Hospital Administration at Cornell's Business School, and to provide student health care at the Gannett Clinic. In the mid-1960's he assumed a full-time position as an assistant professor of Clinical and Preventive Medicine in Cornell's Department of University Health Services, serving there until his retirement as Professor Emeritus in 1979.Leroy has received numerous awards and honors during his long career as a medical professional, and was a long-time member of the Tompkins County Medical Association. In 1995, he was honored as an Outstanding Asian-American, with a citation from the Pennsylvania House of Representatives acknowledging "… his outstanding lifetime achievements and for setting a standard of excellence in his profession and government service."Surviving Leroy are his beloved wife of 63 years, Ruth Chue Young; son, Lester (Maria), and grandchildren, Martin, Diana and Anthony (West Chester, PA); son, Peter (Judy), and grandchildren, Derek, Brett and Stacey (Watertown, MA); and daughter, Lorna (Steven Cupery), and granddaughter, Devon (Milwaukee, WI). Leroy was one of eight children, of which six survive him.A memorial service will be held at 2:00 p.m., Saturday, April 2, 2005, at St. John's Episcopal Church, 210 N. Cayuga Street. Those wishing to make donations in Dr. Young's memory may consider: New York State Early Music Association (NYSEMA), 616 Coddington Road; Ithacare Quality of Life Fund, 1 Bella Vista Drive; or the Associated Alumni of Central High School (towards Leroy K. Young's Asian Studies Scholarship Fund), PO Box 26580, Philadelphia, PA 19141-6580.
Published in Ithaca Journal on Mar. 23, 2005.