Thomas Richard Young
March 31, 1921 – July 25, 2019
Tom Young was a San Diego original. Eldest of two sons, he was born at 933 I Avenue, Coronado, to a Navy ship's chief commissary steward, Percy James Young and Eva Lorena Nunamaker Young. A few years later his brother Robert was born. Both brothers grew up living in the Normal Heights area when San Diego was a growing, prospering community where tuna fleets filled the harbor and dairy farms covered Mission Valley. Tom always possessed a curious and adventurous nature - as a boy he could be seen riding his bike down Texas Street, just a dirt path, to the river and to Balboa Park. in 1927 at the age of six, his curiosity was rewarded when he was allowed to observe up close the "Spirit of St. Louis" on the mudflats just minutes prior to the initial leg of Charles Lindberg's historic nonstop solo airplane flight across the Atlantic Ocean from New York to Perris. That early introduction inspired Tom to pursue an aviation career, first in the military and later in civilian life. Graduating from Grossmont Union High School in 1940, he worked for two years at Consolidated Aircraft Corporation assembling wings and gas tanks and installing propellers, engines and generators prior to enlisting in the US Army Air Corps in November 1942. He served in World War II in the European Theater of Operations in 1945 and 1946 supervising enlisted men inspecting and maintaining various aircraft, P-47, P-51 and P-38 fighters and C-47 cargo planes. On the C-47's Tom served as an aerial engineer and assisted the pilot during flight. Returning from the war, Tom received his pilot's license and managed flight maintenance teams at North Island which serviced airplanes, helicopters and jet aircraft post-WWII, Korea and Vietnam.
Tom met Mary Ellen, his future wife, on a blind date at a YMCA big band dance in San Diego and were married a year later at St. John of the Cross Catholic Church in Lemon Grove on January 25, 1948. After a few years they moved into their new La Mesa home where they raised three children. While Tom continued his career, he also attended night school engineering classes at San Diego City College and SDSU. He excelled in mechanical and aeronautical fields which aided his advancement at North Island. An Eagle Scout in his youth, he was an avid outdoorsman and volunteered years later as a fish and game warden for the State. On various weekends for years, Tom was a voracious student of World and American history - facts learned from readings and travels were seldom forgotten and often discussed.
Having retired in 1979, Tom and Mary Ellen joined a new volunteer group in Old Town, Las Amapolas de Oro (The Golden Poppies) and the Park's nonprofit cooperating association, Boosters of Old Town (BOOT). They both immediately immersed themselves into the activities of both organizations, spearheading the first guided tours in Old Town and developing the educational and interpretive programs. Together, they were the very first docents in California to wear period attire. Since he was known to be so handy, Tom graciously accepted many assignments to design, build and repair most anything BOOT requested. He served many years as BOOT Treasurer and board member and accompanied Mary Ellen in the 1980's and '90's when she served on the Board of Directors for the California League of Park Associations (CALPA) headquartered in Sacramento. Tom and Mary Ellen were lovingly called the "Old Town Ambassadors" and were so honored by the State Parks Director who declared July 31, 2013 as "Tom and Mary Ellen Young Day" in the city and county of San Diego for their 35 years of service to State Parks.
Tom is survived by his daughter Kathy Kramer and husband Jim of Dana Point and son Kevin Young of La Mesa; five grandchildren - Kory Kramer of Corona del Mar and Kelly Kramer of Pacific Beach; and Travis Young, Kristen Young Mendive and Katie Young Reid of Idaho. His nine great grandchildren include six Kramers - Dylan, Gavin and Liam of Pacific Beach, Claire, Kate and Rose of Corona del Mar; and Farrah and Sidrah Mendive of Middleton and Every Reid of Boise. Tom was preceded in death by his wife of nearly 67 years, Mary Ellen, on December 27, 2014 and son, Curtis Richard Young, November 21, 2012.
- Kathryn Kramer, Daughter
- Jim Kramer, Son-in-law
- Kevin Young, Son
- Curtis Richard Young, Son (deceased)
- Eva Lorena Young, Mother (deceased)
- Percy James Young, Father (deceased)
5 Grandchildren - Kory Kramer, Kelly Kramer, Travis Young, Kristen Young Mendive, and Katie Young Reid.
9 Great Grandchildren Kylan Kramer, Gavin Kramer, Liam Kramer, Claire Kramer, Kate Kramer, Rose Kramer, Farrah Mendive, Sidrah Mendive, and Emery Reid.
- Funeral Mass Friday, August 9, 2019
- Graveside Service Friday, August 9, 2019
Thomas Richard Young
August 9, 2019
I will always remember Tom Young in Old Town San Diego dressed in period attire particularly during Holiday Events. Tom and Mary Ellen were lovely people that I had the honor to know and love. Heaven is a better place now.
August 7, 2019
MY FAVORITE STORY by TOM was about how he was trying to impress Mary Ellen before they were a couple, by flying low & slow over her house in his 'Piper Cub' type plane & dipping the wings to say, "HELLO"!
"Those were the days, my friend!"
I.M.H.O. Thomas R. Young was the epidemy of The Classic Old World True Gentleman!