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Owen Leonard Young
January 18, 1936 ~ September 21, 2023 (age 87) 87 Years Old
17 Trees, Flowers, or Condolences have been shared with support of Owen's family - View on Tribute Wall
Owen Leonard Young, age 87 of Valle Crucis, went to sleep in Jesus on Thursday September 21, surrounded by his loving family. Owen was raised in Matney, a community nestled between Valle Crucis and Banner Elk. He was the son of the late Reverend Roscoe Young and Reverend Violet McGuire Young of Morgan County, TN.
Owen and his wife Pauline (Polly) would build on a romance that blossomed in an apple orchard over 70 years ago, raising five daughters and helping to raise their grandchildren.
Owen proudly served his country in the Air Force during the Cold War, working as a flight crew member while surveilling enemy territory. Not long thereafter, Owen worked at Brushy Mountain State Penitentiary in TN, becoming Sergeant of Guards prior to the age of 30.
In the mid sixties, Owen and Polly returned to Valle Crucis where Owen worked at Vermont American while also earning a business degree taking night classes at Caldwell Community College. Owen was passionate that all workers be treated fairly while working in a safe environment. This passion led him to help organize a labor union while at Vermont American and was named president of the local chapter. Officials from AFL-CIO would subsequently recruit Owen to work as a labor union organizer, requiring that he attend the George Meany Center for Labor Studies in Maryland. Owen was a true advocate for improving working conditions resulting in his helping to organize numerous labor unions in NC, SC and GA until retiring at age 56. Thereafter, Owen would divide his time between Valle Crucis and his beloved farm in Morgan County, TN, raising cattle while also caring for his elderly parents.
Owen enjoyed hunting and fishing and was commonly referred to as “The Bear Hunter” by his hunting buddies or to others was simply “Big O”.
Prior to Polly’s death last year, Owen and she enjoyed gardening, spending time with old friends at the local senior center and entertaining family and friends. Owen and Polly always opened their home to those who may not have family to share the holidays, making sure that they were well fed and given a gift at Christmas. In his later years, Owen was commonly found on his laptop checking social media for news of his loved ones or googling some new topic of interest. He also enjoyed watching baseball, particularly the Braves. Owen is most known for his generous heart always lending a hand to help others.
Owen is survived by five daughters, Yvonne Lamphier (Roger), of Birch Run, MI, Christy Young of Butler, TN, Anita MacNeil (Bill), of Charlotte, devoted caregiver, Joanetta Young of the home, Novella Bumgarner (Brian), of Foscoe: sisters, Rebecca Worthley of Burrville, TN, Sharon Cox of Fredericksburg, VA, Virginia Ooten of Harriman, TN: three grandchildren, Jennifer Nassaur of Cherokee, NC, Sammy Wheatley (Amanda) of Mountain City, TN, Kyle Owen Dennis (Cierra), of Ooltewah, TN: five great grandchildren, Monica Carlis of Blowing Rock, Michael Carlis of Bristol, TN, Ian Henson of Lansing, NC, Portia Morehead of Martinsburg, WV, Kynlee and Dylan Anita Dennis both of Ooltewah, TN: one great, great grandchild, Leona Carlis of Maryland, VA. In addition to his parents and wife, Owen was preceded in death by his brothers Morris (Patricia), of Oak Ridge, TN and Thomas (Lila), of Boone, NC. Owen is also survived by a number of nieces, nephews and extended family.
Owen’s family wishes to express deep gratitude to the team at Watauga Medical Center of Boone for their compassionate care.
A Celebration of Life will be held Saturday afternoon, September 30, at the Austin and Barnes Funeral Home beginning with a reception at 12:30 followed by the service at 2:00. Interment with military honors will follow at the Matney Liberty Church cemetery. Officiating will be Pastor Josias Flores of the Banner Elk, Seventh Day Adventist Church. Special music by Rusty and Christy Blanton.
Memorials may be made to the Watauga County Rescue Squad, PO Box 3487, Boone, NC 28607 or Matney Liberty Church Cemetery Fund P.O.Box 1671 Banner Elk NC 28604
Online condolences may be shared with the family at www:austinandbarnesfuneralhome.com.