Richard A. Young (aka Animal J. Moose)
3 June 1936 ~ 17 July 2019
“To fly west, my friend, is a flight we all must take, for a final check.”
Born in Denver, Colorado to Ann and Arthur Young, Richard attended Mountair High School in Denver and the University of Colorado in Boulder. His love and passion was aviation. He wanted to be a pilot ever since he was five years old, and he accomplished that dream in more ways than one! After graduating from the University of Colorado with Aeronautical Engineering and Business Administration degrees, he went on to work for NACO/NASA (determining aerodynamics for fuel consumption vs. power) and then Boeing (worked on the first ever-Presidential plane for Dwight Eisenhower). Later he would go on to serve our country in Vietnam (over 100 combat missions) as an Air Force Pilot, leading a United States Air Force (USAF) Rescue Team. He was so inspired by their motto “That Others May Live, ” that he said he wanted that as the title of his autobiography if he ever wrote one.
In 1968, he left the USAF and started his flying career with Northwest Airlines (NWA) beginning with the 727 as the engineer or third pilot, and worked his way up the ladder flying different aircraft, ending his career as a 747 Captain when he retired on his 60th birthday in 1996 (in the past, the FAA required you to retire at age 60). After retiring from NWA, he worked as an independent contractor for Pan AM International Flight Academy as a 747 ground school and simulator instructor for both pilots and engineers, as well as individuals willing to pay for their training in hopes of landing a job in the aviation industry.
On a personal level, he met his wife, Vivian, in a Denver hospital when his dad had a fatal brain tumor. She was one of his dad’s intensive care nurses. They were married a couple of years later in her small hometown of Cambridge, Nebraska and then moved to St. Paul, Minnesota. Within a few short years they had adopted a daughter, Angelica, from Bogota, Colombia, had a second daughter, Marleta, and then adopted a son, Rich Jr. from Medellin, Colombia. They were the lights of his life.
Richard loved to attend sporting events, as he was a die-hard sports fan. He had season tickets for almost every sporting event from the Minnesota Vikings, Twins, Lynx and his beloved Colorado Buffalo Football team since 1953 (which Rich Jr. will continue renewing the tradition). He also enjoyed going to and supporting the local theater in St. Paul and Minneapolis, and he had the theatre and orchestra season tickets to prove it! He was very involved in his church, especially with his Bereans Sunday School Class. And he was becoming even more involved in various groups at Boutwells Landing, the retirement community where he lived.
His desire to help others and pay it forward was his niche. After his retirement, he was very active volunteering his time. He worked at the Union Gospel Mission in downtown St. Paul a couple of days a week, checking in men who needed a place to stay and making sure they had their needs met with bedding and toiletries. And every Thanksgiving, he helped serve meals there. He loved to serve. His other passion was serving coffee at Ironwood Springs camps and weekend retreats for returning veterans and those who were wheelchair-bound, and he sponsored quite a few people to attend these events. He gave financially to many charities and had noted that being able to do so was one of the things that made life worth living for him. It wasn’t uncommon to see him handing out money to janitorial staff at a Gopher or Vikings football game. He loved to help people.
Anyone who came into contact with Richard was touched in some way shape or form. He loved to put a smile on your face, and as he would say “in your heart.” He knew life wasn’t promised forever, and when he found out that his cancer had returned, he wanted to spend his days spreading love and joy to all those around him. He definitely succeeded at that!
Richard passed away peacefully on July 17, 2019. He is survived by his wife Vivian, daughters Angelica and Marleta, son Richard Jr., and his beloved granddaughter Moriah (Sweetpea). He was predeceased by his parents Ann and Arthur, and his brother Arthur Jr.
Richard loved this quote:
“Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift. That’s why it’s called the Present! Live and savor every moment… this is NOT a dress rehearsal!”
And then he would say, “Oh I wish I had thought that up! But it’s not plagiarism to share a blessing with a friend.”
His Celebration of Life Reception will be held:
Friday, August 23rd, from 2-4pm
First Evangelical Free Church of Maplewood
2696 Hazelwood St., Maplewood, MN 55109
In lieu of flowers, please consider helping to keep Richard’s legacy alive by making a donation in his name (you can note “in honor of Richard Young” on your check or as part of an online donation). And if you are looking for a place to give, his preferred local charity is:
Union Gospel Mission - Twin Cities
77 East 9th Street, St. Paul, MN 55101
You can also donate online using the following link: https://www.ugmtc.org/donate/
To send flowers to Richard's family, please visit our floral section.