Russell H. Young Sr.

August 10, 1932 - December 1, 2020
Russell H. Young Sr.

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Russell H. Young Sr. was the type of person who always left an impression on you whether it be through his optimism, honorable service, love of the Lord and others, or his unique, straight-forward and humorous style of communication.

Russell H. Young, Sr. was born to Arthur George Young and Gladys Going Young on August 10, 1932, the youngest of three children (Brother: MacKinnon Young; Sister: Edythe Young Bonato). He spent the first part of his childhood in the small town of Littleton, New Hampshire, nestled in the beautiful White Mountains and enjoyed time with his family, especially his grandmother – Nanny (Edith Whitcomb Going) along with aunts, uncles, cousins and siblings.

At age nine, his parents moved to the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. Russell graduated from Bladensburg High School, Bladensburg, Maryland, in 1952. Indicative of his optimism, he was quoted in his high school yearbook saying, “Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see the shadow.” Throughout his life, in the good times and the bad, he maintained that optimism.

He enlisted in the United States Marine Corps directly after high school. He manned light and heavy artillery while engaging in combat along the front lines in the Korean War. He honorably discharged in 1955 with the rank of Corporal. He would never admit it, but he served very courageously in the face of harrowing circumstances.

After the Marine Corps, he returned to Washington, D.C. It was here where Russell found the love of his life, Beulah Ann Sawyer, lovingly known by him as, “The Babe.” They married in 1959 and were married for 54 years, until her death in 2012. They were, as they said, “Like two peas in a pod.” They did everything together. Even in retirement, they enjoyed owning and running a small collectibles business. Most of all, they both loved and were loved by their children, Russell H. Young, Jr. and Cynthia L. Young.

Russell loved and was loved by his family. He enjoyed spending time with his nieces and nephews; Lou Bonato, Jr. (Linda); Charissa Harris (Keith); John Russell Bonato (Lisa), Mackinnon Young, Jr; and great nieces and nephews. He embraced The Babe’s family and loved them as his own, as well as his close friends and neighbors who were just as family to him (including Beth Alexiou; Philip Alexiou (Lori); Lyman and Denise Sheppard; Fred “Sweetie” Sweat; Dr. Peter G. Bernad, his Ross Street neighbors; his church families; and many others).

Russell was a conscientious and hard worker. He worked throughout high school at the local grocery store, and after discharging from the Marine Corps, he worked with Griffith Consumers Company, the Railway Express, and he owned his own roofing company. He also enjoyed an over 30-year career with the Richmond, Fredericksburg and Potomac (RF&P) railroad at the Potomac Yard, in Alexandria, Virginia, and with the Amtrak Auto Train in Lorton, Virginia as a conductor. In addition, he was the local chairman and treasurer with the United Transportation Union (UTU) where he looked out for the safety of the workers. His no-nonsense, honest approach garnered him respect while serving in these positions. He could quote the articles and standards, and he often reiterated, “When in doubt, a safe course must be taken.” After retiring, he would often use the train to travel and those he mentored would warmly greet him. He also continued to attend gatherings and kept up with fellow RF&P and UTU retirees and friends throughout the years.

A devout Christian, Russell deeply revered the Lord and faithfully attended church. He was a member of Belleview Baptist Church in Alexandria, Virginia. He also attended Pine Town Missionary Baptist Church in Pine Town, North Carolina when he stayed at his other home in Washington, North Carolina. He often spoke to others about the importance of having a relationship with the Lord and he shared his values in his usual no-nonsense, firm, and honest manner that made you want to listen to what he was saying.

Russell was a very generous man; generous with his time and love. He was always giving. Along with the charities and causes he gave to, he gave his time and his heart. One of his favorite things seemed to be sending cards and wrapping gifts for any occasion. His joy came in watching your face light up and as you wondered ‘what on earth is inside of this?’ You felt his love and you knew he put a lot of thought into picking your gift out and wrapping it.

That also describes him. Wrapped up inside that old style, slow drawl, witty and clever, no nonsense, straight forward man, was one of the most kind and honorable men you could meet.

Russell H. Young Sr. passed away peacefully on December 1, 2020 with his daughter and son by his side at his daughter’s home in Richmond, Virginia. He is now united with his Lord and Savior and those who have gone before, especially The Babe. Those of us who are here to celebrate his life are blessed by all he gave: his love, his optimism, his humor, his wisdom, his strength. He will forever be in the hearts of those who knew him.

The family will receive friends from 1:00 pm until the funeral hour Thursday, December 10, 2020 at Joseph B. Paul, Jr. & Washington Funeral and Cremation, 4500 US-264 E. Washington, NC, 27889. A funeral service will follow at 2:00 pm in the chapel, officiated by Pastor Daniel Haskett. Burial will take place at Pamlico Memorial Gardens.

Additionally, a Memorial Service will be held at Belle View Baptist Church, 7415 Ft. Hunt Rd, Alexandria, VA 22307 on Saturday, December 12, 2020 at 1:00 pm.

Please note that all CDC guidelines will be followed and due to this no food will be served.

Funeral Service

Thursday, December 10, 2020
2:00 PM

Joseph B Paul Jr. Washington Funeral and Cremation - Directions
4500 US Hwy 264 East
Washington, NC 27889

Visiting Hours

Joseph B Paul Jr. Washington Funeral and Cremation - Directions
4500 US Hwy 264 East, Washington, NC 27889   T:-252-975-4500
  • Thursday, December 10, 2020
  • 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM

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