Cover photo for John Douglas Young, Sr.'s Obituary
John Douglas Young, Sr. Profile Photo
1927 John Douglas Young, Sr. 2023

John Douglas Young, Sr.

July 30, 1927 — September 15, 2023


John Douglas Young

July 30, 1927 – September 15, 2023


John Douglas “Doug” Young was born July 30, 1927, in Sapulpa, Oklahoma, the only child of Martha Helen Dutton and Douglas Fort Young. Raised in Tulsa, Doug travelled extensively throughout the United States with his parents engendering an enduring love of country, travel and adventure. From his mother, a Tahlequah-trained teacher on a Cherokee reservation, Doug inherited a love of and respect for Native American history and culture. Throughout his life, Doug retained a keen interest in other cultures and remained an avid historian with an especially prodigious knowledge of 20th century history and aviation.
From mischievous home experiments, Doug graduated to organic chemistry and engineering at the University of Tulsa. He left Tulsa for an opportunity with Stanolind Oil in Brownsville, Texas, completing his BSc at PanAmerican College in nearby Edinburgh. He fell in love with the Rio Grande Valley and it was here Doug met the love of his life, Sarah Joyce Friedmann where they were married 6 months later in October, 1950. Doug eventually adopted Joyce’s Catholic faith and forever after, faith and family, along with self-reliance and a strong work ethic were the pillars of his life.
Doug was drafted by the Army in 1950, and from basic training in Camp Gordon, GA, he rejoined Joyce in Fort Monmouth, NJ, where he was trained to operate and maintain an experimental munitions tracking radar for use in Korea. He spent two years in fierce fighting conditions and freezing weather on Korean mountainsides, locating and directing counter strikes against Chinese artillery and mortar launches. Fearless, curious, and blessed with a sense of humour, Doug had numerous adventures which he delighted in sharing and despite the ravages of war, Doug loved Korea and always appreciated its beauty and its people. Recommended for a bronze star, he was justifiably proud of his combat infantry badge and sergeant’s stripes.
Honourably discharged in 1952, Doug returned with Joyce to Brownsville where their first child, Doug Jr. was born in 1953. Doug moved the family to Austin, TX, to pursue a Masters degree in petrochemical engineering at the University of Texas. He chose a career with Dow Chemical in Freeport, TX, and the family settled in nearby Lake Jackson where second son, Kevin Champion, and daughter, Sarah Jane, were born in 1956 and 1960 respectively. Doug rose quickly, earning several US patents along the way. His innate ability to streamline operations and improve engineering processes made him an ideal choice to manage refining plants in Mexico City where the family lived from 1964-1968. Doug was recruited to join a team building a state-of-the-art olefins refinery outside Ponce, Puerto Rico, and spent the next two years in New York City, Houston, Los Angeles and Ponce during the design and construction phases. The family joined him in Ponce in 1970 where they lived until 1979. While there, Doug fulfilled a lifelong dream and learnt to fly. He acquired his pride and joy, a Stinson Voyager, in which he and his family explored nearly every island in the Greater and Lesser Antilles predictably resulting in many a harrowing tale. When not flying, Doug enjoyed golfing and playing take-no-prisoners tennis.
Now empty nesters, Doug and Joyce moved to Baton Rouge, LA, where Doug joined Union Texas Petroleum for the next decade. He and Joyce relished Cajun and Creole culture and became lifelong fans of the LSU Tigers and the New Orleans Saints. Along with flying and tennis, Doug rediscovered his love of hunting. Doug’s career culminated with various consultancies most notably in Norway and Saudi Arabia. True to his playful nature, one of his most gleeful moments was having his passport stamped in the remote Arctic town of Hell so he could prove he had been to Hell and back. A true highlight for Doug followed, managing a massive refining complex in Yanbu, Saudi Arabia for several years including the troubled times of Desert Storm. He delighted in the experience and loved riding out into the desert “just to see what was there”. During his Saudi tenure, Joyce joined him for annual travels in Europe and when he decided to retire, Doug travelled from Africa to Asia, ending with a visit to his son, Doug Jr. in Manila, Philippines Islands. Doug and Joyce decided to retire in Longboat Key, FL, in 1997. Joyce suffered from successive health problems, and Doug provided loving in-home care as long as he was able. When progressive dementia required Joyce live in a facility, Doug was with her noon and night to feed her himself, taking her for walks and simply sitting by her side until her passing in 2018. Staff and caregivers often remarked they had never known a more devoted, loving spouse than Doug. As Dad would say, “I would rather be with your mother in her condition than anyone else on this planet.” He was an exceptional role model.
Remarkably hale and hearty, Doug subsequently spent time with children and grandchildren in Florida, NJ and Maryland before moving to London where he lived with his daughter, Sarah and family the last two years. Sensing his time was drawing near, Doug returned to the U.S. to spend time with his sons. Doug was at Doug Jr.’s home in Bowie, MD, where he passed peacefully in his sleep. He was 96.
Courteous, cheerful, and fun-loving, Doug was loved by all who met him in his later years. He is survived by Doug Jr. and wife Perlita (nee Cruz) of Bowie, MD, their children Lauren Hayden and husband Matt, Zoeyh, Sarah and John III, and four great grandchildren; son Kevin and wife Martha (nee Wooding) of Salem, SC, their children, Nicholas, Katherine Juhasz and husband Ondrej, Parrish, and Cecilia, and three great grandchildren; and daughter Sarah Thun-Hohenstein and husband Christian of London, UK, their children, Charlotte, Natango and wife Hillary, Siegfried, and Anastasia. Doug’s remains will be reunited with his beloved Joyce’s in Longboat Key, FL. Memorial Services will be announced when available.
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