Archive for the ‘Reminiscing’ Category

Here’s a guest post from my brother-in-law, Alan
(originally titled, The Shop- It Was Built to Make Machines,
but It Really Formed a Family).
Alan recounts his own warm, first-hand memories
of the family shop (as previously referred to here).

I am deeply grateful to Alan for his
recollections both in word and picture.

– – – – – –

Even the Holy Scriptures designate a beginning, but I find it difficult to put a time stamp on the beginning of “the shop.” Mostly because the lineage and heritage of Young always involves a shop. This story is about the shop which was built by my Dad and the rest of our family. Our Dad, Rolly, and the four boys- Alan, Larry, Tom and Dana, were helped out by our Mom-Lois and our sister Jane. The house was built in 1973 as part of our family’s big move from Grand Forks to the land my parents bought from Mom’s father, Alvin McIntyre. Alvin and his brother, Cliff, grew up in the Old Farmhouse about 5 miles out of Grand Forks.

As children we had many trips to the farm- some in the family station wagon, some on our own bikes. As a family we spent many long hours in the summers of 1972 and 1973, clearing trees and brush from a thick wooded area north of the farmhouse that was up until then, left unfettered by time.

These woods were dominated by large oak, ash and basswood trees and thick underbrush. Beneath the underbrush one could discover the paths worn by cows from the days when Alvin ran a dairy operation and the cows were allowed to wander through the northern acres, creating paths that still form the boundaries for the current “Young Compound.” It was while wandering through these paths one Sunday afternoon that Dad and Mom were inspired to take Dad’s newly formed invention of the PanelLift® drywall lift and move from town to this new frontier.

The original portion of the shop measured 70 feet long and 42 feet wide. The concrete foundation was poured on June 8, 1973. (Interestingly enough, Eileen and I were married 12 years later on June 8, 1985). The shop building was completed in the early fall. The house was being built simultaneously by a contractor, but when it came time to move into the house it wasn’t finished, so we parked all of our boxed-up belongings in the back of the shop. My mother and my brother, Larry, spearheaded the organization of this effort, numbering every box and cataloging them in a big three-ringed binder. We also moved all of our furniture into the shop. Dad hooked up a stove, table, and other necessary items for a functioning kitchen in the front inside corner of the shop. A rug was laid down with a couch and chair for our living room. Our family bedroom was the 1948 Ford school bus which my dad had turned into a camper in 1966.

The bus was parked in the middle of the shop and it slept all 7 of us… and had a flush toilet. Pioneers from 1800 wished they had it so good!

                                                                  Alan, Dana-Tom?, Larry, Jane, Mom

The shop’s living quarters were topped off by a long rope that hung from a ceiling rafter. A large knot was tied at the bottom of the rope and this served as an inside swing that pacified the high energy of four boys and amused their sister. This North Dakota Bohemian living arrangement lasted about a month as the house was finished in time for Christmas dinner and the shop was ready to begin its 45-year career as the forge that would shape the lives of five fortunate young people. The shop was the vehicle to our futures whether we understood it or not.

The early days of a family-run business can be tricky- especially when much of the work force is still in high school and college. Dad’s new machine was slowly catching on with rental shops and contractors. It was a Providential boost to the business when a major tool distributor, Goldblatt Tools, found out about the PanelLift.

They began ordering from the fledgling home-manufacturing shop-in-the-woods. Soon a couple of full-time workers were hired to support the operation as the five kids were still in their high school and soon-to-be college years. It was the years spanning 1973-1985 that the five Young kids earned their way through college by running drill presses and punch presses, turning parts on a lathe, performing assembly tasks, and learning valuable trade-related operations including welding and painting and tasks involving mechanical design problem solving. Although only Dana and Larry stayed with the family business, all five kids learned that having a work opportunity 50 feet from their home was a good thing.

                                                                                              Jane and Dana


                                                                                  Tom, Dana, Larry, Alan

                                                                                           Alan, Dana, Larry

I can’t speak for all of us, but I know I spent thousands of hours from 1973-1982 working summers and weekends to pay my way through school. Those were not easy hours. The welding booth in the summer was wretchedly hot and I remember making the decision many times to wear the least amount of leather protection so the heat wouldn’t be so oppressive. The trade-off was having to bear the inevitable welding spark that would land on my t-shirt, slowly burning a hole in it until it reached my skin and an unseen glowing spark would slowly die out 2 inches north of my navel.

Suiting up for painting was great in winter but in summer it was a sweatbath.


From this time, at this place, each of us had a vision. For some, that vision revealed clearly that these surroundings would become their future- they would help nurture and grow the machine that Dad designed and help grow this shop and in the process, make a larger forge for others who would come to work for the business. For some of us our vision was different- even if we didn’t know we had a vision at this time.  Maybe it was just cluttered by the machines we were running…

… or the machines we were building.

                                                                                     PanelLifts, ready to go

But this work allowed us to get our hands dirty and our bodies sweaty. Our clothes became worn and frazzled.  We learned not to take for granted the comfort of a shower and clean fresh clothes, as we awoke the next day and put on yesterday’s dirty jeans and t-shirts; after all, we didn’t want to ruin new clothes before the old ones had finished their abilities to shield us from dirt, grease, welding spatter, and paint.

Working in this shop allowed us to be together working with family.

                                                                            Dad, Mom, Dana, Tom, Alan

But working in this shop also allowed us to be alone. Alone at long, tedious tasks, producing parts that stacked into boxes, carts and assembly racks. We learned the value of tedium, the value of monotony, the value of being uncomfortable while your body did work and your mind was free (or forced to drift elsewhere).

Whatever one’s work environment may be, I think there is a forlornness [in its loss] unmatched by people whose hands helped to build the place they work. I think of farmers and their families who through the generations have managed the same homesteads as they built barns and granaries, sheds and facilities to run their operations. Now, as corporate farms take over the landscape, these farmers and their families are faced with the declining ability to keep pace and are losing their businesses; but more to the heart- they are losing their land and buildings- a loss that is different than moving from a cubicle to another cubicle, a company to another company, even moving from one career to a different career. When your body has contributed to the means by which an enterprise has been planted, grown, and flourished, and now that enterprise has lost the means to be maintained- there is an emptiness.

I see this emptiness now as I walk through the dimly lit rooms of the old shop. Once the heart of the operation, it is now a shell.

There are left over machines, benches, odd tools, and stacks of odd parts…

… out-dated jigs that once cleverly allowed intricate parts to be efficiently produced- all now sitting and waiting…

…waiting for what may come next.  For now, there is no clear answer to their future.

Maybe some day these machines and this building will be resurrected for a new beginning.  Maybe they will return to dust as we know our own bodies will some day.

But even as I turn on the light in an old corner office, I am reminded that we are a people of The Resurrection.

December 3, 2018

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My family home was torn down today… and I am broken-hearted.


For the last month, it’s been effectively gutted, leaving it a shell of the home I once knew.  It was necessarily stripped and sold of its old wooden trim and hardwood flooring, exterior doors and windows, cupboard doors, paving bricks, and even some items I was glad to harvest – flowers from the yard, a birdbath which we had even while living in town, and my mom’s china cabinet which housed her china with the silver wheat pattern.  Now seeing the pit in the ground and all semblance of home gone, it all seems so very final and I feel very lonely.


Dana has said that the sale of his family’s business has seemed like a death of sorts and I know what he means.


Remember the movie You’ve Got Mail where Kathleen Kelly has had to close the bookstore that’s been in her family for generations?  As she’s walking out for the last time, she says that she feels like her mom has died all over again and I know what she means.

– – – – – –


Although still thriving under new ownership and with a new name, selling the family business meant a passing of an era and wrapped up in that sale was a lifetime of events that are now memories of a business and a way of life that his dad and mom, Rol and Lois, began so many years ago in 1973.  They began with just their young family (four boys and a girl) manufacturing a humbly increasing demand for their drywall lifts and portable scaffolding.  Dana was in the 6th grade then. The designs were all his dad’s and his mom ran the office needs – as well as providing the coffee and cookies (and occasionally home-made donuts) for coffee breaks for the little growing crew.



In those days, no drywaller worth his salt used a machine to raise those heavy sheets of gypsum (usually using a mess of boards to prop up their work or lifting them on their heads).  This family set out to re-shape those attitudes and practices and by God’s grace for a season they became the world’s supplier of drywall lifts – The World’s Best Drywall Lifts™. Hardly any drywaller these days, concerned with time and costs, would be without a lift!

Rol - early Panellift - 1971                                                                          Panellift® prototype, c1970


“Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord. This is the Lord’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes” (2 Cor 10:17; Psalm 118:23).


With the selling of the business, it feels like something living has passed, and indeed, so much of life was wrapped up in that business – the family’s move to the country; living in the shop until their house was finished; car trips by Mom and Dad to tradeshows to get their products known; Mom answering calls and Dad always planning the next building addition or the next product design (he’s received over a dozen patents); Gordon Lightfoot, John Denver, Kansas, and America played on various WalkMans around the shop with the overhead doors wide open in the summer or by the heat of a wood-fired stove in the winter.  This is the lovely, small, and home-fashioned shop I first toured when Dana and I started dating our senior year of high school.


But much more has come and gone during those years.  All the kids grew up (working in the shop through their college years), moved from home, got married and had families.  Most found other jobs, but Dana and his brother, Larry, stayed with the business (Dana in marketing and later, the financials; Larry in manufacturing and later, engineering). Mom passed away in the summer of 1988 and the company began to change from a small cottage industry into an organized, strategic business.

In those years, a Kingdom vision for the company took root as Dana and Larry traveled to FCCI conferences (Fellowship of Companies for Christ International).  Dad, Larry, and Dana were awarded the Small Business Persons of the Year award for our state in 2000, which meant a trip to Washington, D.C. and getting to see President George W. Bush.   Many more employees came and went (once employing about 80).  Occasional employee lunches, Christmas parties, and fishing trips dotted the years.  As business grew, several additions were added to the original 42 x 70′ shop and eventually a new facility was built away from the family property.  Then the housing crisis of 2008 hit and was followed hard after by a presidential administrative policy which simply could not or would not produce an optimistic business climate – the nation slumped under it.  The lost decade followed – a decade of hardship and loss for us.


“The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord” (Job 1:21).


The Lord used those grievous days in our lives to grow us in ways we wouldn’t have sought but in ways we knew to be for our good.  The three (Dana, Larry, and Dad) trusted heavily day-by-day and often hour-by-hour for God’s provisions and guidance.  Throughout those years, Dana often preached truth to himself and to me.  It helped to physically recite again and again the truths of what we knew of our all-good God and His redeeming, purposeful ways with his children.  We didn’t always feel it, but we always believed it.


Where previously, the product line had been fairly focused (construction material handling), the Lord amazingly brought specialty tool work from wide ranging sectors during these years – University Berkley Ergonomics Program, a chemical weapons disposal plant, an underground potash mine in Canada, a facility which manages a particular nuclear chemical, and a wind energy plant right in our town.


In the end though, there was no silver bullet nor enough money from anywhere to keep throwing at the need; there was just a very tired building and three very worn out owners.  Different decisions might have been made over the years, but they would have cost the three their fraternity and when all is said and done, that cannot be regretted.  With all their frenetic efforts, doors still shut before them even while unexpected doors opened for a season around them — it was impossible to miss that the Lord was doing a working — and we trust Him in that.


The business sold to a worthy employee who has dreams of taking the company forward and with his fresh wind of capital, it looks promising. So that same business, begun so long ago, still goes forward (albeit with a new name), still making and selling those products (and more) whose humble beginnings were in a small family-owned shop on the outskirts of town.  But these days, when we walk through the old, disheveled shop on the family property it seems to be a parable for us of the brevity of life, the far-reaching effects of the fall, and the fragileness of what seems permanent.  The aging of the house that was new in Dana’s youth and his dad’s move to hospice are further reminders of the fleeting nature of our time here… and at times it feels to us like his Mom has left us all over again.

– – – – – –

Now today…  my family’s home has been demolished, its barn and outbuildings gone, so many of the trees my dad planted years ago have been chopped down to make room for city development.


We moved to the outskirts of town in the spring of 1975 (directions to it were always the last house on Belmont).  I was finishing up 7th grade (my sister Heide was finishing 4th and Holly was still a pre-schooler) when we moved.  It was a dream for my dad (who grew up farming) to own some acreage even while working by day for the city in civil engineering.  My personal dream of farm life was first awakened in 1st grade when sweet Mrs. Lore had reason to display a large poster of an idealized farm scene complete with animals, barn, and a boy and girl playing near the little brook that ran through it.  Later, when I was introduced to the Little House series, my pioneer spirit awoke and I longed to be a Laura on a farm.


These wishes were answered when we moved south of town to a ten-acre farmstead  which, get this, had originally been built and owned by Dana’s granddad’s brother (back in the day, Granddad McIntyre and his brother, Clifton, had run a dairy creamery from our place).  It was Clifton who likely planted all the graceful Cottonwoods which I love so much and which still stand sentry around the boundaries of the old property (I hope many survive the development).  Our soon-to-be hobby farm was christened Belmont Acres.


Over the years, the city limits (and its sure taxes) made its way to the very edge of our property.  With my mom’s passing in 2004 and my dad’s more recent failing memory, it was apparent that the land must be sold, and it was, to a local developer.  The property’s western two-thirds have already been developed.  Already gone to street and housing are the three plus acres of woods in which my dad spent hundreds of hours grooming his Christmas tree farm after his young family had grown.  What a very different view we have had from the house’s west windows these last few years.  But, the front third, with its old stucco house facing the sunrise, its grassy front mall and black-topped lane, has remained virtually unchanged save for white fencing put up here and there.


But after today, Belmont Acres will be no more.  And as that easterly front end begins to fill up with houses, who will remember that once a young man had a dream for himself and his family there?  He wanted something important for them, a bit of farm life like he had known growing up on his family’s working farm.  Who will know of the long, late hours my dad and mom (Ray and Myrna) worked to give the home a facelift before moving the family there or how they gave up their lake place to make this move possible?  And who could guess that this young town-dwelling wife would summon all of her will and her creativity to take on the role of a farm wife and all that that entailed – large-scaled gardening, preserving foods, butchering season (even making head cheese from our own pigs), and much more yardwork than she must have ever imagined, all while meticulously managing her home and working part-time in retail.


The house itself wasn’t exactly the home of her dreams.  All the rooms were small-ish and her kitchen badly needed and an update (and an expansion).  For most of her days there, there was only one bathroom (upstairs) and there was never enough outlets; their bedroom, directly off the living room, was way too small (with no closet but a stand alone piece that took up coveted space in the corner); her laundry room was an old concreted space downstairs and of course, there were the trying years (before being solved) when ground water would occasionally seep in and would flood portions of the basement.  But like so many from her generation – it was my life for yours and there it was!  To her credit, she took what she was given and employed her skills at painting, decorating, and gardening to make the most of that 50 year old home for the sake of her husband and family.

In those early years, there was much to do to make this man’s dream take shape.  So after finishing his day job, he would come home and work after supper until sunset and then up early on Saturdays to work all day long.  This was his pattern through the years.  He enclosed the ten acres in carefully surveyed tamarack fencing (did I mention he was also a land surveyor?), and he lined the property in three or four rows of tree seedlings which over the years the aforementioned daughters hoed (… and hoed… and hoed).


Belmont Acres Truck Farm was established when roughly a half an acre of the back third was planted, hoed, and harvested each year.  A variety of vegetables were grown (but heavy on the sweet corn).  Everyone worked the garden to some extent, but it was mostly the girls’ job to pick and sell it from the house, thereby earning their own money for back-to-school clothes.

And then, of course, there was every manner of farm animal (except goats) which my dad brought home over the years.  I mean dogs, cats, chickens, pig, cows, and ponies and occasionally geese and peacocks (not to mention the homing pigeon coop).


In the summer, there was our daily to-do list from my dad and, of course, the rule was work before pleasure. The fall brought not only harvest but butchering time and many a 4H project was birthed (sometimes literally) on the farm.  All was done with an eye to teaching those daughters responsibility and industry while allowing that whole farm idea to have its full effect on them.

Now in a couple years, no one who drives by will know that this was the favored gathering place almost every summer for the extended family in one capacity or another.  Who could even know how much work the sometimes-hesitant mother did to prepare for those huge events?  But how much laughter and good memories came with them!  With aunts and uncles and cousins all around, there was always good food and lots of laughing and banter as we reunited and the day almost always ended around a great bonfire.  These gatherings served to plant a sense of history and belonging as well as general well-being deep down inside me which I carry with me still today.



And on holidays, a generous welcome was always offered to any and all as this hospitable couple threw out the welcome mat to any who needed a place to be on those days– family, friends, people from work, etc.  Many a bachelor uncle or co-worker whose family was too far away found a place at the table (the dining table early in the day and the pinochle table later on).


Time and memory would fail me to tell of the adventures my Dad and his good friend, Jim, had working side-by-side on all sorts of plots and projects as Jim willingly lived out his own farm-life memories on our farm; of this same Jim and his wife, Gerrie, who came oft on a Sunday to play cards (keeping a notebook for years filled with their men-against-the-women scores); of my dad’s childless co-worker, Charlie and his wife Bonnie (with nearest family in New York state and Texas), who joined us every year for Thanksgiving and always brought TX pecan pie.  Our hall-of-fame (or infamy as it were) wouldn’t be complete without mention of Heide’s friends, Charlotte (still a close friend today) and Lisa, and Holly’s friend, Mitch, who made Belmont Acres their home away from home many a day.


And who will remember but a handful of us that a young girl fell in love from that house and that the lane which used to be just there, brought her future husband to her door for their first date?  From her upstairs bedroom window, in which she used to watch for her school bus, she now watched for signs of his old white ’65 Ford station wagon.  And in the years to come, this was home to the great outdoors in which their young children would play without fear of traffic or stranger.


I know as a Christian that we are just sojourners in this world.  That all we see is temporary and we are making our sure way to our true home.  That one day all the deep-seated longings born in us in this life will be filled in Christ when we reach our heavenly home and all joy will be restored to us in the realm of our victorious King.  But I also know that our good God made us with the inclination to make associations and attachments which bind our memories to those we love.


It’s true that time will most likely allay my sadness, but today I feel lonely and heartsick and I miss my mom all over again (and my old dad before his memory issues).  However, I consider it all grace that I have been given the people and experiences I have had in my life even if some heartache must go with it.  And I am beyond grateful that I have a permanent home being prepared for me which neither moth nor rust (nor the backhoe) can destroy!


In her first book for childrena, the 65-year old author, Laura I. Wilder, paints a scene of her very young self lying awake in bed, listening to her mom and dad in the other room of their log cabin in the woods.  They are awash in firelight as Ma gently rocks and knits and Pa is softly playing Auld Lang Syne on his honey-brown fiddle.  When the fiddle quiets, Laura calls out softly, “What are the days of auld lang syne, Pa?”  Pa replies simply, “They are the days of a long time ago. Go to sleep now.”


But as children do, that simple answer yields a stream of thoughts.  As she looks at her Ma and Pa from the next room, sensing all is well with the world as children do, she can’t help think:  “This is now.  She was glad that the cosy house, and Pa and Ma, and the firelight and the music were now.  They could not be forgotten, she thought, because now is now.  It can never be a long time ago”


… and I know what she means.





a Wilder, L. I. (2007). Little house in the big woods. New York: Scholastic, p.238.

Tell me, where is the road I can call my own,
That I left, that I lost So long ago?
All these years I have wandered,
Oh when will I know
There’s a way, there’s a road
That will lead me home?

After wind, after rain, When the dark is done,
As I wake from a dream in the gold of day,
Through the air there’s a calling
From far away,
There’s a voice I can hear
That will lead me home.

Rise up, follow me, Come away, is the call,
With the love in your heart as the only song;
There is no such beauty
As where you belong;
Rise up, follow me,
I will lead you home.

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Mom October 2003

Today, my mom has been gone for 10 years.

As I remember her, I try not to dwell on that long heart-wrenching day we knew would be her last.  I want to focus on her person and on her presence in my life. At the time she left us, I was a stay-at-home mom of upper elementary to high school children, now most of my children have flown the nest, establishing lives and families of their own.  Now I am the grandma. I am sorry for so many missed opportunities, but so grateful for mom’s continuing influences in my life.

She rose from a difficult childhood, raised by a loved aunt because of a mostly-absentee mother, separated from her only brother, and never knowing her father. She married a farm boy and made a home for her family that she, herself, never experienced as a girl. She was a complex, sometimes strong woman who lived a (not always quiet) life of self-giving service to her family and was cheerleader for her daughters in their dreams and pursuits.

The hole she has left is felt in each of our hearts, but the bounty she sowed is reaped in the lives of her children and grandchildren.

Rock Me to Sleep

Backward, turn backward, O time in thy flight,
Make me a child again just for tonight.
Mother, come back from the echoless shore,
Take me again to your heart as of yore.
Kiss from my forehead the furrows of care,
Smooth the few silver threads out of my hair.
Over my slumbers, your loving watch keep,
Rock me to sleep, Mother, rock me to sleep.

Over my heart in days that are flown,
No love like mother-love ever was shown.
No other care abides and endures,
Faithful, unselfish, and careful like yours.
None like a mother can charm away pain
From the sick soul and the world-weary brain.
Slumber’s soft calm o’er my heavy lids creep,
Rock me to sleep, Mother, rock me to sleep.

Mother, dear mother, the years have been long
Since I last hushed to your lullaby song.
Sing, then, and unto my soul it shall seem
Womanhood’s years have been only a dream.
Clasped to your heart in a loving embrace
With your light lashes just sweeping my face.
Never, hereafter, to wake or to week,
Rock me to sleep, Mother, rock me to sleep.

~Elizabeth Akers Allen

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Richard Dick Young obit

“The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good…” (Luke 6:45).

On November 23, 2013, the world lost a dear soul when Dana’s uncle Richard “Dick” Young was translated from this life to his heavenly eternal home.  What a day of celebration we had as we rejoiced to know Uncle Dick was in the very presence of the Father he’d never set eyes upon, but loved so very much.

Many, many stories of this good man were related that day resulting in a wonderful composite of a man who loved and served his family and his fellowmen.  Uncle Dick was a hard-working and gifted metal engineer.  He loved music and had an evangelistic heart for the lost, working with both Child Evangelism Fellowship and the Gideons.  He served his country in two wars—Korea and on the front lines in World War II.  He was a man resistant to personal pride who directed any praise he received back to his Creator.  He was also a man of prayer and devotion who rarely failed to turn a conversation toward the Lover of his soul.  

Truly, I need more, not less, godly, good influences in my life.  Uncle Dick will be missed by many for a while until our great reunion.  There was one phrase shared at his funeral that summed up this noble life and allowed us to grieve, but not as others who have no hope.  It was the reminder that Uncle Dick had waited his whole life for that day.  What a pleasure it must be to finally arrive home after so many years of sojourning in foreign lands.  No wonder “precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints” (Psalm 116:15).
– – – – –

Richard “Dick” Emory Young, 94, Grand Forks, ND, on November 23, 2013, went to his heavenly eternal home to be with his precious Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ in Valley 4000 Memorial Homes, Grand Forks. Dick was born on September 27, 1919 on a farm near Montrose, Minnesota about 30 miles west of Minneapolis, to Herbert and Alta (Volkenant) Young.

He moved with his family to Anoka, Minnesota at about age 5 and later moved to Grand Forks in 1936. Dick graduated from Central High School, Grand Forks in 1938 and soon afterwards, moved to Moorhead, Minnesota where he took a position in a machine shop. Dick’s love of working with metal began at age 17 when he started to build a train and tracks.

A mutual acquaintance introduced Dick to DeLoris (Butenhoff), where she worked as a waitress at the Bluebird Cafe, in April 1941 and they were married October 26, 1941 in Sabin Minnesota. Dick and Dee moved three times during the first months of marriage. One move was caused because they were living in a house owned by some German people, and they were being “spied” upon, which made it uncomfortable for Dick and Dee, since they, too, were of German decent.

The war was in its beginning stages, and Dick was deferred to work in a defense plant in Minneapolis, so a move there was made in 1942. Minneapolis Moline was Dick’s place of employment until the spring of 1944, when he entered the U.S. Army at Ft. Knox, Kentucky. Daughter, Judith (Judy) was born in 1943 while they lived in Minneapolis. After Dick entered the service, Dee moved to Grand Forks along with Judy to live with her in-laws, a common practice during war time. Richard C. (Dick, Jr.) was born in Grand Forks in 1945. Dick received the news of his new son while loading ammunition at the front lines, about two months after his birth. Dick first saw his son when he was one year and five days old.

After the war, Dick returned to Minneapolis to reclaim his job and when it didn’t work out, he moved the family back to Grand Forks. The large house owned by Dick’s parents was remodeled into a duplex and became the family home until 1963. When son, David was born in 1958, Dick and Dee bought the house next door to the duplex and a complete remodel was done, including a new basement. The dirt under the old house was dug out using a home-made tractor and large scoop to prepare the house to be raised and lowered on the new basement walls. They moved into the basement in 1963 and lived there for two and one half years while the rest of the remodeling was completed by Dick with the help of his father after regular working hours for both of them. That house is now owned by daughter Judy and husband Michael.

One of Dick’s hobbies was occasionally playing an accordion he brought back from the war, obtained by a foot soldier who gave it to Dick. Music always played a huge part of his life – whether it was playing the piano or church organ or vocal music, sometimes singing duets with his daughter, Judy and singing in church choir. Many times Dick, his two brothers and their father gathered in quartet fashion around the piano as his mother played Gospel hymns.

During the post-war years, Dick was involved in machine shop work in various capacities. After the war, Dick and brothers Franklin and Roland opened their own repair business. Then, in 1950, both Dick and Roland were called into the Korean Conflict and the shop was closed. Dick and family moved to Ft. Lewis, Washington from 1950-1951 before Dick went to Korea. After his discharge from the Army, a second time, Dick worked for a short time at Butler Machine and also was a lab technician and instructor in the machine shop at the University of N.D. Between the years 1954 and 1966, Dick was associated with ARCO MFG., Potato Research Lab at UND and was Supervisor of Buildings and Grounds for GF Public Schools. Then, in 1966, Dick and his brother, Roland bought a building on 42nd St. North, off the beaten path, and began working towards what is now Young Mfg., Inc.

Dick’s love for music and the purchase of a theater style organ and a concert grand piano and Dee’s desire for a home built all on one floor encouraged a move to 17th Ave. South in 1979. In 1989, due to Dee’s health, they moved into a rented patio home until they decided they weren’t quite ready for condo living just yet since they both had hobbies and interests that warranted having a larger home. In their 49th year of marriage, they moved to a house on Walnut St. After the flood of 1997, Dee moved into assisted living when they sold that home. Dick lived near her in the same independent living complex. DeLoris passed away on January 12, 2004. Dick and DeLoris were long time members at Immanuel Lutheran Church and Bethel Lutheran Church – both in Grand Forks.

Dick’s love for the Lord Jesus Christ moved him to work with various ministries over his lifetime. He was called into the Gideon Bible-placing ministry for many years. He spoke in a number of area churches bringing news of the Gideon organization and the stories of various people who found the Lord Jesus after reading a Bible that was placed by the Gideon’s in motel/hotel rooms. Every fall, for many years, he would be handing out small New Testament Bibles to children and college students as they went to their classes. The teams of men would find their way back to the Young Mfg. board room and have a time of fellowship and coffee and donuts, often telling stories of how their Bible-gifting went.

He has also had a personal and monetary interest in the local ministry of a worldwide interdenominational organization called Child Evangelism Fellowship. CEF’s purpose is to make the Gospel known to children who might not hear it, if they are not churchgoers, by offering 5-Day Clubs in the summer months where children meet in neighborhood settings, and Good News Clubs held in school after school hours, where CEF workers sing with the children, tell them Bible Stories and offer treats.

The rescue mission, now known as Northlands Rescue Mission was something dear to Dick’s heart. He worked with Rev. Trankina before the mission moved to its present location – where the original Immanuel Lutheran Church building (then used as a Mission Thrift Store) stood before the 1997 flood. Dick found time to work as chairman of the board for four years, to establish the OPPORTUNITY TRAINING CENTER in Grand Forks. In March, 1972, he submitted an article to the Reader’s Digest (never published though), recounting the implementation of committees, building renovation of an old church auditorium used for a general shop area, hiring staff, including retired Air Force personnel, instructors, and on to the graduation of the first students.

When Dick and Roland opened shop in a new location in 1966, it was called Young Tool & Die Works. One of their first customers requested they make hair styling metal combs. A long time customer is Arctic Cat Snowmobile Company, now known as Arctic Enterprises. Young Mfg. made thousands of metal cleats for the snowmobiles in the early years of the company.

Even when Dick was no longer involved in management at Young Manufacturing, he would climb a flight of steps to his second floor office and write letters and poetry. Every year he would compose a Christmas poem to send with his annual letter to family and friends. Dick told someone once, “My mother was a poet”. He also wrote of his WW II memories.

Dick was preceded in death by his wife, his parents, brother Franklin, daughter-in-law Lorna (Zenner) Young, sister Vera Soberg, and her husband Lester Soberg, sister-in-law Lois McIntyre Weston (Roland) Young. Surivors include: daughter, Judy (Michael) McNamee, Grand Forks; sons Richard, (Lorna, deceased), Fergus Falls, MN; David (Beth), Thompson, N.D.; grandchildren, Jeff (Cyndi) Young, Scott (Katrina) McNamee, Daniel (Patricia) McNamee, Brian (Noemi) Young, Paul (Amy Jo) McNamee, Shelly (Tim) Cullen, Kirsten (Paul) Dionne, Jennifer (Thomas) Grandouiller; and great-grandchildren; Rachael, Megan, Arielle, Tyler, Declan, Alexis, Amber, Emma, Isaac, Calder, Abigail, Elizabeth, Kieran, Monique, Tanner, Savannah, Caleb, Trinity, Matias; brother Roland, and sister-in-law Vera (Franklin) Young; also many nephews and nieces.

Services: will be 11:00 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 30, 2013 in Faith Evangelical Free Church, 1400 24th Ave. S., Grand Forks. Visitation will continue for one hour before the service, in the church. Burial will be in Memorial Park Cemetery of Grand Forks.

In lieu of flowers, the family prefers memorials to Child Evangelism Fellowship, PO Box 13834,Grand Forks, ND 58203-3834; Gideon’s International, P.O. Box 140800, Nashville, TN 37214; or Northlands Rescue Mission, 420 Division Ave., Grand Forks, ND 58201. Please fell free to leave any testimonials in Dick’s online guestbook.

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Jodie and Kim snip
The daughter of my dear friend was married today.  It was a beautiful fall day, a beautiful wedding.  Although I’ve had the happy blessing of participating in my own daughter’s wedding, there is something to being outside of the hustle and bustle of hosting and being able to observe and celebrate… and remember.

Jodie and I met our senior year in high school where we were thrown together in a retro singing group, The Velvetones, singing songs from the 30’s and 40’s.  In college she invited me to live with her for a semester on campus.  She was a bridesmaid in my wedding and six months later, I in hers.  She and her husband moved away to the Northwest for schooling, but after, made their way back home.  They had two daughters who were in the same classes as my two sons at the same school Jodie and I attended.  And now we are watching our children pick up where we began as they find and make their own ways in the world.

We have laughed and cried and counseled and encouraged each other over parenting, parents, marriage, our work, our walk (both spiritual and physical), life, and death, the future, the past, the present… all of it.  We don’t get together near enough, but she is in my heart at all times, she helps me want to be a better person, and she is the fragrance of Christ to me, always.

The opening stanza of Robert Brownings’ poem, “Rabbi ben Ezra” is generally applied these days to wedded love, and no wonder.  The now famous courtship letters written between Browning and his future wife, the poetess Elizabeth Barrett, expose Robert as an articulate romantic.  I, too, embrace the stanza for Dana and me, primarily as it looks to future grace and yields itself to a sovereign God.  But might we not spare just a bit to apply to all our life-long relationships, whether friend or family?  If so, I extend it, this evening, to my dear friend.

Who knew back then, what God would make of us?  Who knows today, what will come our way?  But we trust in our God who revealed himself to us in our youth and who plans our beginnings and our endings.  Thank you for your friendship, dear Jodie.  I am blessed to have you in my life.

Grow old along with me!
The best is yet to be,
The last of life, for which the first was made:
Our times are in His hand
Who saith “A whole I planned,
Youth shows but half; trust God: see all, nor be afraid.”

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My dear mom set the standard for me.  Her home was always clean and tidy.  Unfortunately I learned the standard, but did not learn the system.  Her clean house was very important to her (and I’m grateful I grew up with order), but it wasn’t always easy for the rest of us to attain.

My two sisters and I learned how to work while growing up.  In fact, I fear I was not as skilled as my parents at holding my own children to a regular schedule of work; meaningful work that would have benefited the family and eased the load on my husband and I.  In my heart I longed to develop this, but in practice, I was not consistent.

My sisters and I had regular chores that were expected of us.  We laugh (and marvel) today at our after-dinner routine.  My mom would not even say a word; she would just get up and remove herself to the living room, her hard work done for the day.  My sisters and I knew then that the kitchen was ours to clean.  We created our own systems of what was fair in regard to who did what jobs, but we knew the standard and would not dream of leaving the kitchen until the work was done to our mom’s expectations.

During summers my dad carefully left a list of jobs on the counter for us girls before he left for work.  These were outside jobs on our 10-acre truck and hobby farm.  We knew they needed to be done before he got home that evening, but more accurately they needed to be done before we did anything of our own choosing that day.  We laugh (now) about the hard nature of many of these outside jobs that my dad required of us, but acknowledge that we usually rose to the occasion and in the process learned life-long work skills and unwittingly had our character developed in the process.

It is a great regret of mine that I lacked courage, creativity, and intentionality in equipping my own children with a similar skill set.  I did not give them consistent opportunities to do hard things for the benefit of the family, thereby leaving to chance the development of that sense of accomplishment and satisfaction that comes from a day’s work done and done well.  Who knows, perhaps this teaching will skip a generation and somehow my children will acquire what I lacked to teach and train their own children; that they would expect of them meaningful, regular jobs to the benefit of the child himself and to the family as a whole (see June 14 and 15 posts).

Well, while my sisters and I did our outside jobs, mom was working hard managing her housework and her gardens.  Unfortunately, this meant we did not learn her system for effective housekeeping.  What’s more, early in my marriage, I rejected the critical model my mom had employed which brought about results, but made for a rather uptight family, always sure we were not meeting the standard.

Expectedly, I floundered in my housekeeping.  I maintained my home with a lick and a prayer, putting out fires rather than being systematic.  I was suffering from an impossible standard with no tools to attack my duties in a logical, manageable manner.  Later I learned that I was suffering from a condition called C.H.A.O.S—Can’t Have Anyone Over Syndrome!  You can maybe imagine, then, how it seemed the clouds lifted and the birds and angels began singing when I stumbled upon a website that would finally give me hope and direction.

It is this website I will introduce in my next post.


[Illustration: We Help Mommy, Eloise Wilkin, c. 1959, Random House, Inc.]

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