Beatrice Young, 79, devoted to her children's education

March 02, 2006|By FREDERICK N. RASMUSSEN | FREDERICK N. RASMUSSEN,SUN REPORTER

Beatrice Joy Young, a former domestic worker who had multiple jobs so that her six children had the opportunity to attend college, died of cancer Sunday at Washington County Hospital in Hagerstown. She was 79.

Born Beatrice Joy Russ in Saginaw, Pa., she moved to Hagerstown with her family and attended the segregated North Street School.

She was married in 1942 to Charles Raymond Young, who served in the Army in Europe during World War II. After his return to Hagerstown, the couple settled into a small home and began raising their family.

"In the 1960s, they moved our family into public housing because it was some of the most decent housing available for black folks in Hagerstown at the time," said a son, Baltimore Circuit Judge David W. Young.

For years, Mrs. Young cleaned offices and homes -- among them the Hagerstown home of Dorothy Byron Lane, widow of Maryland Gov. William Preston Lane.

An avid reader of novels and history books, Mrs. Young made sure her children had library cards and escorted them on regular visits to the Washington County Public Library.

"She also cleaned several lawyers' offices, and I used to go along with her. I was 9 years old at the time when I saw a book entitled So You Want To Be a Lawyer, so I took it down and read it. I'd go there and read law books while she cleaned," Judge Young said.

"When I was sworn in as a district court and later circuit court judge, my mother was there. I looked at her and thought of how hard she had worked -- sometimes three jobs at a time -- so we, her children, could go to college. I was so proud of her," he said.

"My father worked driving a forklift truck in a factory and a newspaper delivery truck. He also had a third job bagging groceries in the local A&P. He was 58 when he died in 1982. He had worked himself to death -- that's all he knew," Judge Young said. "My parents' values were work, education and faith, and we've always been so proud of them."

In addition to Judge Young, another son, William P. Young of Hagerstown, is a college graduate, and now a retired assistant prison warden. Three of her other children attended college.

Mrs. Young -- who was known as Miss Teedie -- made her home available to young people as a place that was safe and comfortable.

"She had a particular concern for young people, and her home was frequented by teenagers from throughout the community. She was an encourager of others and was quick to offer any assistance she could," Judge Young said. "She used to tell us, `Remember who you are and what we expect of you. If you see any wrongdoing when you're out, you are to head home.'"

In her 60s, Mrs. Young returned to school and earned her General Educational Development certificate.

Mrs. Young was a longtime active member of Ebenezer African Methodist Episcopal Church in Hagerstown and its Women's Missionary Society and Steward Board. She also worked in the church kitchen preparing meals and baking goods for bake sales.

About eight years ago, Mrs. Young's children purchased a home for her -- the first she had ever owned and where she could indulge her passion for flower gardening.

She also enjoyed scouring flea markets, entertaining family and friends and "telling stories of days gone by," her son said.

Services will be held at 11 a.m. today at Greater Campher Temple, 124 W. Bethel St., Hagerstown.

Also surviving are two other sons, Henry P. Young and Raymond M. Young; two daughters, Maretta E. Brown and Nancy L. Burnett; three brothers, James E. Russ, Kenneth L. Russ and Rudolph T. Russ; and a sister, Margaret Barnett, all of Hagerstown; 14 grandchildren; and 25 great-grandchildren. Another son died shortly after birth in 1943.

fred.rasmussen@baltsun.com

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