To: The St. Lawrence Community
From: William L. Fox, President
Date: November 21, 2011
Subject: In Memory: Richard Young '40
With an immeasurable sense of sadness, shared by Laurentians across the generations and a broad domain, I convey the news that Trustee Emeritus Richard Young’40 died on Friday, November 18.
Richard Young lived 92 years both in and of the world of St. Lawrence University. He died at home in his beloved Van Hornesville, New York, a hamlet in the Mohawk Valley that was the land of his ancestors. He first visited St. Lawrence as a small boy while his father, Owen D. Young (1894), was chairman of the University's Board of Trustees. Dick was present the day Hepburn Hall was dedicated in 1929 having accompanied his father, mother, and Madame Marie Curie on the train from New York City.
Thousands of Laurentians are indebted not only to his family for its incomparable devotion to St. Lawrence, but especially to him for the countless ways his own wise counsel guided presidents, inspired professors, steadied trustees, and cheered generations of students. Dick Young and I were friends for forty years, from the time I was a student and first noted his presence in the ODY Library as trustees gathered on campus for the fall Board meeting. That memory for me is indivisibly accompanied by also remembering those crisp fall day occasions as including the vivid and warm presence of his life-partner, the late Janet Nevins Young '51.
As a student at St. Lawrence, Richard was president of Beta Theta Pi fraternity and a member of debating, government, journalism, and theatrical organizations. After graduating with a major in history and his Phi Beta Kappa key, Richard Young served in the Army during World War II and graduated from Harvard School of Law in 1947.
Richard was for a dozen years the assistant to Judge Manley Ottmer Hudson, the first chairman of the International Law Commission, which led to more than three decades of practice of international law, including years based in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, working on legal relationships between the American company and the Saudi government. Richard was a member of the U. S. Department of State Advisory Committee on the Law of the Sea and an advisor to the U.S. delegation to the United Nations Law of the Sea Conference in 1976-77. He was a member of the executive board of the Law of the Sea Institute at the University of Hawaii, serving as presiding officer in 1977 and appeared often before the World Court in The Hague. From 1962 to 1970, he was a consultant to the Naval War College. A scholar who earned worldwide respect, he wrote articles for several legal journals and was on the boards of editors of The American Journal of International Law and The International Lawyer. Devoted to his friends and neighbors, he served the Van Hornesville Community Corporation and numerous civic organizations, and was a farmer and cattle breeder.
He was elected a trustee in 1969, was vice chairman of the board 1975-88, and was elected to emeritus status in 1989. As trustee, he chaired the Academic Affairs committee, a presidential search committee, and a committee to reorganize the Board's structure and simplify the University's by-laws. He received an honorary degree from the University in 1988, was a member of the Alumni Executive Council and the Alumni Lawyers Association, and was a generous benefactor to St. Lawrence in large projects and small, significant touches.
His Laurentian relatives in addition to his late father and mother, Josephine Edmonds Young (1895), include his late brothers, John ’24 and Philip ’31; three cousins; and a nephew, James H. Young ’76. In addition, the beautiful friendship that Richard and Janet developed and enjoyed with our trustee Marion Roach Smith '77, as deep as any tie within one's immediate family, is a notable and reciprocal tribute to all that St. Lawrence also teaches. Marion cared for Richard as her own father and made peaceful his last days, reading to him, bringing his beloved classical music to his room, and even singing the Alma Mater to him..
The Young and Case families will plan a memorial service for a date we will announce once it is known. Those who wish to remember Richard Young with a gift may do so to either St. Lawrence University or the Van Hornesville Community Corporation.
Richard Young '40, of ever honored memory, strong in intellect, gentle in laughter, thoughtful in generosity, and towering in his love of wisdom, was the youngest child of a world-famous father. Most importantly, from a Laurentian perspective, he was the loyal son of his alma mater, always keeping faith with it and believing in the truth of it, too.