Text size


July 26, 2018

JERRY W. YOUNG Jerry W. Young, PhD. passed into eternal life in peace with his precious loved ones by his side on July 26, 2018. He left us too soon, but there would never be enough time to keep him here.
Jerry, who turned 80 years young on April 14, was feted to a thunderous surprise Birthday Celebration on the West Coast where a multitude of friends, family and love ones from around the country celebrated this amazing gentleman. He shined in our warm embrace as we shared his life accomplishments and significance to us.
He was born in Newbern, Tenn. in 1938. His family migrated to Yuma, Ariz., in 1943. Jerry was the loving dedicated son of William and Alva Young and shared his life with six sisters, Carole Thompson (decease), Kay and spouse, Ted Dearing, Faye Young (decease), Peggy Young, Jenny Young, Sandee and spouse, Vincent Coppola, all residing in Arizona.
His devoted bride of forty years, Linda Yoder Young, moved through the years with certainty of his love and confidence in his skillful gifts to achieve his dream as a college presidency.
One son born to this loving union was Jeffrey W. Young; and grandson, Jordan who resides in Southern California. Jerry's son, William L. Young and daughter, Suzanne R. Alka with spouse, David; two grand-daughters, Alexa Keane with spouse, Orin, and Baily Alka. All reside in Arizona.
In Yuma, as the family grew Jerry began his early education beside his father, who could fix, build, and grow anything. Through him he learned self-reliance, loyalty and to always help a neighbor. His father reinforced in him that he could do anything if he put his mind and heart into it. His mother instilled his Christian beliefs and taught him charity towards others. He loved them very much.
He graduated from Yuma High School with a scholarship in wrestling. Attended Arizona State University in Tempe, Ariz., majoring in Physical Education while holding many jobs: Union card carrying truck driver, and Baptist youth Pastor, babysitter wherever it took to earn money to support his education. All the while, he competed at university level wrestling competition. When ask what he did most through the years, he answered "run!" He kept a hefty pace most of his life. He was accepted to the University of Utah and pursued an advance Master Degree in Student Personnel and Counseling. He worked as a custodian to pay his way. He always recognized the many people who assisted him along the journey and that all work had dignity.
His first professional position was at Cuyahoga Community College in Cuyahoga, Ohio, as Director of Student Services, where he began to study and develop programs to enhance a "whole person learning" experience in higher education; all the while participating in a Doctoral Program at Kent State University.
While at Kent he witnessed the tragic event where four students were killed. His witness of this tragedy affected his entire life. He was acutely aware of the need to teach "conflict resolution skills" and the understanding and communicating our humanity to one another.
At Cuyahoga Community College, the genesis of his focus was on "educating the whole person," began to manifest, and by teaching interpersonal and group participation skills, he sharpened his dynamic approach to facilitate change.
He believed the Community College's primary mission was to provide life skills for young and older people to achieve a productive life as healthy contributing citizens, and to invest in their family and community.
In 1973, inspired by his Doctorial mentor at Kent State to take an interview in Cumberland with Allegany Community College, he found himself enchanted by the beautiful area and the friendliness of its people. In the summer after Kent State (1971-1977) he accepted his first position as Dean of Students in Cumberland. His impact on the student body, faculty and administration wee profound. He was a change agent and the energy the college needed to propel it forward. He was an interactive teacher, facilitator, and astute administrator who offered and effected positive change. Those he touched have never forgotten his contribution to their lives.
In 1977, he took a position at Clark County Community College as Dean of Student Services and revitalized its mission and with his optimism, propelled the college forward. His outstanding efforts earned him the Dean of Academics for Clark County Community College, thus opening the door for his dream of College Presidency.
He did not have to wait long for a Presidency to pursue him. He and Linda moved to Centralia, Wash., for Jerry to take hold of his dream, and assume the Presidency of Centralia Community College. This life event was the hope of his yearnings, then the miracle of birth brought forth his son, Jeff. After three years in Centralia, Jerry saw a presidency in Southern California that provided the challenges that he was looking for. He was selected in 1986, as the new president of Chaffey Community College, student population of 20,000, 1300 faculty, 700+ in administration with satellite campuses. He was peaking with his gifts and found the place to apply them.
After five years as president, he turned Chaffey College around. Nominated by his faculty, he won the National Award in Chicago for an Exemplary Model in Leadership and Financial Management (1992) by the American Association of Universities Administrators. Breaking barriers, he was the first Community College President to head this prestigious organization.
After 15 years at the helm, his organization in harmony like a well-rehearsed symphony, he retired in 2001 with a deep sense of accomplishment and satisfaction with his efforts. His retirement was well deserved, but only lasted a year, when he was sought out to take the helm as Chancellor for Kern County Community College system in California consisting of three colleges. After two years into his first retirement, he helped find his replacement to continue his efforts there and return to his retirement.
Yet again, fate had a different plan. He was pursued to be the Director of the Community College Leadership Program in Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Va., in a program designed to teach graduate students to become future Deans and Presidents. His life and retirement had come full circle in this teaching moment. He taught others to fill his shoes. He left nothing on the table. He gave it all back.
He and Linda returned to Cumberland, to pursue their retirement dreams, and to help the family care for Linda's mother. He returned to the place where he and Linda first discovered their love.
He was active in the community he so appreciated, and continued to invest his knowledge and share his expertise. While working on retirement, he decided to teach, yet again, part-time in area Colleges, and substitute teach in area high schools, or in Jerry's words, retire, they were the same.
It was an honor to share his life as part of his family as brothers in spirit, Philmore Fleming. A Celebration of Life for Jerry will be held at the Cumberland Country Club on Tuesday, Sept. 25 at 6 p.m. Rev. Douglas Seaman will officiate the service.
In lieu of flowers, we request donations be made to the American Diabetes Association. A memorial donation form is online at or call 1-800-diabetes. Thank you.
Published on September 17, 2018
Send flowers
in memory of JERRY
See more

Obituary published in

Arrangements by



Print Guestbook

6 posts

Restore the guestbook to view the 6 more posts by family and friends, and share a memory or message of condolence of your own.