Ben Young, 83, of South Hill, Virginia transitioned to that great car dealership in the sky in Chester, Va, on November 3, 2019, after a long neurodegenerative illness.
Ben grinned into the world as the second child of the late Dillard Lynn Young and Susie Samford Young of Warfield, VA. He graduated from Alberta High School in 1953, spent a year at Randolph-Macon College, and then then performed his drafted service in the U.S. Army post-Korea War.
Returning home, he raised a field of watermelons one summer (or so he said) and joined the now Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) in 1955.
Ben always loved stock car racing, and spent many an hour at the old Lawrenceville Speedway in the 1950s and early 1960s. It must have been an affinity for cars that transpired into marriage to the late Mary Elizabeth Malone in February, 1964, thereafter honeymooning at the Daytona 500.
Aside from racing, Ben, ever the country boy, enjoyed an avid life fishing primarily in local ponds and hunting, for many a year with a local South Hill hunt club (although one would be hard-pressed to remember any luck with that). He also played on a local South Hill softball team in the 1970s and enjoyed listening to radio baseball broadcasts, in the absence of a race.
Ben led the life of a teetotaler, non-smoker, a man of some Scottish heritage that showed in matters of finances, non-gambler, and strait-laced. Yet . . . for many years in the late 1970s and early 1980s, he and a friend put together an annual bus trip to an Orioles baseball game at the old Memorial Stadium in Baltimore that after the bus left town threw out a carpeted, plywood makeshift table down the aisle for an hours long poker game, to and from, with the kids in the back. A true interstate gambling operation.
Ben grew up in the Methodist Church at the now-abandoned Mt. Carmel Church in Brunswick County and for many years served as a offertory teller as well as treasurer of the Sunday School at South Hill UMC. Ben’s community involvement did not stop there however. He maintained a membership in the South Hill Moose club and from 1975 to 1991 served as treasurer of the South Hill Lions Club. Ben also believed in a community duty to care of the sick and grieving, visiting folks in the hospital, bringing food where needed, and expressing sympathy as required.
But back to cars. Ben enjoyed the car business. As a side gig (long before the “gig economy”), Ben sold cars for the old Lawrenceville Chevrolet. In 1991 after 36 years, Ben retired from VDOT and shortly thereafter indulged his passion as a salesman for Saddler Motor Company in South Hill and later Boyd’s. He finally retired-retired in 2007.
Ben is survived by Benny Young of Washington, DC, and his husband Joseph Mia currently residing in Los Angeles, and his three sisters Frances Brown of Richmond, VA, Betsy Winfield of Stoney Creek, VA; and Mary Northington of Myrtle Beach, SC; their husbands; and a number of nieces and nephews and their children.
Visitation hours will be from 6-8 pm, November 6 at Williams Funeral Home in Lawrenceville, VA, which will host the funeral service at 2 pm November 7 with interment at the nearby Oakwood Cemetery to follow. Donations in lieu of flowers may be in made in memory to Ben to the UVA Health Foundation for the Kipnis Lab, https://giving.uvahealth.com/ways-give, or to the South Hill Lions Club for its White Cane Day outreach, P.O. Box 424, South Hill, VA, 23970.
Folks coming to the visitation and funeral are also encouraged to bring their no longer used eyeglasses to deposit in bins that will be available for donation to the Lions Club for its eyeglass recycling campaign!