Archie Don Young passed away peacefully the morning of March 16, 2021 at Evenings Porch Assisted Living in Bayfield, Colorado. He was ninety-three years old.
Don was born May 28, 1927 in Durango, Colorado. He was the second of three sons of Vernon Virgil Young and Vera Mae Wigglesworth. His mother's family moved to Durango around 1879, as her grandfather, Thomas Hudson Wigglesworth, surveyed and supervised construction of the railroad line from Durango to Silverton. The Young family, led by Archie Dewitt Young and wife Nancy Ann Weaver, came to southeastern La Plata County in 1913. They built a large ranch in both Colorado and New Mexico, and eventually operated a general store in Allison.
After completing the ten grades offered at the Allison school, Don lived with his grandparents, city manager William H. Wigglesworth and Almeda Rose McEwen, to finish high school in Durango. While strolling on Third Avenue in the summer of '42, Don met his future wife, Phyllis Strnad. He was active in sports, playing in the 1944 Colorado all-state football game. The Washington Senators major league baseball team showed interest.
A barely seventeen-year-old high school graduate, Don enrolled at the Old Fort in Hesperus at the height of World War II. A year later, he enlisted in the United States Navy, following his older brother Bill. Trained at Great Lakes, IL, he boarded a troop train, through Gallup, NM, for San Pedro, CA. There he boarded the USS Admiralty Islands, an aircraft carrier escort. Part of Operation Magic Carpet, the ship's ports-of-call included Pearl Harbor, Midway, and Eniwetok. That ship and Don were nearly destroyed in a storm off the Aleutian Islands. His first ship decommissioned, he was reassigned to the USS Charles Carroll, and visited Tokyo and Sasebo, Japan, and Taku, China. Throughout his adventures, he corresponded with his future wife Phyllis back in Durango. Discharged in July 1946, he studied civil engineering at Fort Lewis A&M until April 1948.
Don and Phyllis married on June 26, 1948 at First Presbyterian Church in Durango. To this union were born Donna Jo Young and Craig Eugene Young. Don purchased the family store in Allison, then A. D. Young & Son General Merchandise. He changed the name to Young's Store, and operated it from 1953 to 1972. He entered the construction trades, helping to build Tamarron Resort, and retired from carpentry at Ignacio School District in 1988. In 1998, Don and Phyllis moved from Allison to a small ranch outside Ignacio, with son Craig and his family.
Don was preceded in death by wife Phyllis, and his brothers William Harrison Young and Jerry Lee Young. He is survived by daughter Donna Jo Chaney, her husband Larry, and their daughter Austin; and by son Craig, his wife Wendy (Schumacher) and their daughters Alison deKay (Christopher) and Crystal Redman (Andrew). Don has six great-grandchildren: Lauren, Lincoln, Abel, Clare, Adam, and Daniel.
Don enjoyed Colorado's outdoors: hunting, camping, fishing, and taking Phyllis on scenic high-country drives. He was a wicked Hearts player; knew many jokes, pranks, magic tricks, and off-color rhyming recitations; had a tender heart for all animals wild and domestic; expressed love through carpentry, plumbing, and electrical work; hated small spaces; and was fiercely loyal. To the end, he was a cheerful, optimistic, and refined person. He desperately missed Phyllis. We will miss them always.
The family thanks the Hospice of Mercy and Evenings Porch Assisted Living for their loving care of Don during his final days. A graveside memorial for Don and Phyllis will be held at a later date at the Allison-Tiffany Cemetery.
Published in The Durango Herald on Mar. 18, 2021.