The university's sports and fitness Center is named after Donald E. Young because of his long-standing commitment to the university and the community.
For many years Young has given of himself in both time and effort to be of service to the city, the university, the state, and the nation. Graduating from Black Hills State in 1940, he served as an officer in the U.S. Navy during World War II and later in the Korean conflict. Between military obligations he returned home to teach and coach.
From 1958 to 1976 Young served as the college's director of extension, in addition to handling numerous coaching and teaching responsibilities. Young was elected mayor of Spearfish from 1967 to 1976. He also served on the Sixth District Council of Local Governments. Young retired from his faculty position in 1979. During his tenure, Mr. Young taught in the Education Dept., Social Science Dept., Physical Education Dept. and started the Safety Dept. Driver’s Ed program.
Mr. Young passed away on December 12, 1997.
Monday, December 15, 1997
Donald Emmett Young, 83, died Friday, December 12, 1997 at Lookout Memorial Hospital in Spearfish.
Don was born on September 24, 1914, in Edgemont to Emmett and Laura Young. He graduated from Edgemont High School in 1933. In 1935, he arrived at Spearfish Normal School where he earned a bachelor’s degree in education in 1940 with a major in social science-history and a minor in physical education. During his college years, he excelled in academics and athletics, which included participation in football and basketball, Anemone and Eociha staff, and service as president of several honorary societies.
Don joined the Naval Reserve in 1940 and began international service with the U.S. Navy. That year, he served on a cruise to Panama. In 1941, he entered midshipmen’s school in Chicago where he earned the distinction of commission ensign. Later that year, he served on the USS Catbird (minesweeper) in New York, followed by training at mine warfare school and deep sea diving school in Washington, D.C. In 1944 he was officer in charge of the U.S. Navy Mine Disposal Unit in the southwest Pacific while serving with the Royal Australian Navy in Darwin. In 1943, he served as a Naval observer with the American embassy in London where he was a member of the U.S. Navy Technical Section – Mine Disposal, serving with the Royal Navy. In 1944, he was a member of the training staff for scuba diving at the Naval Combat Demolition Amphibious Base in Fort Pierce, Florida. From June 1944 to December 1945, he was commanding officer for the Underwater Demolition Team 8 (UDT8) combat pre-assault reconnaissance/demolition operations at Anguar Island, Ngesebus Island, Palau Islands, Leyte, Philippine Islands, Lingayen Gulf and Iwo Jima. From April to July 1945, He served as training officer of advanced training for underwater demolition teams on Maui. Occupational landings included Inchon, Korea, in September 1945 and Taku, Chefoo and Teingtao, China in October 1945.
He returned to the United States in November 1945 and was released to inactive duty in 1946 with the rank of lieutenant commander. He received a Bronze Star with Combat V for operations in the Palaus. As a member of the U.S. Naval Reserve, he trained during the summer months in the area of explosive ordnance disposal (1947, 1949, 1950). He was recalled to active duty in May 1951 and served at the U.S. Navy bureau of Ordnance in Washington, D.C., and as officer in charge of the U.S. Navy Ordnance Disposal Unit at Indian Head, Md., until May 1953. In November 1951, he was promoted to the rank of commander. In 1952, he had a short tour of duty in the United Kingdom with the Royal Navy. He continued to train during the summer months practically every year at either Indian> Head, San Diego or Little Creek Va.
He organized the U.S. naval Reserve Composite Company based in Lead that met once a week, 40 weeks a year. He was a member from 1954 to 1967 and commanding officer of this unit for approximately 10 years. In 1962, he was promoted to the rank of captain and retired from the Naval Reserve in 1974.
Don taught at Spearfish High school from 1946 to 1948 and coached football, basketball and track. During this time, he met Darleen Furois, whom he married in 1948. That same year, he began a 30-year teaching and coaching career at Black Hills Teachers College where he served as an instructor of history, geography and social science and as a coach of football, basketball and track. He served as director of extension and pioneered the campus at Ellsworth Air Force Base outside of Rapid City. In 1979, he retired as professor emeritus from BHSC and assumed duties as alumni director/liaison. His impact and influence as a student, athlete and instructor at BHSC earned him the honors of Student of the Year in 1938, Teacher of the Year in 1958, Alumnus of the Year in 1978 and induction into the SDIC Intercollegiate Hall of Fame and Black Hills State University Hall of Fame. In 1990, the new Black Hills State University sports facility was named the Donald E. Young Sports and Fitness Center.
Don’s career as a community leader included serving as mayor of Spearfish from 1967 to 1976 and on numerous boards and committees, including Spearfish Kiwanis charter member and first president, Spearfish Planning Commission, Sixth District Planning (currently Black Hills Council of Local Governments), Northern Hills Alcohol and Drug referral Center, Northern Hills Youth Attention Center, Chamber of Commerce Education Committee, PTA, Lookout Memorial Hospital Board and a life member of VFW Post 5860 and American Legion Post 164. In 1986, Don and Darleen received the first “Spirit of Spearfish Award.” For nearly 50 years, Don and Darleen have been members of All Angels Episcopal Church where he was actively involved in service to others.
Don was preceded in death by his parents, Laura and Emmett Young, his brother, Palmer, and his sisters Jacqueline Faulkner and Betty Rose Allen.
Survivors include his wife, Darleen; four children, Pamela, Rapid City, Peter, Minneapolis, Paul, Spearfish, and Priscilla, Spearfish, their spouses; and 11 grandchildren.
Visitation will be from 9 am to 8 pm today and Tuesday, December 16 at Fidler> Funeral Chapel in Spearfish.
A memorial Service will be at 10 am, Wednesday, December 17 at the Donald Young Center at Black Hills State University in Spearfish, with Father Bunker Hill officiating. Private burial will be later that day at Black Hills National Cemetery near Sturgis.
Memorials to Donald E. Young may be sent to 119 Washington, Spearfish, SD.
- Rapid City Journal
The trophy case in the Young Center lobby was donated by Darleen Young in memory of her husband Don. The following memo, recreated with permission from Mrs. Young, describes some of the items.
Black Hills State University
University Station Box 9506
1200 University Street
Spearfish, SD 57799-9506
Phone (605) 642-6446
10 April 1992
Dr. Ed Erickson:
If I can be of any more help to you, let me know.
-Don Young, Alumni Liaison