Clarence James “Jim” Young, Jr., 95, died Jan. 4 in Portland. A funeral Mass will be celebrated at 11 a.m., Thursday, Jan. 12, at St. Therese Church, 1260 NE 132nd Ave., Portland. A reception will follow in the parish hall.
Mr. Young was born Dec. 31, 1921, in Portland to Clarence Young, an attorney, and Leila Rogers Young. From a young age, he was fascinated with the persons, places, and things that could be found in distant lands, and he vowed to visit them when he grew up. By the time he passed away four days after his 95th birthday in Portland, Mr. Young had co-founded the Foreign Travel Club of Oregon, voyaged across the world, and met his wife during his travels.
A native Oregonian, Clarence James Young, Jr. was born in Portland on Dec. 21, 1921 to Clarence James Young, an attorney, and Leila Rogers Young. Jimmy to his parents and his sister Nancy Young Brands, and Jim to his friends, he was a graduate of Cathedral Grammar School and Lincoln High School.
During World War II, he was drafted into the U.S. Army while attending the University of Portland, and served with the Corps of Engineers in North Africa, India, Burma, and China from 1943 to 1946. After completing his military service (and momentarily satisfying his wanderlust), he went back to the University of Portland, and graduated with a degree in business administration.
With an eye to his future travel plans, Mr. Young went to work for Farmers Insurance Group which, at the time, had a generous leave-of-absence policy. He happily took advantage of this policy to take a three-month trip to Europe, North Africa, the Middle East, South Asia, and East Asia in 1952 and a two-month trip to Mexico, the Caribbean, Central America, and South America in 1956. Mr. Young stayed at Farmers for 39 years, before retiring in 1987 as the regional liability claims manager.
It was during his 1956 trip that Mr. Young met a beautiful Argentine tourist named Ileana Kaufmann on the summit of Sugar Loaf Mountain overlooking Rio de Janeiro. He wooed her for two days in Rio, two more days in Trinidad, and proposed to her after a final two days in Havana. She accepted and he flew down to Buenos Aires six months later to marry her on Sept. 12, 1956. They returned to Portland where they raised four sons, and continued to travel – this time together – ultimately visiting over one hundred countries between them.
In addition to travel, Mr. Young had other passions. He sang in church, and as young man was a member of the All Saints Church parish choir. He was an accomplished numismatist (a hobby he started when he was four years of age), amassing an extensive collection of foreign coins and banknotes, and was a long-time member of the Oregon Numismatic Society, the American Numismatic Association, and the International Banknote Society. He enjoyed photography as well: From the mid-50s through early-90s he was seldom on a trip or at a family celebration without his trusty Leica M3 camera to document the proceedings. He reluctantly converted to digital photography only when film began to go extinct. Mr. Young also loved to hear and tell a good (or not-so-good) joke, and he never missed an opportunity to joyfully inflict on his family, friends, and perfect strangers some form of punishment.
However, Mr. Young’s main passion was for his family.
Mr. Young is survived by his devoted wife of sixty years, Ileana Young; his sons Michael (Halah) of San Antonio, Richard (Joy), Kevin, and Brian of Portland; three grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
Mr. Young’s love of travel and encountering other peoples and cultures has been imparted to his children, grandchildren, and now his great-grandchildren. His life taught the important lesson that travel, to paraphrase Mark Twain, is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and we need it for this reason.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the Portland Rescue Mission, portlandrescuemission.org