John Young showed love to family through work

Saturday, October 5, 2013 | 6:07 p.m. CDT; updated 9:32 p.m. CDT, Saturday, October 5, 2013

COLUMBIA — John Young was a man who loved work.

He built his own bookshelves, poured concrete, laid bricks for a patio, fixed toilets, cleared lots and burned brush. He taught his grandchildren how to mow, among many other things and passed on his love of work to them.

"He showed his love through his work — and no one can deny, given the record, how much he loved all of us," his granddaughter Bailey Millington said in an email.

John Overton Young, formerly of Columbia and more recently of Springfield, Mo., died Sunday, Sept. 29, 2013. He was 84.

He was born Aug. 24, 1929, in Woodlandville to Orin and Myrtie Phillippi Young.

Mr. Young attended Hickman High School and after, attended MU, where he was a member of the Army ROTC.

He married Anna Lee Johnson on Oct. 26, 1951. They were married for nearly 62 years.

"We were lucky, growing up, to be around a grandpa who openly and honestly told us his wife was more beautiful each day than the day he met her," his granddaughter Molly Jacobs said in an email. "Our grandma is my grandpa's partner, and his best friend."

Mr. Young served as a first lieutenant in the U.S. Army for two years after graduating from MU. He later worked for Farm Bureau Insurance in Jefferson City for 17 years and for American National Insurance in Springfield for 10 years.

His grandson Jacob Young remembers how special his grandfather made people feel.

"Every time you walk in Grandma and Grandpa's house, and walked around in front of his chair to say hello, he would take your hand in both of his — and give you his full attention," he said in an email.

Mr. Young was a man who liked to do things himself and who taught his children and grandchildren the values of self-sufficiency and of being able to live off the land.

Jacobs said he taught his children to shoot guns, butcher hogs, make applesauce and render lard.

"Our grandparents were green and organic long before being green was cool," Jacobs said.

Mr. Young is survived by his wife, Anna Lee Johnson; four daughters, Jane Jordan and her husband, Jim, of Jefferson City, Jonalee McLaughlin and her husband, Paul, of Kansas City, Judy Jacobs and her husband, Andy, of Bulverde, Texas, and Jan Millington and her husband, Tom, of Springfield; a son, Jeff Young, and his wife, Kristin, of Springfield; a sister, Ruth Davis, and her husband, Rollo, of Moore, Okla.; 16 grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren.

Three brothers, Fred Young, Roy Young and Bill Young; and a sister, Nina Phillips, died earlier.

Services were held Thursday, Oct. 3, at King's Way United Methodist Church in Springfield.

Memorial contributions can be made to the columbarium at King's Way United Methodist Church.

Condolences can be posted at

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