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Marshall W. Young, avid volunteer who enjoyed being around people

March 14, 1939 -- May 11, 2017

In retirement, Marshall W. Young took on a new cause by volunteering at the William-Emslie YMCA Senior Center at 585 William St.

There were dances, picnics and trips to organize, and a children's program to fund. He also sang with the Senior Gospel Choir.

"He enjoyed people," said Young's life partner, Gwendolyn Meadows of Williamsville. "He was very dedicated to helping other seniors. And he had an ear. He'd listen."

Young served a few stints as the senior center's president. In recognition of his devotion, the Buffalo Common Council in 2008 set aside July 23 of that year as "Marshall Young Day" in the city.

In 2015, the Buffalo-Niagara YMCA gave him a second prestigious honor. He received the organization's Golden Key Award, which goes to its most distinguished volunteer.

Marshall Wilford Young was born in Buffalo and graduated from Emerson High School in 1958. Just a few years later he was drafted into the U.S. Army and served in Germany as a military policeman during the Vietnam War. He was once honored as his battalion's soldier of the month.

When honorably discharged, he returned to Buffalo and worked for General Motors as a tool grinder. According to the city's proclamation, he served as the plant's civil rights chairperson until he retired in 1997.

In another display of his desire to be around people, Young was an avid bowler through his adult years and was known as "Pied Piper" on the Buffalo Travelers bowling team.

He stopped bowling just a few years ago, when knee pain made it difficult to enjoy his beloved pastime, Meadows said.

He was discharged from a hospital May 5 and died in his Williamsville home on Thursday, after a long illness, she said. He was 78.

In addition to Meadows, Young is survived by three sons, Ferron, William and Kevin, and a brother, Charles.

Services will be at 11 a.m. Wednesday in St. John Baptist Church, 184 Goodell St.


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