John F. Young

Published 5:16 pm Friday, February 16, 2024

John F. Young passed away at home on January 22, 2024 at the age of 90 surrounded by his three daughters in Wilmington, NC. John was born in Danville, KY on July 2, 1933 to Jan and Marie Young. His only real girlfriend, Ann Fox Burke became his wife in 1953. They were married for 67 years until her passing in 2020. 

John graduated from the University of Kentucky with an Electrical Engineering degree and later earned a Master’s Degree. After graduation, John and Ann moved to CA to begin a career in the aerospace industry. Within a year, the Air Force called and that set the pattern of their lives for the next 25 years. John actually began his military career as an artilleryman in the Kentucky National Guard and completed it 27 years later as a Master Pilot and retired as a Lieutenant Colonel. The adventure took the family to TX, SC, OK, MD, and back to SC. These were all just home bases, though, as his assignments took him all over the world including his combat experience flying the OV-10 Bronco in Vietnam. 

A highlight of his career was the 5 years the family spent at Andrews AFB while he flew Air Force Two during the Nixon administration. His final assignment was at Charleston AFB where John commanded an elite Combat Controller unit. After retirement, John and Ann settled in Hampstead, NC and opened a gift shop called Captain’s Cabin and an antique/ice cream shop on Topsail Island. 

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He owned numerous small planes over the years and took a lengthy maintenance course at Seymour Johnson AFB to qualify him to do annual inspections and to fix virtually anything on an airplane. In his spare time, John taught himself to paint beautiful pictures still cherished by the family. He also taught himself to play the violin and guitar. His group entertained residents at local nursing homes. He was a lifelong learner and was an avid reader to the end. Truly a Renaissance man, John was exceptionally good at everything he did. 

He is survived by three daughters: Jennie (Michael) Hernandez of Hendersonville, NC, Julie (Ralph) Chester of Hoover, AL and Joan Mason of Hampstead, 8 grandchildren and 14 great grandchildren. A private burial will be in Bellevue Cemetery. Preston Pruitt Spurlin Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.