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Obituary of John Patrick Younger
After 37,715 days on earth, John Patrick Younger was called home to be with the Lord on January 22, 2023. At 103 years old, he was blessed to be loved by many. John is survived by his devoted wife, Helen, of 77 years, son John Jr (Jack), three granddaughters, three great grandchildren with another one expected in April, as well as a large extended family. He was predeceased by his son, Pete, along with his parents and siblings.
John was born on October 20,1919 to parents Gyuri Junga and Maria Bukovics. The familial last name was changed to "Younger" shortly after Gyuri (George) and Maria (Mary) immigrated to America from Hungary in 1879 to help their children assimilate with the local culture in school.
John was the youngest of six siblings. He was raised in a Hungarian enclave known as "Himlerville" in Kentucky with a subsequent move to New Camp, where he grew up surrounded by an extended family.
From a young age, John appreciated the simpler things in life. He enjoyed spending time with his older siblings - who often reprimanded him before his parents had a chance. He spent countless hours being the "go-for" for his father, who had the finest of skills in gardening and wood working. He could tell stories about his mother for hours and always emphasized her devotion to him and his family, something that he was proud to emulate within his own family. He spoke highly of his mother and father and lived his life to make them proud. His early experiences in a bustling coal camp instilled the values of hard work and perseverance, traits that he really admired in both of his parents.
Even as a young boy, John was self-motivated and curious about the world around him. A particularly funny example is a story he only shared once: upon hearing about the death of a young boy in a local river, John took it upon himself to investigate how a boy of a similar age to him could possibly drown in the river. He decided to wade in to the river himself, naked and alone, although he had never learned to swim. Fortunately, John did not discover first hand how the boy drowned - it seems God was on his side from the start. This would not be the last time that God would have his eyes on John.
John enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps / U.S. Air Force shortly out of high school, pointedly because he found out he would make the most money this way. He quickly moved up in ranks before experiencing deployments in WWII, Korea and Vietnam.
WWII brought him to Europe where one of his early assignments found him flying and landing a plane without let-down instructions. Thankfully, he had taken time the night before the flight to memorize certain frequencies and steps that made made his landing possible. It was the one and only time he ever felt the need to prepare beforehand. Upon reaching his destination, he was greeted with zero visibility and was forced to land in instrument conditions. A man who always appreciated God, he was convinced he had help from the Lord in those moments and recalled a feeling of calm and strength throughout the entire event. After deplaning, he looked up to the sky and said "There you are!" and went about the rest of his day.
Subsequent deployments to Korea and Vietnam tested both his mental and physical strength while continuing to affirm his faith as he returned unscathed from all three wars.
Following his deployment in WWII, John married Helen Doka, the love of his life. They grew up together in New Camp - just one street apart. While their families were closely intertwined, it wasn't until he was a teenager that he knew Helen was "the one". He remarked he saw her walking over the bridge toward him one day and said to himself "Where have you been, Johnny?! You've got to keep that one". They were married on November 17, 1945 and remain deeply in love to this day.
They welcomed their sons, Jack and Pete in 1949 and 1951, respectively. John considered his two children his life's greatest achievements. Throughout his life, family was always his highest priority. John's love and devotion to his family is a legacy we all hope to continue.
John felt the following objects were representative of his life and passions: a name plate from his time in the Air Force, a picture of a Douglas A-26 Invader, a golf club, a tennis racket (he was tennis champion across multiple military bases), a baseball bat and glove, his yellow fishing rod, his gardening hoe, his dad's handsaw and his brother, Steve's, violin.
When once asked how he wanted to be remembered, John threw his hands up and replied "how I am, whatever that is". People that knew John would say he was kind, honest, hard working, faithful, devoted and brave. While he believed that he was no braver than anyone else, we know that the history he witnessed showed the very worst that humanity had to offer and yet he chose to continue to be an upstanding person, perpetually grateful for all of his blessings. He remarked "I would like to think that I left this world with the reputation of being a pretty good guy. I think if anybody can do that, they've done what the Good Lord intended".
While we are deeply saddened by his absence, we rejoice in knowing that he was welcomed into Heaven by all of his family and friends. We know he is dancing, playing his violin (in tune) and patiently waiting to be reunited with his wife.
A final blessing from John that was often spoken at family mealtimes: "Thank you, Lord, for good food, good health, good family. Take care of our little family. Amen."
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