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Michael Karl Young

Died: Wednesday, October 09, 2013
Michael Karl Young, Lake Geneva, died Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2013, in the comfort of his home with the companionship of loved ones.

A member of “the Greatest Generation,” Mike was known for his honesty and hard work, loyalty to his country and love for his hard-working parents, especially his devoted, inspiring mother, Susie Roth Young. One of Mike’s greatest life satisfactions was giving his mother, Susie Young, and his father, Karl, a home so they would never have to worry about the rent again.

Mike was the only one of three sons to survive his twenties from German immigrants, Karl and Susanne Roth Young, in the melting pot of Halsted Street, Chicago. His youth was spent in the hardscrabble years of the Great Depression, during which he supported his family selling sundries, and later, eggs, door to door. He witnessed the shooting of John Dillinger at the Melodrama Theatre and a mob car gunning down a man walking on the street in front of him. During his adolescence, he worked as a porter at the Edgewater Beach Hotel. Mike put himself through architect school at IIT, working early morning hours doing drafting work at Karpen Brothers Furniture Co., before his day at Illinois School of Technology began.

He studied architecture under Mies van der Rohe and other Bauhaus teachers, graduating a few weeks after Pearl Harbor in Jan. 1941. Mike enlisted in the Navy in Chicago. As a “90-day-wonder” from Harvard University, he was first sent to Pier 92 to navigate a ship to Normandy. At the last minute his orders were changed and he left the ship and pier carrying an armful of letters to mail for his fellow sailors. Mike than headed for Saipan via San Francisco on the USS Hornet Navy carrier. In addition to his South Pacific bridge building and ammunition guarding, under Gen. Barnsmith, his German fluency and “Rummel look” was used. He was parachuted into Germany to convey messages and finally to recapture an important American spy in the “Garbo” rescue at Hitler’s retreat camp. As one of two survivors of the American Garbo team, the rescue resulted in a movie featuring Humphrey Bogart. In spite of this, Gen. Barnsmith once threatened to put Mike in the brig if he didn’t get the men and equipment up the hill before a tsunami hit on Saipan.

After the war, Mike returned to civilian life in Chicago, specializing as a school architect, eventually owning his own firm, Michael K. Young and Associates, at LaSalle and Walker streets in Chicago. Using his van der Rohe training, he built approximately 200 schools in Chicago and the five surrounding counties. He belonged to the Business and Industry Leadership luncheon club. During these busy times, Mike worked with the FBI, wearing a wire, to help clean up the bidding process of contractors around Chicago.

In his 30s, Mike married his teenage sweetheart, Julie Reppert, now deceased. Two children followed, Glenn and Carol. Neither married or had a child. Mike loved and was immensely proud of his children. Glenn, a Yale graduate and a Manhattan theatre publisher, is the only surviving relative. Carol, a Downs Syndrome person, now deceased, was instrumental, through her father’s influence, in bringing Chicago neighborhood special education classes to those with special needs.

After retirement, Mike settled in Lake Geneva and spent his later years with his best friend, Marilyn Ellman. Together they enjoyed the delights of walking the lake, taking driving trips and the frequent visits from his son, Glenn.

Celebration of his life at the Steinke Funeral Home, Lake Geneva, on Saturday, Dec. 7, at 11 a.m., with the Rev. Keith Aurand, of the Lake Geneva United Methodist Church, officiating. For online guest registry, go to www.steinkefuneralhomeinc.com.

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Born October 21st
1772: Samuel Taylor Coleridge, English poet (The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, Kubla Khan).
1833: Alfred Nobel, inventor of dynamite and founder of the Nobel Prizes.
1917: Dizzy Gillespie, jazz trumpeter.
1929: Ursula K. Le Guin, science fiction writer (The Left Hand of Darkness).
October 21st
in history
1600: Tokugawa Ieyasu defeats his enemies in battle and affirms his position as Japan's most powerful warlord.
1790: The Tricolor is chosen as the official flag of France.
1805: Vice Admiral and Viscount Horatio Nelson wins his greatest victory over a Franco-Spanish fleet in the Battle of Trafalgar, fought off Cape Trafalgar, Spain. Nelson is fatally wounded in the battle, but lives long enough to see victory. Nelson and the Nile.
1837: Under a flag of truce during peace talks, U.S. troops siege the Indian Seminole Chief Osceola in Florida.
1861: The Battle of Ball's Bluff, Va. begins, a disastrous Union defeat which sparks Congressional investigations.