CHARLTON, MA – After bravely battling multiple myeloma and its complications for more than two years, The Rev. Dr. Samuel Wilfred Young (81) slipped through the veil between earthly life and eternal life on Thursday, April 13, 2023. Born a first-generation Irish-American to the Rev. Samuel Young and Lynette Caverly Young in Boston, MA on October 17, 1941, he was a resident of The Overlook in Charlton, MA at his passing.
Raised in Lowell and Scituate, MA, Sam graduated from Bates College with a BA (1963) and from Andover Newton Theological School with a master of divinity degree (1967). He was ordained in October 1967 at First Trinitarian Congregational Church of Scituate where his father was the pastor. His first calling was as associate pastor of Center Congregational Church in Torrington, CT. In Torrington, he also was a director of the Torrington YWCA and an advisor to the Torrington Christian Youth Council. The Torrington church is where he met and married his life partner, the former Cynthia Marsh Wilson of Litchfield, CT.
In 1971, Youngs spent a year at Andover Newton while Sam earned a doctor of ministry degree before settling in CT where he served as pastor and teacher for 11 years at Bridgewater Congregational Church. During that time, the Youngs adopted two children from Korea — Sarah Elizabeth Kim and Nathan Andrew Choi. In addition to his parish work, Dr. Sam became an EMT and led the Bridgewater Fire Department’s ambulance squad. He was on the Board of Directors of the Silver Lake Conference Center in Sharon, CT and the CT Conference of the United Church of Christ.
Working with youth was a big part of his two pastorates in CT, and Sam and Cindy led weekly youth groups and many youth retreats and conferences at Silver Lake, on Cape Cod, and in Puerto Rico.
As a licensed marriage and family therapist, he also was owner and director of Counseling Associates of Torrington and New Milford, CT and taught psychology at Mattatuck Community College.
In 1983, Sam and his family moved to Allentown, PA where he became the founding director of Bethany Counseling Ministries, serving churches and pastors in the Penn Northeast Conference, UCC. In 1990, he transitioned to associate pastor for caregiving ministries at St. John’s UCC in Nazareth, PA. During his time in PA, he served on the Board of Directors of the Penn Northeast Conference, UCC, and as a volunteer police chaplain in both Allentown and Nazareth — fulfilling a lifelong interest in public safety.
Camping was the Young family’s favorite vacation, and they enjoyed many trips throughout the northeast and middle Atlantic states, often with Cindy’s parents, Charlie and Barbara Wilson. They also cherished holiday visits by Sam’s mom, Lynette Young of MA and later NH.
The Youngs also spent much time driving Sarah and Nathan to music lessons; chorus, band and orchestra practices and concerts; Scout events; and church youth group meetings. Sam helped Nathan with his paper route, and was the one who shepherded him through the dark times in his life and helped the family pick up the pieces after Nathan’s suicide in 2007.
After the children were out of high school, Sam and Cindy returned to New England when he became pastor and teacher of First Congregational Church in Oxford, MA where he served until retiring in 2010. In those years, Sam was a police chaplain for the Oxford PD and an active member of the Oxford Ecumenical Council. After retirement, he taught psychology at Quinsigamond Community College and Becker College in Worcester and became a member of Hadwen Park Congregational Church. He also served on the UCC Board of Directors of the Star Island Corporation in Portsmouth, NH.
Since 2000, Sam and Cindy spent annual weeks with treasured friends at the conference center on Star Island. They also cherished the monthly gatherings on nearby waterways of their many paddling buddies, who they also enjoyed hosting annually for PPPP — Pre-season Planning & Pot-Luck Parties.
Dr. Sam was a part-time clinician at Spectrum Health Services in Worcester, MA and at YOU, Inc. and New Beginnings, both in Southbridge, MA. During the pandemic and until his last illness, Sam provided counseling via video-conference.
Predeceased by his parents and son Nathan Andrew Choi Young, Sam is survived by his wife of nearly 55 years, Cynthia Wilson Young of Charlton; daughter Sarah Young Patton, son-in-law Michael Patton and grandson Dallas Patton, all of Flagstaff, AZ; his sister Barbara L. Young, of Eau Claire, WI; nephews Julian Randolph and Samuel Randolph in MN; his brother- and sister-in-law David T. and Lynne Wilson of Litchfield, CT; cousins Heather Young and Jennifer Young in Toronto; and other family in the US and Ireland.
A memorial service will be held at 2:00 p.m. on Sunday, June 4, 2023, at the First Congregational Church, 355 Main Street, Oxford. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Sam’s name to Star Island Annual Fund, 30 Middle Street, Portsmouth, NH or online at www.starisland.org. Sam’s family is grateful to the very caring staff at The Overlook Post-Acute Unit and to The Overlook Visiting Nurse Association Hospice Team.