Arthur John Young


San Luis Obispo, California

Arthur John Young died peacefully at home in San Luis Obispo on February 22, 2017, at the age of 94. Born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1922, he was the first son of Harriet and Arthur Glen Young.

A few months before his third birthday, he sailed from New York Harbor to Los Angeles with his parents, younger brother, aunt, uncle, and cousins. Throughout his life, especially in his later years, he thanked his parents for making the move to California.

Arthur graduated from Benicia High School where he played football, wrote about sports, and was selected to attend Boys' State. Encouraged by his high school principal, he continued his education at the California Maritime Academy. At a dance for midshipmen organized by the City Hostess of Stockton, he met Naomi Belew. They were married in 1946 and made their first home in San Francisco. During the early years of their marriage, as a Naval officer and maritime engineer, Arthur was often at sea. Among his most fervent memories was that of evacuating from Chosin, North Korea, the last of the battle-worn, frostbitten U.S. troops. He would never forget the image of the Marines throwing their weapons overboard as they proclaimed, "Never again!" Overall, Arthur enjoyed his sailing days and the opportunity to see the world. He retired as a lieutenant around the time his third child was born because he felt strongly that life at sea was not compatible with family life. In 1958 the family moved to San Luis Obispo where for ensuing decades Arthur was happily employed as chief engineer at Cal Poly.

The most important thing in his life was his family. He participated actively in the lives and education of his children celebrating their achievements, and at the same time he shared his wife's appreciation of the work of local artists. For a number of years, the couple operated an art gallery and gift shop in Cayucos where they hosted special workshops and craft classes. After retirement in 1985, Arthur and Naomi traveled throughout the world, sometimes taking Naomi's mother and their grandson on their trips. Eventually Arthur became caregiver for his mother-in-law, making her final years as comfortable and joyful as possible. A decade later he was doing the same for his wife. His final years were at home with his daughter and son-in-law where he enjoyed companionship, watching Jeopardy, dinner parties, and visits from friends young and old including a visit last summer from Nicole and Marc Devaux of France. He looked forward to his weekly seaside luncheons with Chance Hoellwarth, and he delighted in the conversations he had with Cal Poly students Carolyn Bird and Heather Freed and those with the Reverend James O'Connor who pleasantly surprised him with a visit on Christmas Day and was also with him the day he died. Arthur is survived by daughter Claudia Devaux Larson (Ron); sons Mark Jeffrey Young (Dorothea) and Lance Graham Young; grandson Christian Arthur Devaux (Josefina), great- grandchildren Marc Arthur Devaux and Ana Cristina Devaux; and his brother David A. Young (Doris); as well as numerous cousins, nieces, and nephews.

Arthur was preceded in death by Naomi, his wife of sixty-five years. The lessons illustrated by his life include being continually grateful for beautiful days and loving care, encouraging and applauding others, giving people the benefit of the doubt, cutting people slack rather than holding a grudge, doing good whenever possible, never forgetting those in need, and being kind to animals. These values informed his political views that favored diplomacy over military action and legislation on behalf of the common good over self-interest and greed.

A memorial service is planned for the summer. Meanwhile, contributions to Central Coast Hospice would be one way to honor Arthur as would prayers for those who are alone with no one to love or care for them.

Sign his guestbook at

Published in San Luis Obispo Tribune on Mar. 2, 2017

My dad, Arthur John Young, passed away on February 22 of this year. He enjoyed a good life right up to the end.

Among his things was the USS Skagit Newsletter of May 20, 2014.

In recent years, wearing his Skagit cap, he lunched weekly at a nearby seaside restaurant.

I remember being on the Skagit when I was about six. One time as the ship was sailing in through the Golden Gate and we were on our way to the port, my mother stopped the car so that we could see the ship. She got out of the car and waved vigorously. Then she put a coin to get a view through the binoculars set up for public use and saw that sailors on board were waving back to her. At that point she got my brother and me out of the car and had us wave back. Later, we boarded the ship. Another time we had dinner on the Skagit in San Diego. At school, I drew pictures of the ship with the marking, AKA 105."

My dad also served on the USS Winston.

Thank you for keeping the Skagit crew connected. I am sure the newsletters and website mean a lot to many old sailors and their families.

Claudia Devaux