John Armand Young passed away on Sunday, February 27th at the age of 80. He was at home surrounded by family as he slipped away. For the last three years, he had been fighting cancer, but did not let the medical treatments slow him down. John continued to do the work that he loved which was to restore cars or motorcycles at his shop.
His last project was restoring a 1964 Chrysler New Yorker. It is the very same car he first restored when starting his "Classic Auto Restoration" business 41 years ago.
John lived an astounding life. For 75 years he worked on cars, but his passion was riding motorcycles. He was extremely proud of his achievements racing in Enduro competitions during the 60’s and 70’s when he won many National Enduros and nearly captured the title of Grand National Champion. His favorite race bike is now a classic which is a BSA 441 Victor Enduro Special.
John was an active member of the Streeterville Scramblers Motorcycle Club. His contributions earned him the prestigious "Cap'n" award which is given to members who are an inspiration to others.
John traveled the world. In 1960 he drove the entire length of the "Mother Road" (Route 66). He snow skied in Europe and went snowmobiling in Alaska. His most epic trips were when he was motorcycle riding in the Isle of Man, England, New Zealand, the Alps, Slovenia, Croatia, Italy, Germany, France, and Canada or driving through Norway, Scotland, Denmark and every one of the fifty states. Kathy joined him on most of these adventures.
John was a master mechanic and expert auto body craftsman. He has restored some impressive cars and motorcycles that have earned him prestigious awards from Pebble Beach, Milwaukee Concours d’Elegance, Barrington Concours d’Elegance, and many others. Cars that he restored include a1929 Rolls Royce Town Car, 1935 Mercedes Benz 540K, 1948 Delahaye, 1955 Mercedes Gullwing 300SL, and a 1972 Ferrari Daytona. He also restored many motorcycles. His favorite was a 1930 Brough Superior OHV Black Alpine which is now on display at the National Motorcycle Museum in Anamosa, Iowa.
John was a fantastic storyteller. He enjoyed presenting his tales in such an interesting way that you could not help but be captivated. John’s stories could easily hold your attention for hours. He had an incredible memory and could recall just about any event in his life as if he was reading a book. Everyone remembers John as a mentor and someone who really cared about the well-being of others. He would do whatever he could to help. Mankind has lost one of the great ones.
John is survived by his devoted and loving wife of 37 years, Kathy. He had three children who are David, Ronald, and Marjean; six grandchildren and 2 great-grandchildren.
A memorial will be held on Saturday, March 5th at the Kahle-Moore Funeral Home in Cary, Illinois. Visitation is from 9:00 AM to 11:30 AM. The funeral service is at 11:30 AM. Interment will be private.
To honor John’s passion for automobiles, a scholarship has been established for students who are interested in automotive degrees or certificates. Donations may be made to the John and Kathy Young Automotive Award at McHenry County College. Checks can be made payable to the Friends of MCC Foundation, or donations can be made online at www.mchenry.edu/donate. Under the Designation drop-down menu, please select John and Kathy Young Automotive Award and feel free to share comments in the comment section.