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Life Story / Obituary
Joan Young, a longtime resident of Kalamazoo died on Friday, September 24, 2021 at her home. She was born on November 1, 1930 to Arthur and Viola Stephens and grew up in Newark, NJ. She and her husband Richard owned and operated Young Enterprises which specialized in the buying and selling of antiques. Joan was an avid duplicate bridge player and she loved to win. She was very physically active in her younger years, enjoying golf, platform tennis or just a long brisk walk. Joan and Dick traveled extensively over the years throughout the United States and Europe going to antique and gun shows where he was the wheeler and dealer and she was the business brain. They had a true partnership in business as well as life. Probably their most important work together was as champions for individuals with mental disabilities. Joan stood up to policy makers when advocating for her daughter Crissy to be able to be in her own home, asserting her right to care. This led others to do the same for their own children. Kalamazoo became a shining example of a community that supported choice and autonomy, thanks to Joan, Dick and Crissy. She was a board member for the Living Ways Foundation as well as Community Living Options. Joan and Dick also set up a foundation providing grants for the enrichment of the lives of the disabled and especially for those of limited means. They provided for thing like trips around the state and to Tigers baseball games. Joan was also a really snappy dresser. She loved good food, red wine and deep conversations with her friends and she was a very good friend to those who knew her well. As told to me by a friend, at the last board meeting she attended, Joan was the matriarch of the group – funny, generous and always thinking. She started every meeting asking what was going on at CLO and with the office staff. She was a good listener and generous with her compliments and appreciation toward acts of kindness. Members of her family include her 2 children: Donna Popke and Bruce Popke; 3 step-children: Linda Davis, Janean Nelson, and Beth Ilg. She was preceded in death by her daughter Cristina Lee Young in 2018 and her husband Richard H. Young in 2002. Cremation has taken place and private services will take place at a later date. Burial will be in Ft. Custer National Cemetery. Visit Joan’s webpage at BetzlerLifeStory.com to archive favorite memories, photos and sign her guestbook. Memorial contributions may be made to Kalamazoo Community Foundation.