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Dr. Robert L. "Bob" Youngs


Dr. Robert L. (Bob) Youngs, age 96, passed away on April 25, 2020, in Blacksburg, Virginia.

Bob was born on February 10, 1924, in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, to Frank L. and Florence (Wilcox) Youngs. He was preceded in death by his wife, Esther (Stevenson) Youngs, and his son, Steven Wilcox Youngs.

He is survived by his children, Susan Catchpole (Tom), Karen Youngs Hartley, Rebecca Youngs Johnson, and Sarah Reardon (Steve); daughter-in-law Susan Grinna Youngs; his sisters, Lois Dennett, and Myrtle Calkins; brother-in-law John Stevenson (Jean); many nieces and nephews; plus eleven grandchildren and eight great grandchildren.

Bob served in the U S Army during World War II. He earned degrees from Syracuse University, The University of Michigan, and Yale University. During his career he specialized in wood technology and forest resources conservation. Dr. Youngs was recognized as an international expert in paper science, wood products, and tropical hardwoods. He served on numerous professional boards. Bob worked over 35 years for the US Forest Service, leading research programs in Madison, Wi., New Orleans, La., and Washington, DC. He served on the faculty of Virginia Technologic Institute and State University, College of Forestry later in his career, and as online faculty for National Pingtung University of Science & Technology, Taiwan.

Bob was a longtime member of Blacksburg United Methodist Church, active with Rotary International of Montgomery County, and a supporter of the Community Foundation of the New River Valley.  Together with his wife Esther, he led the establishment of the International Peace Garden on the Virginia Tech campus.  He also participated in the development of the local Huckleberry Trail, supported Appalachian Trail preservation, and was an advocate for land and forest resource conservation programs and for scientific education advancement.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Virginia Tech Foundation - Robert L. Youngs and Esther S. Youngs Scholarship Fund, Blacksburg, VA. (www.give.vt.edu), or to a land conservancy organization of choice.

A memorial service will be planned for a future date.

To share memories or condolences for Dr. Robert Leland Youngs please visit www.seaverbrown.com; or mail to PO Box 888313, Grand Rapids, MI 49588-8313. Care for Dr. Youngs family has been entrusted to Seaver-Brown Funeral Service & Crematory, 237 East Main Street, Marion VA 24354.

To plant memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Dr. L. "Bob" Youngs, please visit our flower store.


Bob was one of the founding members of the Board of Friends of the Huckleberry and served on the Board since 1992. He was instrumental in helping to extend the Huckleberry Trail from a length of one mile to the 15 mile network of trails and parks that it is today. He was a great guy to work with a quiet way of expressing well thought out ideas. He helped immensely in achieving the community's goal of connecting Christiansburg, Blacksburg and the Jefferson National Forest with a multi-use recreational trail and park system. He will be missed. Bill Ellenbogen, President, Friends of the Huckleberry

Bill Ellenbogen May 8 2020 12:00 AM

Bob was a devoted and tireless member of our morning Rotary Club in Blacksburg. He and Esther maintained the Peace Garden at Virginia Tech for years, with some help from our club. Bob served as president of the club when he was in his 80's!! A remarkable man!!!!

Reed Kennedy May 8 2020 12:00 AM

Friends and Family uploaded 1 to the gallery.

Friends and Family Nov 30 -0001 12:00 AM