Catherine Young, 98

Catherine Agnes Young, of Kalamazoo, and formerly of Sturgis, died on March 7, 2011, at Upjohn Community Care Center.

Catherine was born on Nov. 7, 1912, in Toledo, Ohio, the daughter of Thomas and Lena (Jelinek) Hosek. She was preceded in death by her beloved husband, Harold, in 1998, her brother, George Hosek and sister, Alice Wilson.

Catherine is survived by her brother, Thomas Hosek and her sister, Mildred Watts; her daughter, Janice Courtney and her three children, Kelly Hernandez, Keith Courtney, and Jamie Courtney; daughter, Jeanine Young-Mason and her three sons, Scott Angell, Gregg Angell, and Glenn Angell; and her son, James Young and his two daughters, Julie Van Egmond and Kim Johnson; 14 great-grandchildren and several nieces and nephews.

After graduating from high school at the top of her class, Catherine attended college for a year studying biology and then became a dental assistant for several years. Until her retirement, she worked full time in several companies in Sturgis. Catherine’s deep concern for the welfare of others led to a life-time involvement in civic and church affairs and interest in education, alongside her husband who was an elected Sturgis School Board member for 14 years. They were very proud that all of their children and grandchildren earned college degrees. She and a friend started the Girl Scouts and Child Study Group in Sturgis and helped establish the Youth Center. Catherine had a great love for the arts and travel and made several trips to Europe, including one of great importance to her: the Czech Republic where she and her sisters found their mother’s home. She and her husband were members of Trinity Lutheran Church in Sturgis and Catherine was an active participant in the Ladies Guild at Trinity caring for the altar linens and communion vessels.

Catherine and Harold developed and maintained large vegetable gardens and canned and froze their produce. This practice provided for the family during World War II and beyond. Their flower gardens were a family tradition and a community feature. They made large amounts of Christmas cookies and candy each year to be shared with the community. They thoroughly enjoyed camping and fishing trips in Northern Michigan.

Catherine had a depth of moral courage and faith that sustained her and that continues to be a guiding force for her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. Her wry sense of humor was always present, her care and concern for her family and friends was legend. In all of her 98 years she was a remarkable presence.

A private memorial service will be held in the Spring. Memorial contributions in honor of Catherine should be sent to the Sturgis Area Community Foundation at 310 North Franks Avenue, Sturgis, and should be designated for the Harold and Catherine Young Scholarship. This scholarship is a legacy intended for Sturgis High School seniors pursuing a teaching career. All three of Catherine and Harold’s children have had teaching careers.

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