For release October 31, 2006
DR. ROBERT L. YOUNG, UTSI PIONEER, DIES;
AEDC FELLOW WAS ESTEEMED PROFESSOR
Dr. Robert LyleYoung of Tullahoma, who
pulled together the first academic program for The University of
Tennessee Space Institute in 1964, and pioneered as professor,
associate dean, and director of academics, died early today at
St. Thomas Hospital in Nashville. He was 81 years old.
Dr. Young had led UT’s graduate program at Arnold Engineering
Development Center for seven years before UTSI was established
Sept. 24, 1964, and played pivotal roles in the life of the
Institute before retiring in 1990.
He was inducted in
1994 as an AEDC Fellow.
Known for his intellectual brilliance, penetrating questions and
biting humor, “Bob,” as he was called, remained an active member
of the UTSI Support Council until his death.
Visitation for Dr. Young will be from 4 to 8
p.m. Thursday (Nov. 2) at Daves-Culbertson Funeral Home in
Tullahoma. Services will be at 10 a.m. Friday at First
Presbyterian Church, Tullahoma, and burial will be in Neoga,
Survivors include his wife, Sara Crawford
Young of Tullahoma; three sons, Scott Allen Young, Tullahoma,
Ronald Young, Franklin, and Scot Robertson, Estill Springs; four
step-children, Daniel Crawford, Matthew Crawford, Michael
Crawford, all of Tullahoma, and John Crawford of Jacksonville,
Fla., and two grandchildren, Dillon and Dryden Young, both of
“Our dear friend and colleague was a UTSI institution – a true
pioneer -- and will be greatly missed,” said Dr. Donald C.
Daniel, UT associate vice president and UTSI chief operating
officer. “Bob was always quick with a smile and kept us foremost
in his thoughts. He was also a trusted and valued advisor to
many of us.”
Dr. Young was an assistant professor of mechanical engineering
at Northwestern University – where he received his
undergraduate, master’s and in 1953, his Ph.D. -- before moving
to Tullahoma in 1957 to succeed Dr. Joel Bailey as head of the
UT-AEDC Graduate Study Program.
As the September 1964 opening of UTSI approached, the first
director, the late Dr. B.H. Goethert, had been named chief
scientist of the U.S. Air Force Systems Command, which meant he
would spend a lot of time in Washington, D.C. So the task of
assembling an academic program fell to Dr. Young, the first
deputy director of UTSI and professor of aerospace and
mechanical engineering. He later was named the first associate
dean and director of UTSI’s academic program. In 1978, he
returned to the classroom and assumed his favorite role as
professor. At UTSI, he was major professor for 80 students
completing degrees (with thesis) for master’s degrees and for
ten students who completed Doctor of Philosophy degrees.
Robert E. Smith Jr. of Manchester, one of the 22 graduates of
the UT graduate school operated at AEDC before UTSI was
established, once commented that Dr. Young, one of his
professors there, “had a knack for phasing questions on his
tests so that if you knew the principle, you could work the
problem in a couple of hours. If you didn’t, you could never
Born on a small farm four miles from Neoga, Ill., on April 3,
1925, Bob Young was an avid student from the start. After his
mother taught him to count and to spell his name, he could
hardly wait to enter the one-room country school in Lambert –
the only one in his class. He later said he felt a special
incentive to learn his assignments. He graduated from Neoga
Township High School with excellent grades.
As a 15-year-old high-school sophomore, he wrote as his ambition
to “land a job in a little high school as a math teacher and
coach.” At that time, he declared that he would be satisfied “if
I could afford to live in a fairly modern bungalow, drive a
fairly new car, and have a paid subscription to some good
magazines and newspapers.”
It was only after he moved to Coffee County that Dr. Young
learned that his great-great-grandfather James Dryden had been
born in the Blue Stocking Hollow in southern Bedford County.
After the death of his ancestor’s wife, Mr. Dryden walked 400
miles and settled in central Illinois, near Mattoon and Neoga,
Dr. Young said.
A long-time member of Tullahoma’s First Presbyterian Church, Dr.
Young sang in the church choir as recently as two weeks ago. He
was an active member of Tullahoma Rotary Club.
DR. ROBERT L. YOUNG
Pioneer UTSI Educator and Associate Dean
Writer: Weldon Payne (931) 393-7222