Russell O. Young, Sr., 96


Russell Owen Young, Sr., 96, of Litchfield, formerly of Tower Hill, died on Friday, Aug. 28, 2020, at HSHS St. John’s Hospital in Springfield.

A graveside service will be held Sunday, Sept. 6, beginning at 2:30 p.m. at Tower Hill Cemetery with Pastor Derrick Ritchie officiating. Military rites will be conducted by Pana Veterans Honor Guard. McCracken-Dean Funeral Home in Pana is assisting the family.

Mr. Young was born March 2, 1924, in Hillsboro, to Harold Dwight and Ruth Elizabeth (Green) Young, Sr. He married Ida M. Nelson on Aug. 3, 1946, in St. Paul, MN, and she preceded him in death on Sept. 1, 1992. He later married Mary Alice Widner on March 31, 2001, in Tower Hill, and she survives.

He graduated from Hillsboro High School with the class of 1943. Following his education, he served two years in the U.S. Navy during WWII and served two more years in the U.S. Army during the Korean War.

Mr. Young worked as a carpenter prior to moving to Tower Hill, when he started working at Caterpillar in Decatur in 1956. He retired at the age of 62 after 30 years of service. He and his wife Ida then started working as site supervisors for Inner City Mission in Springfield, a mission to help the homeless to find lasting stability. Later, he partnered with his good friend and returned to carpentry.

He served for over 60 years at Tower Hill Christian Church in leadership as elder, deacon, Sunday school teacher and in the Praise Band. He also served in the Tower Hill Lions Club for 40 years, served on the village board for several years and also the Tower Hill School Board. Additionally, he also served as president of the Tower Hill Senior Citizens.

Everyone that knew Mr. Young will associate him with a passion for playing the harmonica. He played the harmonica all his life in bluegrass festivals, praise band, talent shows, at the senior citizens building, family get togethers and wherever there was music. He used his talent for the Lord for the last two decades by putting together a band to play music at Pana and Litchfield nursing homes every week until his 96th birthday.

He was very involved with political action. He studied, corresponded and supported many conservative groups at the state and national level, evident by the stacks of mail he received daily.

In addition to his wife Mary, Mr. Young is survived by his children, Russell “Butch” (Ruth) Young of Pana, Sharlene “Sherry” (Les) Lindsay of Tower Hill, Kevin (Connie) Young of Forsyth, Kayla (James Riley) Olinger of Pana and Wanda (Kenny Tapscott) Widner of Pleasant Plains; 13 grandchildren; 30 great-grandchildren; 10 great-great-grandchildren; and siblings, Harold Young, Robert “Bob” Young, Gerald “Jerry” Young, David Young, Betty Roper, Alice Deright, Judy Volk and Beverly Smith.

In addition to his wife Ida, he was preceded in death by his parents; grandson, Casey Olinger; great-grandson, Devin Young; and siblings, James Young, Rosaleen Moseley and Burnetta “Nippy” Mohl.

Memorials may be directed to Tower Hill Christian Church or Inner City Mission in Springfield and will be accepted by the funeral home.

Online condolences to the family may be left at


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