By PORTIA A. SCOTT (www.atlantadailyworld.com)
James Young was well thought of as many family, friends and colleagues paid final tribute to him recently at St. Phillips AME Church on Candler Road in Decatur. They joined Pastor Rev. Stafford J. Wicker of Antioch AME Church in Stone Mtn., who said the deceased “fought a good fight.” Young died from a bout with throat cancer. He was 64.
On Saturday, March 3, Young was funeralized at St. Phillips, where several gave tribute, acknowledgements, reflections, and eulogized him as being here on earth in a tentative shell. He was also praised as “a good citizen and Christian believer.” Life here on earth is “tentative,” said his pastor, Rev. Wicker, who eulogized Young as moving to a better place as a Christian.”
“No matter what, you can’t keep it (this body) because all is tentative,” said the pastor. “You can’t stay here. God had a house for him (Young), and he faced death with dignity,” said Pastor Wicker, who knew the deceased well. “There are no more pain and pills, for he has been transferred to another house. Life (on earth) is finished,” Wicker said.
Young’s son, Dr. Justin Young, praised the deceased as “a truly great man, who never was boastful and who would go the length for others.” An emotional Justin said his father loved his family and had a legacy for others. Another son, Mel-Christopher Young, gave acknowledgements, and Henry Porter sang a solo, “My Way.”
Cynthia Day, who replaced the deceased as the president of Citizens Trust Bank, praised Young as “a great leader and man who knew all his employees by name, as well as their families and children.” He had immaculate presentation and deliverance and was an orator “with an arousing inspirational speech.” Day said he was a mentor to her and “had the ability to make us feel special and worthy.” She remembered him as a straight shooter and visionary … the compassionate one, a friend who was stellar and had integrity. “He had unconditional friendship and pushed you to your limits.” Day remembered Young for being “a gentle man who respected and loved his wife and family.”
Other reflections were given by Dr. Joseph Roberts, pastor emeritus of Ebenezer Baptist Church, who praised Young for his courage, creativity, consensus and commitment of service. “He was a true friend who had a source of power.” Ray Robinson, chairman of the Board at CTB, joined C. David Moody Jr., a member of the CTB board, said Young loved the Lord, his family, the CTB family, and the community. As a friend and colleague, Robinson said the deceased had high marks – integrity, loyalty and leadership, as well as “a huge heart.”
Michael A. Grant, president of The National Bankers Association, which the deceased was a member and a former chairperson (elected twice), made a presentation to the deceased’s wife at the funeral.
He praised Young as an orator and a true mentor, on both the local and national levels, who was sensitive to the struggles of minority banks. He was joined by treasurer Neil Wright Montgomery, who also acknowledged Young’s unselfish work.
The resolution honored Young’s life and legacy and reflected his strong work ethics. The deceased was named President Emeritus of the National Bankers Association.
A number of other resolutions and proclamations were read including one from DeKalb CEO Burris Ellis and DeKalb US Congressman Hank Johnson of the 6th District.
A truly community and business person, Young was well respected and loved. He was the former chair of Morris Brown College Board of Directors, a member of the Atlanta Rotary Club, the Carter Center, DeKalb County Chapter of 100 Black Men of America, the Boys and Girls Club of Atlanta, and Kappa Boule Chapter of Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity. Young was also an avid golfer, reader, guitar player and a photographer. He mostly enjoyed spending time at home with his family.
A graduate of Tennessee State University in 1971, Young spent his entire professional career in the banking industry. At the time of his death he was president and CEO of Citizens Trust Bank here, a position he assumed in 1998 after the merger between CTB and First Southern Bancshares and its principal subsidiary, First Southern Bank. He joined the First Southern Bank in 1993.
In addition to his loving and supportive wife, Rebecca Young, the deceased is survived by his three sons, Mel-Christopher Young, Damon S. Young and Dr. Justice C. Young; one daughter, Jennifer C. Young, who read from the Old and New Testaments; and three brothers, Robert, Alfred and Reuben (Pamela) Young. Young was buried in the family plot at Floral Hills Memorial Gardens in Tucker, with Gregory R. Levett & Sons Funeral Home in charge of the remains.
A repast followed the funeral at Saint Philip African Methodist Episcopal Church, where many family and friends attended.