Landscapes 14


Thomas W. Youngworth

September 8, 1931 ~ February 3, 2017 (age 85)

Thomas W. Youngworth, 85, of Overland Park, KS passed early in the morning of February 3, 2017 at the Kansas City Hospice and Palliative Center in the presence of his children.  Services will be held at Holy Cross Catholic Church, 8311 93rd St, Overland Park KS, on February 8, 2017, with visitation beginning at 12:30 and services at 1:30.  Tom will be buried in Tyndall, SD on Friday, February 10 in the Youngworth family plot.  Visitation will be held at the Wietz & Ray Funeral Home, 2901 Douglas Ave, Yankton, SD, with burial to follow.  In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Yankton College Alumni & Educational Center, PO Box 133, Yankton, SD 57078-0133


Thomas William Youngworth was born on September 8, 1931 in Yankton, SD.  The family lived in several rental homes close to Yankton College until 1936 when his parents built a home near the college at 1204 Pine Street.  His education began in Yankton at Sacred Heart Elementary School.  When his father Carl’s National Guard unit was called to active duty during WWII, Tom spent time in a variety of high school settings in Chico, CA; and Fairfax County, VA; until returning to Yankton for high school graduation in 1949.  Ever connected to his hometown, Tom enrolled as a freshman at Yankton College in 1949.  After pausing his education to embark on several active duty tours in the USAF, Tom ultimately graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree from Yankton College in 1958.  He then pursued and earned a Master of Education degree in 1964 from Northern State University in Aberdeen, SD.


Tom joined the South Dakota National Guard in 1949, then transitioned to serve in the United States Air Force as a Private in 1950.  During the Korean War, from 1950-54, Tom was stationed at Landsberg Air Base in Germany as a member of the USAF Security Service where he was, in his own words, “not in harm’s way.”  Unaware at the time of his European heritage, Tom later learned he had relatives living nearby in Alendorf, Germany and Schaffhausen, Switzerland.  Upon his return from Germany he returned to reserve service until 1956.  At that point he was honored to resume active duty as a student in the USAF Pilot Training Program, stationed in North Carolina and Texas.  Even though he was eliminated from training in 1957 after graduating from Primary flight school, Tom maintained contact with his fellow Fighter Group members for many years.  After more than 26 years of combined active and reserve duty he retired in 1976 with the rank of Major. 


Tom married Barbara Lou Friend on April 26, 1958 in Yankton, SD.  After beginning their marriage in Sioux Falls, SD, they welcomed five children to the family: Andrew Carl (born in Sioux Falls, SD), John Thomas (born in Sioux Falls, SD), Thomas William, Jr. (born in Aberdeen, SD), Theresa Elizabeth (born in Kansas City, KS), and Nancy Lou Ann (born in Kansas City, MO).


Tom and Barbara moved from Sioux Falls, SD to Aberdeen, SD in 1961 where he began working for the South Dakota Employment Service and the South Dakota Department of Labor.  He transitioned to Federal Department of Labor service when the family moved to Overland Park, KS in 1966.  After serving his home state and country as both a member of the military and a civilian, Tom retired from the Department of Labor in 1986.


Work couldn’t let go of Tom, or maybe he couldn’t let go of his drive to serve.  Barbara bought and ran a successful Century 21 real estate franchise beginning in 1979, and Tom joined her in the business for 10 years after leaving the Department of Labor.  He then cut his hours to part-time when he began work with the City of Overland Park, truly retiring at the age of 75.


Tom was an avid reader of historical fiction and non-fiction.  His personal interests varied from aviation, to history, and sports of all kinds.  The common threads linking all of them were community and family.  Tom was a long-standing supporter of his alma mater Yankton College.  He also thoroughly enjoyed (and often suffered while) supporting the Royals and Chiefs.  Most importantly, though, Tom was a devoted husband, father and grandfather, and great-grandfather and delighted in sharing his interests with them.  If there was a ball game, track meet, or dance recital to attend, Tom did his best to be there watching his grandchildren perform.


Thomas Youngworth was preceded in death by parents Clara (Cle) Magdalene Heck Youngworth and Charles (Carl) Ivan Youngworth.  He is survived by his loving family, including his wife, Barbara;  children, Andrew Youngworth of Carthage, MO; John and Lori Youngworth of Louisburg, KS; Tom and Tess Youngworth of Overland Park, KS; Theresa Chesnut of Mountain View, CA; and Nancy and Rob Atwater of Lee’s Summit, MO.  Grandchildren remembering Grandpa/Pops/Popsy include: Aaron and Kendall Youngworth, David and Beth Bohl-Youngworth, Aimee and James Campbell, Shelby and Colby Johnson, Hillary and Lawson Warren, Kelsey and Matthew Roselli, Keely Youngworth, Aric and Abby Youngworth, Megan Youngworth, Adam Youngworth, Lydia Youngworth, John Chesnut, and furry grandkid Willie.  Eleven great-grandchildren round out the Youngworth family tree to date.

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