The life and career of Dr. Andrew B. Young — family physician, professional delegate, community organizer, loyal companion and beloved father, came to a close on Wednesday, February 13 in the late afternoon. Dr. Young had struggled with an escalating illness since the previous summer, and was transferred to hospice care in Chilliwack only days before, where he passed away surrounded by his treasured family and devoted friends. He was seventy-eight. A profound sense of loss is deeply felt by his wife, Marilyn; by his daughters: Cathy and Sharon; by his sons: Brian, Don and David; by his grandchildren: James, Lindsay, Daryl, Andrew, Mackenzie and Madalynn; by his brother Archie, and his sisters, Isobel and Jean, as well as by his many nieces and nephews and their families. This sad deprivation is shared by a sizeable company of Dr.Young’s life-long friends, and by the community, the profession and the country which he served with such enthusiasm, and in which he so earnestly believed.
“Drew” was born in 1934, the eighth child of John and Mary Young (nee Bryson). His parents had immigrated to British Columbia from Scotland five years before, his father taking up a new situation as herdsman and stock manager to the nascent Faculty of Agriculture at the University of British Columbia. Excepting the loss of two brothers, one to illness and one to the Canadian war effort, Drew’s young life was blithe and happy, spent at University Hill School under the sternly benevolent tutelage of Miss Skelton, playing basketball and baseball with bosom pals Don Gunning and Herb Forward, serving on the student council, and assisting his father in the running of the University Dairy. Drew’s memories of those years were of a ‘forest freedom’ and youthful riot such as is known by too few youngsters today. He went on to attend UBC in the Faculty of Sciences, where a strong academic showing allowed him to enter the sixth class of the new UBC Medical School, having completed only three years as an undergraduate. He graduated UBC Med in 1959, followed by an internship at Calgary General Hospital, having married the love of his life, Marilyn Gowan, two years before. The young couple settled in the eastern Fraser Valley, in the farming and then military town of Chilliwack, and had five children. Drew took up a large family practice with full hospital privileges, running a clinic with his brother Dr. Archie Young, a partnership that was to last for 35 years. “Dr. Drew” became known to the people of the valley as a physician of exemplary patience and compassion, in whose presence no ailing soul ever felt neglected or forgotten. For Marilyn and his children at home, for the fledgling Chilliwack YMCA, for his colleagues and his community, he built a good life.
The Young family occupied its time with sport-skiing and swimming, golf and basketball, board games and bridge; with summer travel to virtually every corner of the B.C. wilderness; and with reading and study of all manner of topics, from Canadian politics to Darwinian evolution, these often occasioning perfervid discussion around the family dinner table, where Drew’s skills as moderator, were much required. Christmas Eve at the Young household was typically a crowded affair, involving a large cohort of family friends, as well as a multitude of Drew’s patients from all walks of Valley life, dropping off tokens of gratitude to the family doctor who had shown them such empathy in time of need.
Apart from his private practice, Dr. Young’s career as public servant and representative of the Canadian medical profession was perhaps the contribution in which he took most pride. In 1976 he became a delegate to the B.C. Medical Association’s board of directors, the beginning of a commitment that was to last for more than a decade. He was eventually to serve with distinction as Chairman of the B.C.M.A. Economic Committee, Chairman of the Canadian Medical Association Council on Health Care, delegate to the C.M.A. General Council, Member At Large of the B.C.M.A. Executive, as well as a member of a many other professional commissions. His colleagues remember him as an accomplished ‘consensus builder’, whose inexhaustible goodwill and rational faith in his peers was an inspiration. In 1994 the UBC Medical Alumi presented him the Dr. Wallace Wilson Leadership Award. This was followed in 1996 by the B.C.M.A. Dr. David Bachop Gold Medal in recognition of an outstanding contribution to health care by a family practitioner in the province; and in 2003 by the B.C.M.A. Silver Medal of Service for dedication to patient care and service to organized medicine. If Drew Young himself had been given the opportunity to sum up the entirety of his own active and prosperous life, he would have said simply that he felt so lucky, and so very grateful. In lieu of flowers or any other offerings, donations can be made to the “Drew Young Memorial Fund”, being held In Trust by the “Chilliwack Hospital & Health Care Foundation” (CHHCF). Funds allocated to this memorial will, at the discretion of Dr. Young’s family, be donated to a cause related to Hospital/Health Care intiatives at Chilliwack General Hospital. Please visit the CHHCF website at www.chhcf, or by phone at 604-702-9506 to make a donation. Funeral service to be held on Saturday, Feb. 23, 2013 at 1:00 pm at the Chilliwack United Church, 45835 Spadina Ave, Chilliwack, BC.