Jeffrey W. Young began his next journey on May 18th, 2022, from his home in East Rochester, NY. He was welcomed with lush peony bouquets by his mother, Carol Jean Young (Ophardt), whose spirit was ever present during his valiant fight. Those who wished him ‘bye for now’, and whose hearts will forever need mending, include his wife, Erica; daughter, Melody (Eric) Welch; grandson James Welch; father, Wayne; sister, Julie (Jeff) Iler; loving ex-wife Karen (David) Raz; in-laws: Jayne “Mom” and Rick Linderman, Aaron (Victoria Calarco) Linderman, Rochelle (Shad) Moyer, and Sari Rupp; nephews: Kamron, Cody, and Emmett; nieces: Mia, Kayla, Talia, and Ellsie; aunts, uncles, cousins, and many close friends he considered family.
Jeff was an athletic and avid adventurer and outdoorsman. He found solice in the quiet of the mountains and forests. Camping with family and friends enabled him to share his passion. He generously chose smaller peaks and shorter miles for those less experienced. After climbing New Hampshire’s 48 high peaks he couldn’t wait to guide others through the same challenge. It was with warrior-like zeal that he trained for and completed races, marathons, and ultra-marathons on the trails, often with his “brothers” by his side. Thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail was a life-long ambition of his, but after walking over 600 miles he vowed to return when he was better equipped physically and mentally. His loved ones are honored to carry him the rest of the way.
Family and friends describe Jeff’s gentle smile as infectious and memorable. He could never pass up an opportunity to make others laugh (even his oncologist) and always enjoyed a good joke. His child-like enthusiasm, natural joy, and playfulness was relished by young and old alike. Jeff was admired for his perseverance in his passions and throughout his illness. His genuine love, warm heart, and strong hugs will never be forgotten.
Jeff’s family and friends would like to extend their gratitude to the Roswell Park Cancer Institute. The sincerity, compassion, and devotion of the neuro-oncology team, and Roswell Park as a whole, was overwhelming. Thank you Roswell for your unmatched excellence and benevolence. We would also like to thank URMC Home Care for not missing one detail, enabling us to worry less and be present with Jeff. Thank you for showing him love in his last days.
No formal services will be held. Family and friends will gather for a private remembrance at a future date.
In lieu of cards, flowers, or gifts, honor Jeff by: planting a tulip tree – their unique leaves and beautiful flowers were alluring and delightful for him on his traverse of the Appalachian trail; take a hike – with Jeff in mind; do something you’ve been wanting to do, but have found excuses not to – tomorrows are never guaranteed; practice patience for those less fortunate than you – one day you may find yourself just like them; and love one another – a little kindness goes a long way when you’re struggling to draw the strength to carry on.
Dream, Jeff, dream
Of woods and trails and flowing streams
mountain vistas in hues of blue
and loved ones who are missing you
Climb, Jeff, climb
Sure-footed and strong, conquering craggy peaks
Striding rocky trails bordered by wandering wildflowers
Taking note, reveling in beauty despite your weariness
longing for shelter, a place to rest
We could not walk beside you to the summit,
But trusted trail angels to guide the way
Until we meet again one day
Poem by Janet Olexy