The soft-spoken Decatur native was one of four organizers of WC Challenger Charities, which has put on the J.W. Hart Professional Bull Riders Challenge at the Sheriff’s Posse Arena since 2004.
In its nine years, the event has raised $394,600 with local organizations, its primary beneficiaries. United Way of Wise County alone received $224,000.
Young was eagerly looking forward to the 10th annual event. He had planned to attend a WCCC board meeting that morning.
“We’ve lost a good one, one of the best,” said Andrew Rottner, who along with Young, Wendell Berry Jr. and Calvin Jackson formed WCCC.
“Roy worked hard no matter what he did and was passionate about all that he did. He made hard work fun,” Rottner said. “He always brought a smile to your face, and I never saw him get truly angry at anyone. He’ll be terribly missed by so many.”
James Wood hired Young on Jan. 2, 1986, after he graduated from Tarleton State University. He had planned to work for the First National Bank in Decatur, but Wood told Young, “You can do that later. I need you now at the car lot,” recalled Wood’s son Raymond.
“Roy was my best friend all my life,” Raymond said. “We started in first grade and graduated together.
“He was the cornerstone at our dealership, the guy that people always came to. In 26 years, he may have missed two days total. He was always right there to help.”
The elder Wood pointed out that “you could set your clock by Roy. He was a true friend and always there for you. It’s a sad day today at our dealership.”
Wood Motors’ executive manager, Carey Williams, mentored Young, who started as a salesman and was serving as general sales manager for the Decatur dealership at the time of his death.
“We grew up together in this business,” Williams explained. “The words ‘loyalty’ and ‘commitment’ immediately come to mind thinking of him. You really don’t get to have that many true friends in life. Roy Young was definitely one of mine.”
Young spent hundreds of hours over the years working on various facets of the Wise County Youth Fair. He was the current president of the fair’s Champions and Blue Ribbon Club, another organization he helped create.
Funeral for Young will be at 10 a.m. Monday, Sept. 17, at the First United Methodist Church in Decatur, where he was a member. The Rev. Johnny Irish, chaplain Berl Pedigo and Mike Wheat will officiate. Burial will be at Sand Hill Cemetery south of Decatur.
Family visitation will be 6 to 8 p.m. Sunday at Coker-Hawkins Funeral Home in Decatur.
Pallbearers will include Randy Burkhart, Rusty Ford, Asa Johnson Jr., Mark Montgomery, Berry, Jackson, Rottner and Williams.
Young was born Dec. 11, 1962, to Jim Tom and Mary Evelyn (Bearden) Young in Fort Worth. He married Donna Sue Springs Feb. 13, 1988, in Decatur.
Survivors include his wife; daughter Emily Young of Decatur; and sisters Barbara Ashcraft of Waco, Debra Walker and husband, Ronnie, of Decatur, and Linda Young and husband, Alan Mayhew, of Fort Worth.
Young’s family asks that expressions of sympathy be made to W.C. Challenger Charities, P.O. Box 1238, Decatur, TX 76234.