Murray Young – An Outstanding Leader in Church & Community

Retired school superintendent, Murray Young, said that the United Church has been “a stable institution” in his life. The ninety-five-year-old member of First United in Port Credit said his closest friends have been church members, and he considers himself fortunate to have been involved in several good United Churches over the years.

Young came to the United Church early. His father immigrated to Canada in 1903, from Glasgow, to study at Knox College. He was ordained a Presbyterian, and later a United Church minister. His first charge was in the District of Assiniboine, twenty miles north of Yorkton, which he had to reach by horseback.

When Young was a boy, the family moved to London, Ontario, where he graduated from London Central Collegiate in 1939. When the outbreak of war altered his career plans, Young joined the Royal Canadian Air Force and was stationed in England for three years. “That’s when I gained an interested in history,” he said, “and that tilted me towards teaching.”

After his time in the service ended, Young studied history at McGill and then moved east to attend the Ontario College of Education. While teaching at Etobicoke and then Burnamthorpe Collegiates, Young attended Islington, United.

He quickly rose through the ranks into administration. And as a regional superintendent with the Etobicoke Board of Education, Young was instrumental in the establishment of Ontario’s first secondary school to be developed exclusively for the arts. (Now there are several in North York, Scarborough, Ottawa etc.) Young is proud to say that several graduates of the Etobicoke School of the Arts have gone on to star at the Stratford and Shaw Festivals. He and his wife of 65 years, Connie, have often attended plays at both venues and cheered on his former students.

After he retired and moved to Mississauga, Young was a founding member of Applewood United in Mississauga. He and Connie remained there for 12 years, before they moved down to Port Credit in the 1970’s, to the house they still occupy. They have been a member of First United since then – over forty years.

Young has been a trail blazer in many ways – in the churches where he has served as board member, personnel officer, and organizer of various committees and clubs. But perhaps his greatest forte has been in the area of lifelong learning. Not only has Young brought his expertise as an educator to church communities, he has been generous with his gifts and talents in the communities where he has lived.

Over ninety, Young still plays an active part in an Etobicoke-based organization called Learning Unlimited – which features university professors’ lectures for seniors on a weekly basis, and the regional branch of the Probus Club – an international association of retired professional and business people which gathers for social, educational and cultural activities.

A model for those far younger than himself, Young doesn’t show any signs of slowing down. He still travels frequently and is an inspiration to his four children and eight grandchildren. He credits the United Church with providing him with many good friendships, and a sense of social and spiritual stability throughout the years.