Howard W. Young Was Journalist and Traveler
Howard W. Young, 83, journalist, world traveler, photographer, raconteur and fourth-generation Vineyard seasonal resident, died unexpectedly Feb. 18 at his winter home in Key West, Fla. He was the husband of Helen (Hallie) Eggert Young.
He was born August 16, 1920, in New Britain, Conn., son of Louis Willets Young and Margaret Hart Young. At the turn of the century, his great-grandfather, William H. Hart, had discovered the Vineyard and purchased what was then the Bettencourt Farm in Oak Bluffs, extending from Farm Pond to the bridge at Second Inlet and including today's Sylvia State Beach. There, William Hart began to build the summer community known as Harthaven, and there Howard (Bung) Young spent childhood summers, delighting in swimming and sailing with his yachtsman father and with the numerous cousins who also summered at Harthaven.
His long career in journalism began when, at the age of 10, he was hired by two of his cousins - slightly older - Donald R. (Pete) Hart Jr. and Norman C. Eddy, to be a reporter on the Current Events of the Week publication they were producing on a family typewriter. "Even then Bung was a very, very good, thorough reporter," Pete Hart remembers. "He wrote such a vivid, detailed account of the death of an important New Britain neighbor that our families were up in arms and demanded that we recall all the papers we had printed. To mollify them, we fired Bung - which we should never have done." Sixty years later, however, when the publication began again as Current Events of the World, Bung Young was apologetically rehired as editor-in-chief for life.
That initial boyhood firing, however, did nothing to diminish Bung Young's enthusiasm for newspapers. (He got his nickname when, as he was learning to talk, he enthusiastically introduced himself to grownups as ‘Howdel Bung'). At the Choate School, from which he was graduated in 1938, he was assistant managing editor of the newspaper, business manager of the literary magazine and vice president of the press club. Emboldened by this experience, he applied to the Vineyard Gazette to be a summer reporter, and was in one of the first generations of such reporters. Among his tasks, he covered yachting and interviewed notables. Thirty years later, he recalled in an article in the Gazette how one of his first assignments was to interview "a man who had bought a farm in Chilmark and was raising Black Angus cattle. The man turned out to be James Cagney and I rode the tractor with him … and I climbed the hayloft while he pitched fodder and I scribbled notes about his latest movies and what he thought of Hollywood (not much) and the Vineyard (a lot)."
The Gazette's then editors, Henry and Betty Hough, were pleased enough with their young reporter to take him back the following summer after his first year at Harvard and to urge him to continue in the field of journalism. Following his graduation from Harvard in 1942 and his marriage to Hallie, he went overseas to serve in the Army in World War II. He remained in the U.S. Army Reserves for many years and proudly retired as a lieutenant colonel.
Following the war, he took the Houghs up on their suggestion and joined the staff of the Providence Journal. Next he worked for the newspaper supplement This Week and moved his family to Manhattan. Later, he worked as European representative of the magazine Argosy, living in a villa in Italy with his wife and three children. His last full-time journalistic assignment was with the U.S. Information Agency in Washington, covering the White House and the Pentagon. His love of politics flourished in Washington and continued throughout his life. While in Washington, he enjoyed attending meetings and lunches of the National Press Club, where he was a member.
They built a home on upper Chilmark Pond in 1970, calling it Safari House after an extensive trip to Africa. There, he and Hallie entertained family and friends with enthusiasm. Howard would recount stories of their travels in his gravelly voice and chuckle at their adventures. Free as he was then to dress and look as he liked, he grew an elegant long moustache that became his trademark.
After his retirement in 1980, he and his wife traveled extensively, with Mr. Young always loyally reporting on his travels to his old employer, the Gazette. And, every summer, he and Hallie were certain to be back on the Vineyard.
Fifteen years ago, the Youngs moved their winter residence to Key West, where - world traveler and former yachtsman that he was (he was on the race committee of the Edgartown Yacht Club) - he enjoyed watching the comings and goings of the cruise ships (most of which he had been on). They maintained homes on the Vineyard during this time so they could continue to enjoy their summers there.
Mr. Young is remembered by family and friends for his remarkable love of life, sense of humor, his warmth, loyalty, generosity, optimism and kindness.
He is survived by his wife of 62 years, Hallie, and his children Geoffrey (and wife Bernadine) of Washington, D.C., Sharon Murphy of the Abacos, Bahamas, and Candace (and husband Dennis) Guittarr of Duxbury; two granddaughters, Lindsay and Courtney Guittarr, and a brother, G. Geoffrey Young of New Britain. He was predeceased by another brother, Louis Willets Young Jr.
A memorial service will be held on the Vineyard in June where his ashes will be scattered over the Atlantic Ocean.
In his memory, donations may be made to the Vineyard Conservation Society or the Martha's Vineyard Hospital.