Cover photo for Robert Charles “Bob” Young's Obituary
Robert Charles “Bob” Young Profile Photo

Robert Charles “Bob” Young

Click Here To Donate to BRAC

Robert Charles Young (“Bob”) died peacefully on December 11, 2022, in Alexandria, VA. He was born June, 2, 1935, in Chicago, Illinois.

Predeceased by his wife, Ann Young (2020), and daughter, Christine Herrman (2002), Bob is survived by his sons Michael Young and Brian Young; grandchildren Elizabeth Garrison, Gabriella Young-Smith, Isabelle Young-Smith, Rose Hurlock, and Nathan Hurlock; great-grandchildren Jordan McGahan, Noah Herrman, Zachariah Garrison, Asher Garrison, and Eli Garrison; and his sister, Carolyn Young.

Bob grew up in Chicago and Glenview, IL, the middle of three children, his younger sister Carolyn, and older brother Jim. Bob graduated from New Trier High School in 1953; attended U of Illinois (1953-55); graduated from Earlham College, BA Sociology (1958), MA Community Dynamics (1960); attended U of Edinburgh (1956-57); and graduated from Indiana U, MA & PhD Economics (1962 & ’69).

In February of 1963, Bob met Ann Ware, a registered nurse, at an IU party. They were married six months later (by a minister Ann had previously dated who actually fainted when the newlyweds kissed upon being pronounced man and wife!). Soon thereafter, Bob and Ann travelled to Calcutta, India, with the Ford Foundation for the first of Bob’s forays into international community development work, which he would continue the rest of his career.

Upon returning to the US in 1968, Bob taught Economics (Ohio State U), and he and Ann adopted Christine (’69) and Michael (’70). In 1973, they moved to Geneva, Switzerland, for Bob’s work with the UN’s International Labor Organization, where Ann gave birth to Brian (’74). They moved back to the US in 1979 for Bob to begin work for the US Dep’t of Labor, where he continued until retirement in 2005, though for most of that time (1979-2000) he would be detailed to the US Agency for International Development.

Bob’s career as an economist, especially his time at AID, suited him well. His greatest hope, he wrote, was for our global civilization’s values to be restructured so that the horrors of greed, poverty, hate, and violence toward the environment, animals, and humanity, are soon overcome by the joys, happiness, majesty, beauty, genius, courage, magic, and compassion of life. Traveling to 54 countries, mostly in Africa, Bob devoted his work life to international development, seeking to alleviate on the individual and community levels, poverty combined with gross inequality.

But Bob’s drive to make the world a better place for people, animals, and the environment, was not restricted to his career. At home, with his family and friends, he made his life’s purpose just as manifest: riding his bicycle to work, refusing straws and ice, mowing the lawn with a push—not gas—mower, refusing to contribute to demand for meat—for environmental, non-violence, and health reasons—even though he loved eating it, volunteering at homeless shelters, contributing heavily to charity, attending the church Ann preferred even though he always said he could not believe in a God who lets our world experience such great suffering, and talking at length about local and global inequality and justice issues with all who would engage. Complementing this drive to help the world was also a tendency to wear his heart on his sleeve, to quickly get teary-eyed, to poke fun, to eat dessert first, and to crawl on the ground playing “monster” for his grandchildren. This was Bob.

In 2017, with Ann experiencing significant health issues, Bob and Ann left their Fairfax, VA, home of 38 years to move into The Hermitage, a senior living community in Alexandria, VA. The years between then and April 2020, when Ann died from COVID-19, were especially difficult for Bob as he supported Ann. But his love and commitment to her, so evident during their 57 years together, continued even after her death. When Bob died, his wedding ring was still on his finger.

Finally, Bob’s neighbors also knew and benefited from his nature. A consistent refrain after his death was that he was special in many ways; but to find a philosophy of life and to actually live it, as he did, is to excel in ways beyond what most of us are capable of.

A memorial celebration of Bob’s life will take place on Saturday February 25, 2023 at 10 AM at Mount Vernon Unitarian Church, 1909 Windmill Lane, Alexandria, VA 22307. Memorial service will be followed by light reception, then, if people want, travel in their own vehicles out to Little Georgetown Cemetery in The Plains for interment of ashes. Please contact Brian Young,, to be placed on a list to receive relevant information. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the international development organization, BRAC, at

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Robert Charles “Bob” Young, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Gathering / Celebration of Life

Saturday, February 25, 2023

10:00 - 11:00 am (Eastern time)

Mount Vernon Unitarian Church

1909 Windmill Lane, Alexandria, VA 22307

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


Saturday, February 25, 2023

Little Georgetown Cemetery

, The Plains, VA

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


Visits: 1

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the
Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Service map data © OpenStreetMap contributors

Send Flowers

Send Flowers

Plant A Tree

Plant A Tree