ST. PETERSBURG — Farewell services honoring the life of Keith Richard Young were held at Bethel Community Baptist Church Dec. 29. Over 300 people from the community that Young loved and served so much came out to pay tribute to this wonderful family man, friend, community leader, activist and businessman.
Young was born in Kingston, Jamaica, on August 31, 1942. He graduated from Holmwood Technical High School and moved to New York where he received a bachelor’s degree from Medgar Evers College in 1978.
Young’s professional career evolved along multiple paths. He served in the United States Air Force and Coast Guard, retiring after 24 years of service with the United States Army.
As a successful entrepreneur he owned Young’s Income Tax, Caribbean Palm Tree Bar and Grill and the Villa Cabana, an assisted living facility.
Despite Young’s business ventures, he was equally involved in his community. He diligently served with the NAACP, Youth Build Program, Council of Neighborhood Associations and the Uhuru Movement. He was a member of the Civilian Review Committee, served as treasurer for the Happy Workers Board of Directors and advocated for the economic development for the small business sector in south St. Petersburg.
Young’s greatest love of all was for the youth in the community. His daughter Pye Young-Calvin said that her father was a big proponent of holistic educational opportunities for the youth.
“To not only learn from what’s in a book but also with their hands,” she said.
Young-Calvin described her father as the well-rounded and fun-loving dad that any child would have loved to have. She mentioned how he would make a game out of driving to school by pretending they were being chased.
“By the time you would get to school you’re frazzled, but you’re there and you’re alive.”
Young’s niece Joan Passley moved from up north to live with his family and reflected his bottomless well of encouragement, and longtime friend Pop Lancaster talked about how he valued their friendship because Young always had something uplifting to say and encouraged everyone to take the high road.
Officiating over the ceremony was Rev. Dr. Manuel L. Sykes, who provided words of comfort for his family, friends and the community.
Young departed his earthly home Sunday, Dec. 18, leaving behind his wife for 44 years, Florette F. Young and their children Patrice Young and daughter Pye-Calvin Young. Also left to cherish his memory is his brother Eric Young, sister Valda E. Williams and grandchildren Jared Austin Young and Ava-Etana Calvin, along with a host of nieces, nephews, cousins and other extended family and friends.
Young was interred at Sarasota National Cemetery on Friday, Dec. 30.