OBITUARY: Jack Young


“Pepsi” Jack Young, named George Homer Young Jr. by his mother and nicknamed, Jack, by his father, was born Dec. 9, 1926, in Mitchell County. He was preceded in death by his parents, George H. and Cordie Love Young; brothers, Finley Love, and wife, Edith; Ray Young, and wife, Dora Lou; Edward Young; and sister, Melba Miller, and husband, Howard.

In the winter of 1944, before his 18th birthday during World War II, Jack left home in Spruce Pine with his best friend, Charles Silvers, to serve in the Merchant Marines. His training was at Sheepshead Bay, New York. All of the young men swam in icy water as part of their survival training. Jack developed pneumonia and was in the hospital when his group deployed on a Liberty ship taking supplies to the troops overseas. The ship was hit by a torpedo a few weeks later, and all lives were lost. Pneumonia saved Jack’s life. On Feb. 8, 2020, after a long and God-blessed life, pneumonia came again.

After his time in the Merchant Marines, Jack returned home and married Mary Sue Roach in June 1947. In 1949, they moved to Detroit, Michigan, to work in the auto industry. A son, Gary Michael, was born in August 1950. Enough of life in the north, the family moved back to Spruce Pine, where Jack took a job with the police department. He became chief of police in Spruce Pine and served the town until 1954 when he took a job offer with Pepsi-Cola. A daughter, Deborah, was born in April 1954. Jack became manager of the Pepsi-Cola bottling plant in Spruce Pine, covering Mitchell, Avery, Yancey and Watauga counties for the Hickory franchise. He was with Pepsi for 34 years before retiring.

As a child, Jack played on the pile of stones used to build the First Baptist Church. He attended and was a longstanding member of the First Baptist Church of Spruce Pine, where he served as a deacon and Sunday School teacher. He regularly attended as long as he was physically able, and when he could not, he listened faithfully on the radio.  

Jack is survived by his wife of 72 years, Mary Sue; his son, Gary; his daughter, Deborah Tolley, and husband, Keith; his grandchildren, Melissa Woody, and husband, Dailen, Daniel Mark, Scott Anthony Tolley, and wife, Jessi, John Michael Tolley, and wife, Brittany; and great-grandchildren, Caden James Young, Sophia Grace Woody, Maddox Isaiah Woody, Addie Jade Young, Dawsyn Belle Tolley, Dallas Jackson Tolley and Jace Anthony Tolley; and also surviving are numerous nephews and nieces.

A funeral service for Jack Young was 3 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2020, at the First Baptist Church of Spruce Pine with Dr. Rocky Branch officiating. A time to support the family, share memories and receive friends was 1:30-3 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2020, at the First Baptist Church of Spruce Pine. Interment was in the Spruce Pine Memorial Cemetery.

Words of comfort may be emailed to the family by going to, selecting Jack Young’s name and signing his guestbook. Webb Funeral Home is honored to be serving the Young family. Mr. Young’s obituary has also been posted on Facebook.

Mitchell News-Journal • Feb. 12, 2020