February 25, 2013

Feature obituary: Lawrence Young, 71, well-respected local mechanic

By Melanie Creamer mcreamer@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

SOUTH PORTLAND – Lawrence Young, a well-respected mechanic at the former Ray-Mac Auto Sales in South Portland, died Thursday after a year-long battle with lung cancer. He was 71.

PASSAGES

Each day the newsroom selects one obituary and seeks to learn more about the life of a person who has lived and worked in Maine. We look for a person who has made a mark on the community or the person's family and friends in lasting ways.

Mr. Young, known by most people as Larry, worked at Ray-Mac for 23 years. He was remembered Monday as an excellent and trustworthy mechanic who had a loyal following of customers.

"I think everyone in South Portland knew him," said a sister, Donna Ohman of South Portland. "He could fix any car."

Mr. Young grew up in South Portland's Redbank neighborhood, the second oldest of seven children. He graduated from South Portland High School in 1959 and joined the Air Force. He was sent to Savannah, Ga., where he was trained in refrigeration and air conditioning.

In the mid-1970s, Mr. Young took a job as a boilermaker with Peerless Welding in Portland.

Around 1980, he was critically injured in a welding accident. His family said he was welding the top of an asphalt holding tank when it exploded and sent him 30 feet in the air. He landed on top of a steam pipe with burns to more than half his body.

"I remember going in the hospital to see him," recalled another sister, Sandra Shaw of Windham. "He was in the hospital for a long time. Larry was very, very strong. The healing process was a long one. He never felt sorry for himself. He went on with life."

Mr. Young spent the next phase of his life working for Ray-Mac.

He was remembered by his sisters Monday as a kind and caring man, who was well-liked by many people. He was an active member of the Portland Eagles and the American Legion Harold T. Andrews Post 17.

"He was very witty and independent," Shaw said. "He had a lot of friends. I didn't realize how many friends he had. In hospice, he had people dropping in left and right."

His sisters both recalled his love of watching NASCAR. In his early years, he restored a 1955 Ford.

"It was beautiful," Shaw said. "He was a Ford man. He loved Ford."

In February of 2011, Mr. Young was diagnosed with lung cancer. He went through extensive chemotherapy and radiation.

Soon after, his friends and family organized a benefit to help pay for his medical expenses.

In October, doctors told Mr. Young that his cancer had returned. They gave him six months to a year to live.

"I'd love to see a cure for cancer," Ohman said, noting that her younger brother also died of cancer.

"There seems to be so many people with cancer now. It's heart-wrenching when you lose two brothers to cancer. It breaks your heart."

 

Staff Writer Melanie Creamer can be contacted at 791-6361 or at:

mcreamer@pressherald.com

 

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