GORHAM — Robert Young taught welding and metal fabrication to inmates at the Maine Correctional Center in Windham for 30 years.

He also was an accomplished farmer who had a passion for agriculture and taught many young people how to raise and train cattle through a 4-H Club.

Though his work at the correctional center and his contributions to the farming community were important to him, nothing topped the love he had for his wife, Eleanor, and their five children.

Mr. Young died on Monday. He was 80.

“He led a very rich life,” said his daughter Roberta Morrill of Windham. “His richness came in the form of his family and friends, and having his passions and the ability to live them out.”

Mr. Young joined the correctional center in 1962 as a vocational teacher at a school there. He taught welding and metal fabrication to the inmates. He and his students regularly did projects such as fabricating metal security equipment and making the inmates’ beds. He also repaired equipment for other state agencies. He retired in 1992.

“He was a true artisan of that skill,” said Jim Howard, assistant superintendent at the correctional center. “The quality of his work and the quality of his students’ work were top-notch. Nothing left his shop unless it was well done and done right.”

Susan Deschambault, a social worker at the correctional facility, remembered him Wednesday as a company man who believed in his work.

“His students were convicted felons and he taught them how to do good work,” she said. “He was a real role model. … He was a good, honest man who loved his family.”

He was married to Eleanor Young for 58 years. The couple met at Hannah’s Farm in Sugar Hill, N.H. At the time, he was a student at the University of New Hampshire, pursuing a degree in animal husbandry. She was working at the farm.

Morrill said Wednesday that when her father proposed to her mother, he promised to bring her back to her farm on every holiday. He kept his promise.

“No matter what the weather, we made the trek,” Morrill said. “They had a simply wonderful life.”

Throughout his life, Mr. Young was active in the farming community. He worked as a herdsman at Meserve Farm, Shaw’s Ridge Farm and Oakhurst Dairy. He also raised his own cattle and hogs.

Mr. Young was very active in the University of Maine’s Cumberland County Extension 4-H program. He formed the Brass Knobs 4H Steer Club in 1967 and managed the 4-H working steer program at the Fryeburg Fair for many years.

Morrill said her father taught many young people how to raise cattle and be leaders in the community.

“He organized field days so the kids could bring their cattle and practice their skills together,” she said. “To put in the kind of time and wrap your family time around 4-H events — he absolutely loved it. He got two son-in-laws out of it.”

Mr. Young was diagnosed with dementia a couple of years ago. Recently, he had a respiratory virus and couldn’t beat it. Morrill believes her father didn’t want to fight. His wife died in December and he was heartbroken, she said.

“He missed her terribly, beyond words,” she said. “I think he is so very much at peace.”

Staff Writer Melanie Creamer can be contacted at 791-6361 or at:
[email protected]