Lawrence Young was that rare person who was totally comfortable in his own skin. A man of great loyalty, honesty, and integrity, he loved a good glass of wine, an intelligent argument, and doing the right thing. First a Georgia Tech engineer, then attorney, he later became a judge for the city he helped found.
Everyone who knew Larry will remember his fairness, his compassion, and his deep, booming laugh. “He was such a life force: smart, disciplined, ethical, loving and wise, that it’s hard to grasp our loss,” his longtime friend Rich Hart wrote.
Since receiving a serious cancer diagnosis almost 12 years ago, he battled head-on with courage, strength and optimism for as long as he lived, and drew his last breaths at home surrounded by his family on Jan. 20, 2020.
Born in April 1954 in Franklin, Kentucky to Douglas and Margaret (Hatter) Young, Larry grew up with a truly all American small town life.
Determined to challenge himself, he chose to attend Georgia Tech in Atlanta, which would become his home, and found a second family in his brothers at Beta Theta Pi, many of whom remained lifelong friends. Even then he had a reputation as a tough but fair minded guy who expected a lot from those he knew. Rick Wood said, “When Larry was treasurer and I was Beta House manager, I had to present a life cycle cost analysis before I could get approval just to buy parts to keep the toilets flushing!”
Graduating with a Masters in Civil Engineering, he joined Law Companies Group in Atlanta, and after a successful 10 years there, he decided that wasn’t quite enough. While working full time, he earned his law degree as a member of the charter class of Georgia State University’s School of Law, a constant source of pride for the rest of his life. He used his new skills to become Corporate Counsel at the same firm, then left to start his own law practice.
Outside his private practice, he dedicated himself to working in the community, which ultimately led to one of his proudest accomplishments: helping to found the newly minted City of Sandy Springs. Mayor Eva Galambos appointed him as one of the city’s first two judges, where he served eight years on the bench.
Of all the parts of his varied life, nothing made him happier than the 30 years he spent with his loving wife Kyle, and their son Harrison. Larry loved to travel and was amazed that a small town guy like him got to see so much of the world. He even got the beach house he always wanted. Ever the teacher, he shared his knowledge freely and would gladly spend hours answering questions or explaining a complex topic to anyone who asked (and sometimes those who didn’t.) Most famously, he explained the Doppler effect in great detail to a five-year old Harrison, who responded with “Thanks for that information, dad, but it wasn’t very interesting.”
He had a big raucous laugh that would fill up a room, especially since he was often the first to start laughing and would keep going long after everyone else’s had faded away. As his many friends could tell you, he was loyal to a fault. When he made friends, he kept them. His discretion was legendary, and most of all, you knew you could count on him. He might not always give the answer you wanted, but he was always honest and truthful and direct. “Be kind” was his first advice.
Larry was brother to Marilyn Young O’Dell, uncle to her sons Ben and Andy, and a true friend to so many who became family throughout the years.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the “Hon. Lawrence Douglas Young Endowed Scholarship” at Georgia State University’s School of Law.
A celebration of his life was held at Holy Innocents’ Episcopal Church in Sandy Springs, Georgia, on Saturday, Feb 1.