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Tribute to the late Ira Milton Young

Tribute to the late Ira Milton Young

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30.MAR.07

Ira Young was born July 4th 1914 to Eustace and Gerusha Young in Kingstown where he grew up. “Pappy” and “Mother G” raised five children; Gwendolyn, Vivian, Irvin, Ira and Eileen. Eileen Roberts is today the only survivor of this line.

He was a regular visitor to the Scott family home at Calliaqua and later Ratho Mill, where he met his charming Grenadian spouse, Grace. She was laid to rest some two months ago. This marital union produced Robert and Sonja, three grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

After obtaining his early education in Kingstown, Ira found employment at the Department of Electricity under the colonial government of the day. He mastered the skills of electrical installation and maintenance and the repairs of electrical appliances. In 1950 he had a life-threatening experience, through electrical shock. He was affected physically and lost the use of his left arm.{{more}}

After many challenges and setbacks, Ira recovered well enough to launch himself into the field of electrical installation and the sale of electrical appliances and equipment. He founded the firm of “Valu Electrical Service Ltd” in 1951. “Valu” has survived many challenges during its fifty-five years plus of operation but is still family owned and operated. Undoubtedly, Ira Young became the pioneer of electrical contracting and with the advent of CDC and widespread electrification programmes throughout St. Vincent, his name and that of “Valu” became established nationwide. My parent’s home was wired by “Valu” in 1953. My home was wired by “Valu” in 1973. Many of our electrical items were bought at “Valu”. I am sure this experience can be multiplied severally, throughout this congregation. VALU ELECTRICAL SERVICE LTD and IRA YOUNG served to set the standard of excellence for electrical installation and the provision of electrical appliances in this country.

This feat could not be achieved single-handedly, as his wife Grace and a dedicated staff was there to render full support. In the absence of opportunities for formal training, Ira and “Valu turned out an impressive array of electricians throughout the past fifty-five years. In this vein his son, Robert, has not only followed in his father’s footsteps, but has climbed to higher heights in the field of electrical engineering and electronics.

Ira Young was a deep thinker and he shared his wisdom and insights with those who knew him well. He was a man of few words but I truly enjoyed interacting with him. He offered advice freely and followed with interest the progress of his friends and that of their children. It was advice on: property ownership, building a house, planting trees and much more.

He assisted many persons, old and young alike, financially as he sought in his own style to improve living standards in his native land. Many of us owe a debt of gratitude to his generosity in one-way or another. My brother, Earl, was his godson and benefited greatly from this relationship; and yet, he was like a godfather to all in my family. We called them “Nennie” Grace and Uncle Ira with fond respect and admiration. Sometimes I wondered what made Uncle Ira tick. I admired his humility, his simplicity, drive and determination. Truly a mentor, yet mysterious.

A man of Ira’s talents had to find outlets in other areas. He found them in photography, toy making, landscaping, woodwork projects and more. Those of us who knew him will remember him in different ways-the father, family man, friend, employer, electrician, businessman, advisor. The list goes on.

Truly, St. Vincent and the Grenadines has lost a patriot, a son of the soil, a genius an unsung hero.

May he find rest and comfort in the arms of the Lord.

Penned by F.I. Jack

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