Youngs, Robert Leland

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Dr. Robert Leland “Bob” Youngs, age 96, passed away on April 25, 2020, in Blacksburg, Virginia. Bob was born on February 10, 1924, in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, to Frank L. and Florence (Wilcox) Youngs. He was preceded in death by his wife, Esther (Stevenson) Youngs, and his son, Steven Wilcox Youngs.

He is survived by his children, Susan Catchpole (Tom), Karen Youngs Hartley, Rebecca Youngs Johnson, and Sarah Reardon (Steve); daughter-in-law, Susan Grinna Youngs; his sisters, Lois Dennett and Myrtle Calkins; brother-in-law, John Stevenson (Jean); plus eleven grandchildren and eight great grandchildren.

Bob served in the United States Army, World War II. He earned degrees from Syracuse University, Univ. of Michigan, and Yale University. Bob worked 35 years for the United States Forest Service, leading research programs in Madison, Wisc., New Orleans, La.., and Washington, D.C. He served on the faculty of the Virginia Tech University, College of Forestry, and as online faculty for National Pingtung Univ. of Science & Technology, Taiwan. Bob was a member of Blacksburg United Methodist Church, active with Rotary International, and supported of the Community Foundation of the New River Valley. He and Esther led the establishment of the International Peace Garden on the Virginia Tech campus. He helped develop the local Huckleberry Trail, supported the Appalachian Trail, and advocated for forest resource conservation.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Virginia Tech Foundation – Robert L. Youngs and Esther S. Youngs Scholarship Fund, Blacksburg, Va. (, or to a land conservancy organization.

A memorial service will be planned for a future date. To share memories or condolences for Dr. Robert Leland Youngs please visit; or mail to P.O. Box 888313, Grand Rapids, MI 49588-8313.

Care for Dr. Youngs family has been entrusted to Seaver-Brown Funeral Service & Crematory, 237 East Main Street, Marion VA 24354.