William Lyall “Bill” Young III, born in Wolf Point on June 7, 1921, to William Lyall II and Tirzah Jane “Jennie” Smith Young, went to be with his Lord on June 16, 2018, at the age of 97.
On Oct. 3, 1938, he enlisted in Montana National Guard, and was on active duty until June 24, 1939, when he left to join the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps). After graduating from Wolf Point High in 1939, he worked one year on a cow farm to be able to attend Billings Polytechnic Institute (RMCH). His cottage cheese was “the nun’s favorite,” he remembered fondly. He was only able to go one semester before he joined the United States Air Corp in March 17, 1942. Bill served in World War II and the Korean War. He received the American Campaign Medal, the World War II Victory Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Korean Service Medal, the Armed Forces Reserve Medal, the United Nations Service Medal and the Bolivian National Order of the Condor. He retired in June 30, 1962, as Lt. Colonel, after 20 years of service and 10,000 hours of flying time as a Command Pilot.
Bill then went into partnership with his brother, Marshall, in a cattle feedlot venture (Yellowstone Feed and Cattle Co.) for three years, and then was with Mutual Benefit Life Insurance Co., where he earned an Insurance CLU degree and used his pilot skills to fly small planes to meet farmer clients. He retired in 1982. He enjoyed tennis and fishing, when younger, and was an avid exerciser, walking and jogging five miles a day. In his last years, he continued to walk every day. He had been member and a deacon of the First Presbyterian Church, and helped members through the Stevens Ministries. Dad pioneered a program for people to get life insurance where the beneficiary was the church. Dad’s faith meant a great deal to him. He often told us of how many close calls the Lord saved him from when in the Air Force. He was well known for his prayers over meals, his voice often choking with emotion.
Bill and LaWanda Irene (Higginbotham) Young celebrated 44 years of marriage until her death in 1989. Bill met Betty Johnson at WPS and fell head over heels immediately. They later found their paths had crossed before when Betty found a picture of both of them at a birthday party at age 4. Betty also knew Bill’s sister, Isabel, and mother, Jennie. Bill also knew Betty’s first husband Don “Butch” Johnson.
Bill lived on Cascade Avenue for over 40 years until he and Betty moved to Aspen View in Billings in 2008. The move was difficult for Dad, but he made the best of it as he did with everything. Dad was always positive, silent in his physical aches, and his favorite saying was, “If I were any better, there’d have to be two of me.” Then he’d laugh and Betty would say, “What would I do with two of you?” He has resided at Tender Nest Billings since Betty’s passing in 2012.
Survivors include his daughters, Gail Watson of Billings, Janis (Roy) Sullivan of California, Carol (Larry) Herderich of Billings; five grandchildren, Brian (Diane) Carroll, Jennifer Sullivan, Shaun (Sueanna) Sullivan and Caleb (Bill) Edison; and four great-grandchildren, Alicia Butler, Briana Carroll, Jeremy Sullivan, and Abigail Thiffault. He is also survived by Betty’s children, Herb (Sharyn) Johnson, Bea (Chuck) Trinder; grandchildren Eric (Chasidy) Johnson, Greg (Amy) Johnson and their children Lauren and Brennan. He was preceded in death by his first wife, Wanda, in 1989; his sister, Isabel; and his brothers, Marlon, Marshall and Douglas Young; his wife of 22 years, Beatrice “Betty” Bruegger Johnson Young; and grandson Ryan Sullivan.
Special thanks to Tender Nest, Brittinie, Mandy and Meesha for the tender care of Dad.
Dad will be interred at 11 a.m. Thursday, June 21, at Terrace Gardens, Garden of Prayers Columbarium, 304 34th St. W., Billings.
Dad, we honor your life and cherish your memory. Until we meet again, may God hold you in the hollow of His hand.