Obituary: Petey Young

Petey Young
November 19, 2022

February 15, 1930 – October 31, 2022

Petey Young died on October 31, 2022, in Vancouver BC, having relocated there after being a longtime Ashland resident. She was 92. Petey lived life on her own terms, and she died on her own terms too. She chose a medically assisted death, and she chose it with the same quirky enthusiasm that she brought to the zillions of other unconventional choices she made throughout her extraordinary life. 

Petey was born on February 15, 1930, in Michigan, to Robert and Erma Hall Young. Her parents named her Mary Patricia but, as a child, she insisted that she be called Petey instead, and so she was. Several of her subsequent choices were more mainstream than that. She became president of her college sorority, and she married her college boyfriend, Richard Whipple, with whom she would have six children (Miles, Graham, Derek, Kelin, Galen, and Quincy-Robyn) who then gave her six grandchildren.

But, starting in the 1950s, she pivoted more fully to the road less travelled. She joined a community theater troupe, writing, directing and acting. She became a prolific poet. She was so disheartened by the politics of McCarthyism that she took her growing family overseas for many years — living in Ghana, Singapore, and Ethiopia.

At some point in there she declared her marriage to Rich to be a “four-person marriage” and invited their friend Bob and his wife into it. (Their marriages didn’t last, but her love affair with Bob — who died a few weeks before she did — lasted for the rest of their lives.) She returned to the U.S. in the 1970s, but the transition was not a kind one: Nixon was President, her marriage ended, and her family was separated. And so Petey embarked upon a remarkable mid-life educational journey, culminating with a Ph.D. at the age of 50 from the University of Wisconsin. She went on to have a fulfilling career as a professor of teacher education at Southern Oregon University in Ashland.  

Petey loved bright colors. She loved to travel to far-flung places. (At the age of 91, for instance, she went to the Galapagos and the Amazon rainforest.) She loved to write, whether in the form of poems or letters or journals or the skits that she sometimes performed at family gatherings (once in the nude). And she loved — or maybe she just couldn’t help it — to eschew traditions and to flout other people’s expectations about what she, and her life, should be.  

Petey will be remembered fondly for these and many other things too (her elaborate stories, her intellectual curiosity, her elliptical phrasings, her delightful sense of humor, her unfailing generosity). Those of us who were with her when she died will also fondly remember that when the assisting doctor asked her if she had any questions, Petey — with that familiar sparkle in her eye — said: “None that you can answer.” 

Condolences and/or anecdotes about Petey can be sent to qryoung@gmail.com.

Obituaries may be submitted to Ashland.news via our online article submission form, or via email to news@ashland.news, with a photo or two attached if desired. Please be sure to include dates of birth and death, and reference to connections to Ashland/Talent/Southern Oregon. Please allow a few days for posting. There is no charge. Those wishing to make a donation supporting the Ashland.news service may do so here.

Share this article

Ryan

Ryan


Sound and Fury

Latest posts

Newcomer Hansen embraces pragmatic agenda for council

Local businessman Eric Hansen wants to lead with a pragmatic approach when sworn into the Ashland City Council in January. He campaigned on a platform of economic and ecological sustainability and vitality but, for starters, suggests starting council meetings at 4 p.m.

Read More >

Inner Peace: Retirement as a road to inner peace

Victoria Leo: ‘If you think that you are the career, and you feel the power over your life choices that getting those monthly earnings gives you in a market economy, the future generates fear, and fear is not conducive to inner peace.’

Read More >

Relocations: The heartbreaking futility of still another Blitz

Herbert Rothschild: “It’s hard to dismiss spite as a motive for aerial assaults on civilian targets unassociated with ground offenses against them. That’s especially true because retrospective studies of such assaults during World War II revealed that they do little to impede fighting capacity and, if anything, strengthen the popular will to carry on.”

Read More >

Explore More...

Newcomer Hansen embraces pragmatic agenda for council

Local businessman Eric Hansen wants to lead with a pragmatic approach when sworn into the Ashland City Council in January. He campaigned on a platform of economic and ecological sustainability and vitality but, for starters, suggests starting council meetings at 4 p.m.

Read More>

Inner Peace: Retirement as a road to inner peace

Victoria Leo: ‘If you think that you are the career, and you feel the power over your life choices that getting those monthly earnings gives you in a market economy, the future generates fear, and fear is not conducive to inner peace.’

Read More>
ashland.news logo

Subscribe to the newsletter and get local news sent directly to your inbox.

(It’s free)