Mark Bradley Young, age 68, peacefully passed away on Sept. 6, 2021, in Safford, Arizona. He was born at St. Mary’s Hospital in Tucson, Arizona, on May 19, 1953. Mark had an adventurous childhood growing up in the Binghampton community of Tucson, amongst friends and family members of all ages. As a kid, his father taught him about hunting and fishing and took him on many adventures. As a young boy, he spent time with family and had many stories of adventuring throughout Tuscon and surrounding areas with friends or cousins. These adventures were significant to Mark, and this adventurous spirit is something he carried with him throughout his life.
He attended Catalina High School and excelled in high school gymnastics. Growing up in Tucson, he had a bit of a reckless character and got himself into all sorts of mischief, but he also knew what was most important in life. He enjoyed scouting, hunting, camping, spelunking, fishing, and adventures of every kind. He carried this adventurous spirit throughout his life and instilled it in his children and friends from all walks of life.
After high school, Mark served a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in England. He enjoyed his mission very much and spoke fondly of his time there. He loved being a missionary for his church or working with the youth in any capacity. He loved taking on his callings and making friends with those he worked with, taking the Single Adults on field trips to sporting events or outdoor adventures.
He made friends wherever he went. After his mission, he returned to Tucson and was active in single adult activities, dances, and spending time with friends. He met his future wife, Ellen, during this time and decided to spend the next chapter of his life with her. Mark and Ellen were married in the Mesa Arizona Temple on June 9, 1977.
Mark worked for McDonald’s for more than 20 years and trained/mentored many youths. After leaving McDonald’s, he worked for Open Loop and then worked as a mechanic on mine trucks. He excelled at anything he put his mind to and became a talented mechanic. As he grew older he taught and mentored the younger mechanics as they came, always making friends with those he worked with.
Mark so loved his childhood in the close-knit community of Binghampton and felt that raising his family in a similar community was most important. His close cousins/friends, Don Wynne and Rick Haller, had already begun their lives in the Gila Valley and told Mark that it was a similar community from their childhood. The idea of raising his family in a similar place was all he needed to hear, so as soon as he and Ellen were married, he loaded up his new bride and brought her to Thatcher in a camper trailer.
As soon as they parked their trailer, he set out making new friends. His very first friends were his home teachers, Wayne Damron and Larry Hull. They would spend hours at Mark and Ellen’s home and laid the foundation for a lifelong friendship between Mark and Wayne. Shortly after settling here, he attained a small plot of land off First Avenue in Thatcher, where he built his home to raise his family and stayed throughout the rest of his life.
Mark and Ellen raised six children in Thatcher; Sarah, Brad, Leslie, Jacob, Daniel, and a later in life surprise and blessing of Connie. Mark loved a good challenge and imparted practical words of wisdom to his children throughout their lives. He would find inventive ways of teaching his loved ones through movies, music, stories and podcasts, and adventures! He also loved back rubs and head rubs and asked for them every chance he could.
Mark made friends in every walk of his life and had many friends throughout the Gila Valley. He loved making treats for his friends that he would take over during the holidays or just because he wanted to. He was known for his jerky, seasoning, and salsa, and he would never share the recipe. When Mark would bring his treats around, he would sit and visit and get caught up with his friends and what they had going on. He was known as a jokester and a loveable pest, but he always took the time to have a genuine moment with those he encountered and loved.
Mark loved any adventure, especially if it could be turned into an exciting story afterward. One particular experience was when his cousin’s son, Kirk Wynne, had gone on a hunting trip alone and hadn’t returned home that evening. No one knew where Kirk was, but Mark had spoken with Kirk a few days prior and had an idea of where he should go looking. Mark loaded up some gear, called his buddy Wayne, and set off to help locate and rescue Kirk. Kirk had been injured and would have been unable to make it out on his own. Mark called Kirk every year on that day afterward.
He was a proud grandfather to 11 grandchildren and always wanted to know what they had going on. He had an incredibly close bond with Brad’s son, Caleb, and would plan exciting adventures for him every time he came to visit. His family was an essential part of his life, and he would do anything for them.
Mark had a strong sense of community and wanted to make sure that all of his friends were being taken care of by encouraging and mentoring those that he was close. His closest friends were also his nearest neighbors, and he would do anything for those he cared for. He had friends of every age and was always making more friends. In these last few years, he had once again befriended his home teachers, the Chidesters, and also befriended the Chidester boys, Jesse and William. Mark would often call them up to come over to help him with getting odds and ends done around the house. They were a highlight in his life.
He loved good movies, going to the theater, taking road trips, and listening to old rock & roll music, Linda Ronstadt and Sade. Mark enjoyed watching the news and discussing politics or UofA Wildcats sports. He loved going shooting, doomsday prepping, fishing, hunting, boating, or anything that got him out on an adventure. He loved good food, but tacos were his very favorite. He and his best buddy Wayne would enjoy tacos every Tuesday. Mark was a die-hard UofA fan and would follow all UofA players throughout their professional careers and cheer them on throughout their lives. His roots were in Tucson, and he treasured his childhood.
Preceding Mark in death are his parents, Bill and Lucille Young; his brother, Ronnie Todd, and son, Wellington “Brad” Bradley Young.
On Thursday, Sept. 9, a graveside service will be held at the Eden Cemetery at 8 a.m. in Eden, Arizona.
Arrangements were taken care of by McDougal’s Caldwell Funeral Chapel located at 112 E. Main St., Safford, Arizona.