Ross Young, former P.E.I. MLA, dies

Many Islanders are expressing shock and grief today at the death of former Prince Edward Island politician Ross Young. He was 59. 

Young was elected to replace his father, who died in office in 1991

Former P.E.I. MLA and beloved football coach Ross Young has died at 59. (Angela Walker/CBC)

Many Islanders are expressing shock and grief today at the death of former Prince Edward Island politician Ross Young. He was 59. 

Premier Dennis King issued a written news release Friday offering condolences and remembering Young's many contributions to politics, sport and Island life.

"I am saddened to note the passing of Ross Young, former member of the Legislative Assembly and a close friend to so many Islanders," King said. 

Young was born in Souris in 1962, and attended Mount Allison University and the University of Prince Edward Island. He worked off-Island following school and eventually returned home to Souris.

He was first elected to the P.E.I. Legislature in a 1991 byelection in the former electoral district of 1st Kings, succeeding his father Ross (Johnny) Young, a longtime and popular Liberal MLA who died at age 58. 

Re-elected in 1993, Ross Young served on several legislative committees and was a member of the Election Act and Electoral Boundaries Commission. In 1994, he sponsored the bill that created single-member electoral districts in the province. After leaving politics in 1996 Ross worked in financial services and post-secondary education and as a private consultant, the release said.    

'Passion and dedication'

Young was passionate about football and helped re-establish minor football in Eastern Kings, coaching the Souris Wildcats. From 2016 through 2018 he coached the Holland College Hurricanes football team, who remembered him Friday.

"His passion and dedication to his family, the student-athletes of Holland College, and the game of football will always be fondly remembered," a Facebook post from the Hurricanes said in part.

The parent of one of those players also posted fond memories of Young to Facebook.

"Coach Young literally gave me the hat off of his head because he wanted me to have some Hurricane swag," wrote Jon Sandomirsky. "Coaching is more than X's and O's. It's connecting with people. Not sure many did that better than coach Young!"

Many others expressed shock, calling Young a mentor and a friend.

Angel Briones said Young convinced him to move from Mexico to P.E.I. to be an offensive line coach and student. Briones said Young was his first friend and generously helped him get settled, starting a "better life." 

"Bring presents every Christmas, you helped me with many things and all you asked me to do is to give the best. You will be missed greatly," he posted to Facebook. He said Young also helped him apply for a scholarship. "Quite a fella, great attitude all the time."

Young also served on the boards of the P.E.I. Tackle Football League, Junior Achievement, the Holland College Advisory Board, the United Way of P.E.I. and more. He was also a member of the Kings County Exhibition Association, the Souris Curling Club and the Souris Ski Club.

"Ross was a proud Islander and an active community member both in public and in private life who will be greatly missed. My deepest sympathies go out to Mary, Laura, John Ross and Jay on their loss at this difficult time," King added in the release. 

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