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Couple killed in house fire fondly remembered in neighborhood

Rex Barber • Mar 19, 2012 at 10:13 PM

Abbie and Robert Young used to walk around their neighborhood, hand-in-hand, when the weather was good for it.

“They were always holding hands. They were the nicest couple,” said neighbor CL Trentham. “They were a very devoted couple, to see them at their age going along holding hands. That’s unusual.”

Abbie L. Young, 89, and Robert Goodman Young, 91, both of 608 Pine Ridge Road, died from a fire at their home Friday afternoon. Abbie died in the home. Robert died later at Johnson City Medical Center.

Firefighters found the couple on the stairs after getting inside the home.

The fire was determined to be electrical.

CL and her husband, Graden, remembered the Youngs as “the finest people.” They said Abbie was a little more reserved than her husband, who was always eager to talk.

Graden said when he and CL were out walking through the neighborhood, they would often stop and chat with the Youngs for a while.

“They planted a garden,” Graden said. “You’d see them both out behind the house down there where they had the garden.”

The Young’s son, Robert Young Jr., said his mother and father were soulmates who would have been married 68 years April 1. The couple loved Southern gospel music, taking walks and raising a garden.

“They were kind of like the neighborhood grandparents from what people were telling me,” Young Jr. said. “Everybody sort of gravitated to them.”

Graden said Robert was certainly always friendly.

“I’d wave at him and blow (the car horn) at him if he was outside when I went by and he’d wave every time,” Graden said of Robert.

CL was a hairdresser, and Abbie would visit her until recently to get her hair done.

The Youngs had lived at their Pine Ridge home since 1976, though they moved to Johnson City in 1954.

Robert was in the medical field and retired from the Veterans Affairs Medical Center. He then went to work at Big Lots and retired from there, too. Abbie retired from Johnson City Medical Center.

Young Jr. said his parents were always together for the nearly 70 years they were married.

“It is an incredible amount of time,” Young Jr. said. “For a couple to be together that long is incredible in this day and time.”

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