Samuel Eli Young, 30, of Le Mars, Iowa passed away at his home on Friday, October 27, 2017. Celebration of Life Services will take place at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, November 4, 2017 at the Presbyterian United Church of Christ in Le Mars. Rev. Janis Christensen will officiate. Burial service will take place at 12:30 p.m. on Sunday, November 5, 2017 at the Murray Cemetery in Murray, Iowa, conducted by Rev. Jill Carlson Flyr. Visitation will begin at 3:00 p.m. on Friday, November 3, 2017 at the Mauer – Johnson Funeral Home in Le Mars. The family will be present from 5-7 p.m. with a prayer service at 7:00 p.m., conducted by Rev. Dr. Okitakoyi Michel Lundula. There will also be one hour of visitation at the church prior to the service on Saturday.
Samuel Eli Young was born on August 28, 1987 in Petaluma, California to Bruce Arnold and Debra Jean (Wetzel) Young. He began his primary education in Tigard, Oregon before the family moved to Le Mars in 1996, where he started 3rd grade at Kluckhohn Elementary. He and his family settled into the Presbyterian United Church of Christ, where he was confirmed in 2002.
“Eli,” as he was known during his school years, showed an early aptitude for music and started taking piano lessons in Oregon which he continued until his graduation from Le Mars Community High School (LCHS). He received “Best of Center” honors for his performance of Rachmaninoff’s Prelude Op. 3 No. 2 in C# Minor in High School Piano Contest his senior year. He took up the trumpet in 5th grade, switching to euphonium for middle school, the LCHS Big Red Band, and the Le Mars Municipal Band. He also played valve trombone in the LCHS Jazz band. In addition to his instrumental music, he had a love of singing, and sang in the Siouxland Youth Chorus as well as Middle School and High School Choirs, including the Crimson and Black Show Choir. He also qualified for All-State Chorus all four years of high school. Samuel Eli graduated in the top 10% of his class at LCHS in 2006.
Eli was involved in the Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts, as a member of Troop 181 in Merrill, and then Troop 188 in Le Mars, where he earned the rank of Eagle in 2005. His Eagle project was to lead clearing a couple of miles of firebreak in Five Ridge Prairie state preserve. In addition to attending summer camp most years with his troop, he also went on a 12 day trek at Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico in 2005 with a contingent that included his two brothers and his father. In addition to regular camping trips with his Boy Scout Troop, he also enjoyed boating and camping with his family, including many nights in a pop-up camper as well as a 5 day canoe trip in the Boundary Waters near Ely, MN and a 4 day backpacking trip in Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado.
Following high school, Samuel furthered his education at Iowa State University (ISU) where he majored in Materials Science and Engineering (MSE), earning a Bachelor’s Degree in 2010 followed by a Master’s Degree in 2013. His Master’s research on antiferroelectric ceramic capacitors resulted in 3 papers published in peer-reviewed technical journals. As a part of his studies, he spent the summer of 2008 in Spain, working on an undergraduate research project at Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (the Technical University of Madrid), where he also found time to visit many historical sites in Spain and visit Paris with new-found friends from Mexico who were studying at the same university. Samuel also had internships at Wellman Dynamics in Creston, IA, and SSAB, near Muscatine, IA. He was enrolled in the MSE PhD program at ISU until health issues forced him to withdraw.
At Iowa State, Samuel kept up his interest in music, singing in the Iowa Statesmen and playing in the ISU Symphonic Band. During his time in Ames, he also sang with the Ames Choral Society and the Ames Chamber Artists. He also sang at two of his sibling’s weddings in the last year and a half, accompanying himself on the piano for one of them. While Samuel had a part in his high school’s production of “The Music Man,” he became more involved in musical theatre during his time in graduate school, including parts in “Hello, Dolly!” produced by the Le Mars Community Theatre and “Kiss Me, Kate” produced by the Ames Community Theater. He became involved in another production of “The Music Man” in 2017 with the Sioux City Community Theatre, taking on the lead role of Harold Hill.
In his spare-time, Samuel enjoyed table tennis and was active in the ISU table tennis club. He also played tennis and was a member of his high school tennis team. He liked to ride his bike and in 2015 rode from Sioux City to Davenport in RAGBRAI XLIII. He was a member of the ISU Crew (Rowing) Club and also enjoyed rock climbing and could often be found on the climbing wall at the ISU recreation center. He was a gamer, playing a variety of computer games over the years, including League of Legends and Hearthstone, and was a voracious reader, enjoying fantasy and science fiction. Samuel cared for a variety of pets through his lifetime, including a bearded dragon lizard that he kept for 7 years, and a cocker spaniel puppy, Charli, that he got in 2016. He also enjoyed travelling with his family.
Grateful to have shared his life are his parents, Bruce and Debra Young of Le Mars, Iowa; his siblings and their spouses, Isaac and Luciana Young of Ames, IA, Nathaniel and Jerin Young of West Des Moines, IA and Stephanie and Andrew Lyons of West Des Moines, IA; grandparents, Dale Wetzel and his friend, June Bowers of Storm Lake, IA and Dwight and Susan (Cushman) Young of Sioux Falls, SD; a maternal aunt, Jackie and Dale Vogl of Bloomington, IL; a paternal aunt, Becky Keen and her friend, Mark Hoffman of Elk Point, SD; along with his cousins Michelle (Vogl) Connell of Iowa City, IA, Steven Vogl of Cambridge, MA, Jenelle (Keen) McKitterick of Canfield, OH, Molly Keen of Los Angeles, CA, Michael Keen of Lincoln NE; and godfather Chuck Waldren of Petaluma, CA.
He was preceded in death by his godmother, Joyce Waldren, and grandmother, Rosita Marie (Mathes) Wetzel, and will be buried near his grandmother’s grave in the Murray, IA cemetery.
Memorials in Eli’s name may be directed to the Sioux City Community Theater Youth Program, c/o Benji Cotter, 1401 Riverside Blvd. Sioux City, Iowa 51109.