Harry Young; 1931-2014: Custom homes builder backed baseball teams

Harry Young
Harry Young

Harry Young, a builder of custom homes who coached and sponsored baseball teams — from youth to, in recent years, adult players — died Sunday in his West Toledo home. He was 82.

Mr. Young had cancer, but traveled to Fort Myers, Fla., in October for the World Series of Roy Hobbs Baseball. His team, Harry Young Builders, had a perfect record during the season and finished second out of 65 teams in the tournament. What’s more, Mr. Young was inducted into the Roy Hobbs Hall of Fame for his contributions to amateur adult baseball.

“He was thrilled,” his wife, Marlene, said. “It’s hard to explain about Harry, him and his baseball. He just loved baseball.”

He learned of his illness early in 2013 but still coached his team in the Mid-American Masters Baseball League, for players age 45 or older.

“It was a tremendous bunch of men, a pleasure to be around,” Mr. Young told The Blade in December. “They made me a winner one more time.”

Mr. Young coached his sons when they were boys and continued through other age levels after they stopped playing. All told, hundreds of players were on “Harry Young Builders” teams from the late 1960s on.

His approach was “old-school baseball,” said David Perez, who first played for Mr. Young on an adult team nearly 20 years ago.

“He definitely was a skipper,” Mr. Perez said. “The old school is you work hard. You go out and give 100 percent.

“He didn’t treat his players like players. He treated you like family,” Mr. Perez said. “He was like a second father to me.”

Mr. Young’s company, Harry Young Builders, was known for its high-end custom homes. Visitors noticed the quality, said his son Keith: hardwood floors and tile; granite counter tops and solid stairways.

“He had a lot of nice woodwork,” said Keith, a painter who worked on his father’s homes. So did another son, Kevin, also a painter.

“Everything was built on-site by carpenters,” son Keith said. “When you walked in, you knew it was custom by the touches he added.”

Mr. Young painted houses, inside and outside, before he started building houses.

Harry Don Young was born Sept. 10, 1931, in Richmond, Ky., to Ruth and Donald Young. The family moved to Toledo, and his father was a sign painter. Mr. Young was a 1950 graduate of Scott High School. He was an Air Force veteran of the Korean War.

Surviving are his wife, Marlene, whom he married May 10, 1958; sons, Kevin and Keith; seven grandchildren, and seven great-grandchildren.

Memorial services will be at 1 p.m. Saturday in the Walker Funeral Home, Sylvania Township, with visitation from 2 to 8 p.m. Friday and after 11 a.m. Saturday.

The family suggests tributes to the American Cancer Society or a charity of the donor’s choice.

Contact Mark Zaborney at: mzaborney@theblade.com or 419-724-6182.