Alpha Dean Young, age 89, passed away peacefully in her sleep on October 24, 2020 in Hillsdale, Michigan. She was born on June 16, 1931 to Roland and Clara (Taylor) Cantrell. She married Houston Young on March 9, 1951.
Alpha grew up in Smithville, Tennessee with her siblings Charlene, Mary Ann and Alton. She enjoyed playing on the basketball team in her youth. She met Houston Young and married at the age of 19, moving to Detroit, Michigan to start their lives together during the automobile industry boom. Working at General Motors as a seamstress, she raised 5 children: Doyle, Dona, Rodney, Rita and Jason. Alpha instilled in them her love for her home state of Tennessee and of family, making frequent trips with them, going to state fairs and visiting family members.
When you heard your middle name leave Alpha’s lips, you listened. If she was giving advice about your problems, you knew she was right. She kept everyone out of trouble. Whether that meant protecting her sister from lizards crawling up the wall or getting rid of some chiggers with a little help from a kerosene bath, she was there with the answer. When the seams felt like they were coming apart, she always had some way of stitching them back together.
Most of all, she instilled the meaning and importance of family to everyone around her. She was a catalyst in bringing her tight-knit family together and set the example for how everyone could be there for each other in both good times and bad. She taught you to kick your heels up and dance with the rest of them. She was the epitome of a devoted mother, raising her children to be caring and compassionate. This devotion extended to her grandchildren and great-grandchildren, who she cared for as if they were her own. She braved Michigan snowstorms to watch her grandchildren, spoiled them with late night pumpkin pie and never forgot a birthday. Her capacity to love was limitless and her impact is timeless.
After their kids and many of their grandkids started their own families, Alpha and Houston moved from Detroit to Hillsdale, Michigan and began a more relaxed life reminiscent of their Smithville upbringings. Alpha kept watch of the birds visiting outside her window and Houston worked outside and in the garage. After Houston’s death on May 17, 2014, Alpha continued to be the matriarch of the family. Even as her health declined in later years, she never lost her fiery sense of humor or her capacity to show love to her family. She was still the example of “great” that her family all strived to be. Her lasting legacy will be the countless memories she shared with her family and the lessons she taught them along the way. Her wish would be that we hold onto all those moments dearly and always remember her fondly.
Survivors include five children, Doyle Young of Hillsdale, Dona (Wallace) Furtado of St. Joseph, Rodney (Diana) Young of Pittsford, Rita (Daniel) Woodcock of New Hudson and Jason (Maria) Young of Canton; 9 grandchildren including Meredith, Wallace Michael, Rene', Bryan, Robin, Jason, Joshua, Jasmine and Sophia; 15 great-grandchildren, with a 16th on the way; and brother, Alton Cantrell of Colorado.
Funeral services for Alpha Young will be held Friday, October 30, 2020 at 11:AM at DeKalb Funeral Chapel in Smithville, TN with burial following at Bonham Cemetery. Visitation will be held Thursday, October 29, 2020 from 4:PM to 7:PM and Friday 10:AM until the time of the service at 11:AM.
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