Wilbur Peter De Young was born at Prairie View, Kansas October 25, 1914, the son of Nicholas and Ella De Young. Although he felt a Call to the Gospel Ministry at an early age, there were no funds in 1931 for him to pursue a college education following graduation from high school. During the next four years he worked on his parents' farm, clerked in a General Merchandise Store and in the local Post Office. In 1935 he enrolled at Fort Hays State University and graduated from there in 1939 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration. For the next four years he taught commercial subjects and coached Debate at Osborne High School, Osborne, Kansas. During those years he earned a Master's Degree in Economics at the University of Oregon by attending summer sessions. The next two years, during WWII, he served in the Budget and Fiscal Office of the Army air Corps. In 1945 he returned to Osborne to serve two years as High School Principal followed by two years as Superintendent of Schools. In 1949 he left public school work to enroll at McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago. He graduated from seminary in 1952 and on May 20 of that year was ordained to the Gospel Ministry by the Presbytery of Osborne.
In 1940 Wilbur married his college sweetheart, Margaret Bartholomew of Hays. Three daughters--Janet, Rita, and Lorna--were born to them while they lived in Osborne.
Wilbur's first ministry as an ordained clergyperson was that of being the organizing pastor of the Westwood Presbyterian church of Wichita. After serving more than nine years there, he was called to serve on the staff of the Board of Christian Education of the General Assembly as Field Director for the Synod of Kansas. Then, in 1966, he accepted a Call from the first Presbyterian Church of Junction City, Kansas to serve as pastor of that church. He served there until his retirement in 1979. For the first ten years of his retirement he filled pulpits on a regular basis in the Kansas City area as well as serving churches in other ways called upon.
Among his varied ministries to the Church he was called to serve as moderator of the Presbytery of Wichita, Moderator of the Synod of Kansas, Member of the Support Agency of the General Assembly, Member of Synod's Judicial Commission, and Chairperson of Presbytery's General Council.
Wilbur was also active in community organizations. He accepted leadership roles in Rotary Clubs, USO, YMCA, and on Mental Health Boards of both regional and State levels. In 1962 the Doctor of Divinity Degree was conferred upon him by Sterling College. In 1972 he received the Alumni Achievement Award of Fort Hays State University.
In August of 1990 Wilbur and Margaret moved from their home in Prairie Village, Kansas to the Presbyterian Manor of Lawrence. Margaret preceded Wilbur in death on April 28, 2001. Wilbur's death occurred on November 7, 2011 in Lawrence, KS.
Surviving family members include sister, Marjorie Elkinton, Richardson, TX; daughters - Janet Braman, Atlanta, GA; Rita De Young, Plano, TX; Lorna De Young-Clark and her husband, Earl Clark; Chandler, AZ; granddaughters - Robin Knuuttila and husband, Bob, Allen, TX; Renee Golder and husband Tom, Rio Rancho, NM; Erin Goodman and husband Jeff, Phoenix, AZ; Shea McIntire, Los Angeles, CA. Four great-grandchildren also survive: Natalie and Nathan Knuuttila, and Grant and Claire Golder.
A short graveside service will be held Thursday morning, November 10 at
10:00 am at Corinth Cemetery in 3301 W. 83rd St., Prairie Village, KS. A
memorial celebration will be held at 2:00 pm that day at First Presbyterian
Church in Lawrence, 2415 Clinton Parkway, Lawrence, KS. Between those
events, the church will serve lunch at 12:00 noon.
Donations to "Good Samaritan Fund" are encouraged in lieu of flowers.
Please mail your check with that notation to Lawrence Presbyterian Manor,
1429 Kasold Street, Lawrence, KS 66049.