Roland Curtis Young

Roland Curtis Young, age 87, of Columbia, SC, a Navy Veteran (a corpsman) died on Monday, August 5, 2019.

There isn’t enough column space to adequately convey the life and loves of this gregarious gentleman; still, this writer will attempt to illuminate a few of the highlights. Though he lived many years in West Virginia near Gulley Bridge, (his mother’s (RUBY) home) he would tell you that “he’s Italian.” His father, Jack, was indeed from Sicily, but later moved to New York, no surprise, and there he bestowed onto both of his sons a true passion for Italy, especially for its fine wines. Indeed, Roland enjoyed his vino, unsurpassed cuisine (chicken catccatore was his specialty), a good cigar with a scotch, and traveling around the world. His trip to Cuba was his favorite. Likewise, Roland was a savvy and successful businessman in the complex world of finance and insurance and worked as a State Farm agent in Five Points for 40 years until his retirement in 2000.

Even in “retirement”, Roland and Ilsa stayed busy, acting together in local community theatre productions, graciously hosting the best dinner parties ever, singing, performing, active in the Columbia Opera Guild, and supported a plethora of events in their stately Romanesque home in West Columbia–that he designed. Roland played the tuba quite well, and the one song he knew on the piano “Johnny Be Good” not as well. Roland was a charming and romantic man who sang unapologetically to his wife, and laughed so heartily that he would wipe his eyes. You always knew when Roland was in a room.

Roland, a survivor of prostate cancer, was an extremely active advocate for men’s health, and organized screening opportunities for scores of men. Through his early detection programs, he helped men connect with their physician while the disease could still be treated. Without doubt his efforts through his organization, Us, Too saved the lives of many men.

Roland enjoyed human history. That passion would lead him to serve as Chairman for the ART Board of Trustees, SC Institute of Archeology and Anthropology from 1992 until 1996. His non-profit, The South Carolina Underwater Archaeological Research Council, was instrumental in raising the Browns Ferry Vessel. It was and remains the oldest wooden vessel ever recovered in North America.

Again, it’s impossible to summarize the life of a man who lived one so fully, but without doubt he is in Heaven having a glass of cabernet sauvignon with his brother, John, perhaps patting the head of his dog Rachael, and reminiscing about the good times he had with family and friends. Roland, we will always carry you in our heart—and recite your words of wisdom that “we achieve what we perceive.”

He is survived by his wife, Ilsa Kahn Young; daughter, Mary Ann Reeley (Stan); sons, Mark Young (Lena) and Roe Young (Lynette); step-daughter, Renee Cohen; grandchildren, Michelle Brillembourg, Whitneigh Reeley Cantrell, Jacob Reeley, Cayman Young; great-grandson, Oz Bible; previous wife, Mary Young.

He was preceded in death by his father, Jack Arlotta; mother, Ruby Ann Young; stepfather, “Kelly” Kellogg; and a brother, John.

The funeral service Mr. Young will be held 10 o’clock, Wednesday, August 7th, at Shives Funeral Home, Trenholm Road Chapel, 7600 Trenholm Road Ext, Columbia, with Rabbi Jonathan Case officiating. The family will briefly greet friends following the service before departing for burial at 11:30 o’clock, at Hebrew Benevolent Society Cemetery.

Memorials may be made to The Palmetto Opera, PO Box 50462, Columbia, SC, 29250 or to Beth Shalom Synagogue, 5827 N. Trenholm Road, Columbia, SC 29206.

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