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Community Leader and Missouri State University Professor Emeritus Remembered

The man who founded Springfield’s Good Community Committee has passed away. Dr. Lloyd Young died Sunday from complications of lymphoma. KSMU’s Missy Shelton reports.

As chair of the Good Community Committee, Dr. Lloyd Young brought together business and community leaders to discuss a variety of issues like poverty, crime and school dropout rates. Young served as the first head of the Sociology Department at Missouri State University when it became its own separate department. He came out of retirement in 2005 to become the first director of the Community and Social Issues Institute at Missouri State. Missouri State University Vice President of Research and Economic Development Jim Baker knew Dr. Lloyd Young for 16 years.

Jim Baker says, “I always saw Lloyd as the conscience for the university. There’s a lot of good things going on on campus but there are a lot of people out there who are in need. He was always focused on the underdog. We used to do a lot of work with the Chamber of Commerce. We’d have discussions about economic development and he’d always be the voice to say, ‘Hey. For the folks who aren’t making as much money, we need to pay attention to their needs.’ He talked about livable wages, long before it became fashionable to discuss that kind of concept.”

Baker says Young’s absence will certainly be felt.

Baker says, “He was just a delightful person. He was well-versed, really well-respected and he definitely will be missed, not just from the university but from the community as a whole.”

In 2005, I asked Dr. Young to come to KSMU and share his thoughts as a sociologist on how people impacted by Hurricane Katrina had acted in the aftermath of the storm. We discussed the looting that took place and he made this remark about the capacity of each person to act in ways that are either good or harmful.

“There aren’t any simple human beings. We’re all complex in many, many ways. In his first inaugural, Lincoln closed his beautiful address by suggesting what will happen when, in his words, “when we are touched again by the better angels of our nature.” And I think that’s one of the most beautiful statements in the English language. What will happen when we are again touched by the better angels of our nature? Which presumes that it is in our nature to have better angels and worse angels, that even in the best of us, there are demons and even in the worst of us, there are angels.”

That was an excerpt from my 2005 interview with Dr. Lloyd Young. He died Sunday.

For a number of years, Dr. Lloyd Young served as a host for the League of Women Voters radio program, “Making Democracy Work,” which airs here on KSMU.