John C. Youngers – July 10, 2017

Geneseo: July 10, 2017 at age 84 years. Predeceased by his wife Elaine (Silvestri) Youngers and his grandson Maxwell Neil Youngers. Survived by his children; Donna Youngers, Lisa Youngers (Steve Mankowski), and Tony (Jill) Youngers; grandchildren, Tina Youngers, Olivia Mankowski, and Noah Mankowski; great granddaughter Berklie Maldonado; siblings, Hugh (Sylvia) Youngers, James (Adele) Youngers, and Priscilla (Chester) Wolkonowski. Also survived by several nieces & nephews and dear friends.

Playing trumpet in the 279th Army band in France fueled a love of travel which he and the love of his life were able to pursue in retirement

Funeral services will be held privately. Memorial contributions may be made in John’s Memory to WXXI Public Broadcasting, 280 State Street, PO Box 30021, Rochester, NY 14603 or the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, 108 East Avenue, Rochester, NY 14604. To send a condolence or share a memory please visit:


3 thoughts on “John C. Youngers – July 10, 2017

  1. To: John’s family
    From: Ernie Balajthy, Professor, School of Education
    I am so sorry to hear of your loss. I just sent this email out to the SOE, as there are very few still here who will remember John. My deepest sympathies.

    Tribute to John C. Youngers

    One important point omitted from the college president’s email tribute to John Youngers was that he served as the chair of the education department (ESER) in the late 1980’s. He had the depth of experience and wisdom, and sense of humor, to effectively lead the department through some depressing and tense times. His leadership established both a sense of unity among faculty and firm commitment to our students that we all would like to see continue here at Geneseo.

    The times were challenging. Like many state colleges across the country, Geneseo had moved from being primarily a teacher’s college to being a public liberal arts institution during John’s first years here in the 60’s and 70’s. By the early 80’s, many faculty in education were displaced. They had been hired for curriculum and instruction or administration positions, or they had been teachers in the college’s lab school. Those departments and the lab school no longer existed, their funding transferred to the School of Business in order to bring more males to campus. So, these faculty were teaching courses well outside of their interests in one of the two remaining education departments, Special Education or Elementary and Secondary Education and Reading (ESER).

    John followed Dr. Wayne Mahood as chair of ESER. The two of them saw the department through the baby bust, when need for teachers dried up to nothing for 15 years because of the enormous drop in the national birthrate as the Greatest Generation aged and the baby boomers were not yet having babies. Only special education teachers could find jobs, and ESER’s enrollment was so low that the reading faculty had taken responsibility for the AOP-related remedial programs for underprepared freshmen, thereby adding a much-needed 200 students a year to our rolls.

    John became ESER chair in the early 1980’s, the end of the baby bust and the start of an enrollment boom. Jobs were available again for classroom teachers, and ESER’s enrollment rose while SPED’s declined precipitously, resulting in tensions between the two departments and serious leadership issues in SPED.

    John saw the department through some key transitions. The first microcomputer lab was established, with 4 Apple II’s, to be replaced within a couple years by a classroom of Apple IIgs’s, then with a classroom of monochrome Macs. Several computer courses were offered at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. John convinced the college to give each faculty member a desktop computer and printer. Education student clubs were very active, as their faculty advisors were released from other committee responsibilities and were expected to work closely with the student leadership teams. We had three well-attended and well-planned faculty/staff social events each year, led by the Faculty Affairs Committee for whom these were a major responsibility.

    The biggest transition, however, was that the generation of faculty hired to teach the baby boomers in the 60’s was aging and, all of them in the relatively generous Tier 1 retirement system, imminently retiring. 1/3 of the faculty had been recently hired to teach the increased student population in the department, and 2/3 of the faculty would retire in the early 1990’s and need replacement. This precipitated a 20-year period of very high turn-over and many, many search committee tasks. John would be one of those faculty to retire and spend more time with his wife Elaine, who passed on in 2008.

    I am trying to remember some of the more humorous incidents from those times. The departmental photocopy bill was a crisis issue when it came to budgeting. Each month at the department meeting, John would give out the “Golden Photocopy Key Award” to whomever had spent the most money on photocopying. As a new faculty member, I was embarrassed to get the award regularly. I was embarrassed, but not enough to stop photocopying. John even invented a new award for me, the “Golden Telephone Bill” Award, when that became an issue.

    When I led a faculty whitewater rafting trip down the Genesee gorge, John told me of his misadventures on the well-known Nantahela River in North Carolina, going down the river in an inflatable ducky. The ducky flipped, John was trapped underwater, and he nearly was swept over a waterfall. He told me that he still had nightmares about the adventure and apologetically declined the invitation to join us on the Genesee.

    I can remember the near-fist fight at a faculty meeting between Peter Brobeil and Norm Bauer, but I just can’t remember what the issue was about nor what John’s reaction was. He probably got a kick out of the whole thing.

    On the first day I was on campus after being hired, John took me outside his office, put his arm around my shoulder, pointed down the hall at SPED’s office, and said, “We don’t talk to those people.” He was only half-joking. (The later formation of the SOE was in large measure an effort to unify the two rival departments.)

    John was always clear that he did not really run the department. Dawn Rowe (now in Facilities Services) actually ran the department for “JY,” with Kelly Hoag’s help. His advice when leaving the chair’s position was, “It’s important to let the faculty think that a faculty member is running the department, but don’t kid yourself. None of us know what we’re doing. Geneseo’s saving grace is that it has a rich resource in its secretaries. Stay out of their way, let them tell you what to do, and things will go fine.” He also told me, “Dawn Rowe is the best person I know,” and I agree (my wife excepted, of course). As time went on, Dawn actually ran the Special Education Department, too, though none of their faculty knew it.

    As all of us know from serving on search committees, applicants are scared away from Geneseo by our famous WNY weather. John would first tell applicants that most buildings on campus were warm and accessible in the wintertime because of underground tunnels that linked them. (I am still looking for those tunnels.) Then he’d very seriously point out that Geneseo was in “the sun belt of Western New York,” between the lake effect snows up by Rochester and over in Buffalo and the icy hills down closer to the Southern Tier. I’ve used that same line on applicants during search committees and it actually works, sometimes.

    Another rule of thumb from John: If you have faculty members who get long-winded during faculty meetings, assign them Monday night grad classes so they have to leave the meeting by 4:30. I can think of one faculty member (long since retired now) who was always assigned Monday night classes.

    John had served in a military band during the war. He would regularly parade down Main Street on Homecoming Day, a trumpet-playing member of Buzzo’s band. Our students would love to see him, the Chair of the Education Department, tooting along with Buzzo and crew.

    Those who remember him will miss John, as will many, many of our older alumni.

  2. Went to Buffalo State with John for a masters degree–WE
    had fun! Worked with John in East Aurora–We had fun!
    He was a great guy. Sorry for your loss.

  3. We have so many wonderful memories of my work with John when I first came to the college and Hop’s conversations with him later in life. Our thoughts and prayers are with John’s family and wonderful friends. Godspeed. –Kathy Trainor and Hop Manapol

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *