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In Memory

Robert A. Young


Robert A. Young, emeritus professor at Colorado State University and prominent water economist, died on July 17, after suffering a stroke.

Robert YoungHe will be missed but not forgotten.

Robert Allen Young was born September 2, 1931, in Minden, Neb., to Alton and Frances B. Young, both graduates of Colorado Agricultural College (now Colorado State University) in the 1920s.

The family moved to California when Bob was eight, where he was active in 4-H, winning several state-wide awards. He later graduated from the University of California, Davis, with a degree in animal sciences and agricultural economics. He then spent two years as 2nd Lieutenant in the U.S. Army, mostly serving in the Panama Canal region.

After the Army came marriage to his wife of 55 years, Lynn, and together they moved to Michigan where Bob received a PhD from Michigan State University in agricultural and resource economics. This began a productive career as a professor of resource economics. Over the next 42 years, he contributed greatly to the fields of economic and policy analysis, specifically relating to water management issues. His teaching career started at the University of Arizona in 1963, after which Bob spent time as an analyst at Resources for the Future in Washington D.C. In 1970, he accepted a professorship at Colorado State University, where he stayed until retirement in 1992.

After retiring, he devoted full time to consulting, which took him to numerous developing countries around the world. In debates on controversial water issues in the western U.S. he represented the economic point of view, often taking unpopular positions. His career included multiple publications including a seminal textbook on water economics in 2005. The numerous journal articles and the textbook brought him pride in sharing his knowledge. He also received many prestigious awards for his contributions. Not only did he serve his profession in a number of capacities, he was active in the Estes Park Library Foundation, Estes Park Land Trust, the Miramont Village Homeowners Association and the Foothills Unitarian Church.

A familiar proverb asserts that "still waters run deep" and we might well judge Bob to have epitomized that saying. Throughout his successful career and full private life, even as he gained an international reputation for his professional work and local acclaim for his volunteerism, he remained conspicuously modest with a gentle, lovely smile.

Survivors include his wife Lynn, sister Peg (Davis) of California; three sons: Wes of Ft. Collins, Doug (wife Annie) of Portland, Oregon, and Brian (wife Christi) of Ft. Collins. Two daughters: Kathy (partner Doug) of Longmont and Kristi (husband Mark) of Kaneohe, Hawii; four grandchildren, Micheal of California, Kadin of Ft. Collins, Molly and Jack of Portland, Oregon; numerous cousins and many amazing friends.

A celebration of life will be at 10 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 10 at Foothills Unitarian Church. Donations may be made to Robert A. Young scholarship in Water Economics, c/o CSU Foundation, P.O. Box 1870, Fort Collins, Colo. 80522. Memo line should reference Dr. Robert A. Young. Donations also may be made to the Fort Collins Unitarian Church Endowment, at 1815 Yorktown Ave., Fort Collins, 80526.

Contact: Denise Davis
Phone: 1-6955