May Sim Chiu Young was born on December 27, 1932 in Som Gong, China. May Young died on August 20, 2018 in Memphis, Tennessee. In the intervening eighty-six years, May married, escaped communism, had six children, ran successful businesses, and touched countless lives across two continents.
At the age of sixteen years old, May wed William C. Young, a Chinese American soldier who traveled to China seeking a Chinese bride. May’s family foresaw that the encroaching communist movement would destroy the privileged life that May had enjoyed in China, so they gambled that her future would be brighter in America.
May’s flight between Hong Kong to Memphis took eleven days. She moved in with her new husband’s large family ruled by a strong matriarch.
Eventually May and Willie had their own family of six children – Willie, Wilma, Paula, Gail, Jerry, and Debbie. They raised their children in Helena, Arkansas and educated them in the local schools.
May and Willie ran Willie’s Shopping Center and Willie’s Liquor Store, instilling a strong work ethic in their children. The next Young generation became doctors, lawyers, CPAs, and medical professionals. They in turn birthed more doctors, lawyers, dentists, architects, teachers, and business leaders.
May Young was predeceased by her husband Williams C. Young Sr., and son William C. Young, Jr.
She is survived by son Jerry (Glenda) Young, daughter-in-law Rosie Young, and daughters Wilma (Robert) Tom, Paula (Edwin) Yee, Gail Gilbertsen, and Debbie (Neil Nagano) Young. Her grandchildren are Ryan Young; Robbie, Josh and Michael Tom; Jordan, Kinsey, and Jeffrey Yee; Brooke, Tommy and Jake Gilbertsen; Zach Young and Lauren Young Hall; and Sydney and Nebo Nagano-Young. Eight great grandchildren complete May Young’s surviving bounty. Visitation will be Saturday, August 25th at 1:00 p.m. at the Emerson’s Funeral Home Chapel, 1629 E. Nettleton Ave., Jonesboro, AR, followed by funeral services beginning at 2:00 in the Chapel, with burial following at Oaklawn Cemetery in Jonesboro.
For lasting memorials, the family asks that donations be made to the charity of your choice.
Online registry at www.emersonfuneralhome.com.