Joseph H. Young

Prominent Scranton Architect Dies at 94


Joseph H. Young, who practiced architecture in Scranton for over 60 years, and designed over 250 buildings and renovations in Northeastern Pennsylvania died on February 10, 2015 at the age of 94.  

He was born in Unionville, Indiana, on October 14, 1920, son of Otis and Isabel Young. Mr. Young had early ambitions to be an architect and at the age of 17 he designed, helped construct and carved the cornerstone of a country church.  He sketched the structures in the village, including one as it was burning down which became the illustrations in his book,  Autobiography of a Village, published in 1998. Mr. Young studied for two years at Indiana University prior to World War II. During World War II he received Naval Officer Training at Indiana State Teachers College. After the War he received a B.S. and a Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Oregon, where upon graduation he was awarded the Ion Lewis Traveling Fellowship in Architecture.

During World War II, Mr. Young served with the 1st Naval Construction Battalion of the Sea Bees, designing airfields on islands in the South Pacific as they were re-occupied by the U.S. Marines. He later served as a communications officer on the USS Auriga (AK98), also in the Pacific Theater. He met his wife Patricia during his Officer Training. They were married in 1944 and celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary on June 30, 2014. Patricia died on March 26, 2015.

When he first arrived in Scranton in 1953, Mr. Young served as Partner, Designer and Scranton Operations Manager for the architectural firm of Bellante and Clauss. In 1961 he opened his own architectural practice and continued working until shortly before his death.

Among Mr. Young’s major projects were the student center, library and residence halls at the University of Scranton; Cathedral High School; the library, dormitories and campus center at Keystone College and a classroom building at Pennsylvania State University. He also designed the Jewish Community Center, Geneva House, as well residential units for Scranton Neighbors and renovations for the Women’s Resource Center.  Numerous church and synagogue renovations and restorations, homes, businesses, and Girl Scout Camps bear the mark of his design as well.

Mr. Young is a past president of the Northeastern Pennsylvania Chapter of American Institute of Architects, the Pennsylvania Society of Architects, the Lackawanna Arts Council, the Scranton Ballet Guild and the Rotary Club.  He had served on the Boards of Lackawanna Neighbors, Presbyterian Homes of Central PA, Scranton Housing Review Board, Everhart Museum Association, Geneva House and Safety Net.  He had also been active in the Chamber of Commerce, Lackawanna Historical Society, the Scranton Stamp Club and as a History of Art Instructor at Keystone Junior College and the Penn State Extension. In 2006, Mr. Young was honored as a recipient of the Gov. Robert P. Casey Medal for a Lifetime of Service to the Community.

 Mr. Young was a member of Covenant Presbyterian Church serving as a Trustee and an Elder and active in wider church activities.  One of his last architectural projects was the renovation of Covenant’s sanctuary. The Youngs sponsored numerous Rotary Exchange Students, foreign college students, and refugees in their Hill Section home in the 1960’s and 1970’s including individuals from Kenya, Holland, Scotland,  Sweden, Switzerland, Japan, Bulgaria, France, Uganda and Vanuatu.

Mr. and Mrs. Young are survived  by their children Pamela (Vermont), Christopher (England), Gwen (New Jersey) and Jeffrey (Colorado), eight grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. Mr. Young is also survived by three sisters and one brother.

In lieu of flowers, donations in his name may be made to the Building Fund at Covenant Presbyterian Church 550 Madison Ave. Scranton, Pa. 18510

A joint Memorial Service will be held on April 27 at 11:00 at Covenant Presbyterian Church 550 Madison Ave.  Scranton.

Arrangements have been entrusted to the Vanston and James Funeral Home and are under the care and direction of Robert C. Jones, Funeral Director.

To share a memory or to leave a condolence please visit



  1. David Gabriel

    My wife and I have known Joe Young for over 35 years working closely with him on various duties in and for Covenant Presbyterian Church. We always found him to be dedicated, faithful and loyal to all of his duties. When Joe prayed at meetings, you knew he was talking to God. His prayers were always an inspiration that you could live by. Joe had many, many followers who always realized his faithfulness. He will be missed by many and all.

    Norma and David Gabriel

  2. Richard Kilian

    To the Young Family,
    My deepest condolences to Mrs. Young and the rest of the family.
    I had the privilege of knowing and working with Joe for only a few years. I often said that I wished I had known him earlier for I learned much from him in the short time of our acquaintance.
    May God give His comfort during this time of sorrow and sadness.


    Rich Kilian

  3. Don Hislop

    We are deeply saddened by the news of Mr. and Mrs. Young passing. We had worked with Mr. Young on many projects and will miss his wisdom, wit, and attention to detail. Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family during this difficult time.

Leave Your Condolences

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

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.