Leonard Marion Young, Jr, better known to many as Len or Lenny, of Independence, Missouri, passed away on Wednesday, July 20, 2022.
Born on May 11th 1950 at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, DC, Len spent much of his childhood in Tachikawa, Japan, where his father was stationed from 1952 to 1957. Len remembered growing up in a Japanese paper house and learning to speak Japanese from childhood friends who didn’t speak English. The family returned home in 1957 and Len lived in the family home in Cheverly, Maryland, until he graduated from Bladensburg High School in 1968. Even then Len had a keen interest in history and education which led him to attend Graceland College from 1968 to 1972 where he earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in History and Education.
While at Graceland, Len married the love of his life, Margaret Ann (Peggy) Nikel. He was 21 and she was 20 when they married on December 18, 1971 while both students at Graceland. After graduation, Len taught at Cainsville High School for one year while Peggy finished her bachelor’s degree. Then in 1973 they both took teaching jobs in the Blue Springs R-IV School District and lived in Blue Springs for 4 years.
During these years of teaching, Len attended graduate classes at Central Missouri State University in Warrensburg where he obtained a Master of Science in Education in Social Studies and an Educational Specialist in School Administration. He then took his first school administrative job as Vice Principal of Independence High School in Independence, Kansas. During the two years they lived there, Peggy and Len had their first child, Brian Matthew on November 15, 1977.
In 1978 Len accepted the position of Principal of Harrisonville Senior High School, Harrisonville, Missouri where he served for four years. During this time, he continued his graduate education at the University of Missouri-Columbia where on May 10, 1981 he completed his Doctor’s degree in Educational Leadership. During these years Peggy and Len welcomed their second child, Amy Elizabeth on January 28, 1981.
Soon after, the church came calling and in August 1982 Len accepted appointment as a full-time minister for Community of Christ. This entailed further study at St. Paul’s School of Theology and an independent study in parliamentary law. In March of 1983 Len passed the exams to become a Registered Parliamentarian and soon after a Professional Registered Parliamentarian.
Church assignments led Len, Peggy and their kids to Michigan for 9 years as Regional President; to World Church Headquarters for 8 years as the Director of Congregational Ministries and Field Resources. In 1998 Len was ordained as the President of the Quorum of High Priests and in 2000 as a member of the Council of Twelve Apostles. His apostolic assignments included the NE USA, the British Isles and Continental Europe including Russia and Ukraine.
Len took Russian Language classes and began what became an amazing growth in the church in Russia and Ukraine going from 3 congregations and 40 members to 17 congregations and nearly 1,000 members in ten years.
In 2010 Len asked to be released from further service as an apostle in order to devote special effort to discovering and developing new methods of Common Consent in Community of Christ. From 1984 until 2021 Len served the church as its parliamentary consultant and functioned as the World Conference parliamentarian during most of those years.
From the time he joined the National Association of Parliamentarians in 1983, Len was active in promoting the knowledge of parliamentary processes wherever he went. And following retirement from active church service, he served numerous organizations as their professional parliamentarian. Len served as the President of the National Association of Parliamentarians from 1999 to 2001; as NAP’s executive director from 2011 to 2013 and as NAP’s National Parliamentarian from 2013-2015. He was the only member of NAP to ever serve in all three of these roles. Nationally known as a teacher of parliamentary law and a professional parliamentarian, this became Len’s second career and something he always loved sharing with others.
He is survived by his wife of fifty years, Margaret Ann (Peggy) Nikel Young, his children Brian Matthew Young and wife Jennifer of Sibley, Missouri; Amy Elizabeth Collins and husband Tanner of Kearney, Missouri; Olia Stanislavona Zadaki and husband Yasser Zadaki of Casablanca, Morocco, as well as his three beloved grandchildren Aiden Graham Richardson, Isabelle Renee Young and Drexel D. Collins. He is also survived by his loving sister Jane Elizabeth Young Bowerman of Lee’s Summit, Missouri and his brother Leonard Wynn Young of Claremore, Oklahoma.
He was preceded in death by his mother Bertha Wilkinson Young, originally from Fall River, Massachusetts, his father Leonard M. Young, Sr. originally of Falls City, Nebraska; his brothers Thomas Edward Dyer of Laurel, Maryland, Francis Clinton Dyer, Jr. of White Bear Lake, Minnesota; his sisters Betty Allen of Ponca City, Oklahoma and Elaine Pinneo of Colorado Springs, Colorado.