Aubrey Walsworth Young

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Aubrey's life journey began on May 1, 1922, in Monroe, the son of Cammie Mae Gulledge and William Earl Young, who were of Start. Aubrey had a gift for being a true friend and even the friends he made during his early years would remain close to him throughout his life. Aubrey attended Gulf Coast Military Academy in Bay St. Louis, Miss., where he was quarterback under Coach Carl Maddox, who later became athletic director for LSU. Aubrey graduated from Neville High School, where he was a great dancer, cheerleader, tenor in the Glee Club and an achieved athlete (lettering in football as co-captain and quarterback, baseball, and as the captain of the last Neville boxing team). Aubrey enjoyed his years in high school and remained an avid supporter of Neville High. Neville honored him whenever he attended their games or visited the school. Aubrey attended the University of Southwestern Louisiana on a boxing scholarship and later transferred to Northeast Louisiana University in Monroe, where he became a lifetime member of the ""L"" Club.
In 1942, Aubrey enlisted in the armed services and joined the 17th Airborne Division, 513th Parachute Regiment. It was a wonderful day when he graduated from training at Fort Benning, Ga., where he earned his paratrooper wings and could then blouse his pants legs! His battalion was called out to join in the European Theatre of World War II and he served in three major battles - the Battle of the Bulge, the Rhine Jump in Germany and the battle in Luxembourg at the Our River. As did many during that war, he witnessed the tragic loss of his friends, some of whom were right next to him in a foxhole. He retaliated as a 60mm mortar squadron leader, but these memories haunted him during most of his life. He never lost his faith, and returned home to Monroe. Later in life, he proudly wore his paratrooper wings and his combat infantry badge.
Aubrey returned from the war suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. Dealing with that and its impact on his life, Aubrey became very active in several Alcoholics Anonymous groups and felt a calling to help others fight the same personal battles. He embraced this calling as his life purpose and became a passionate advocate for AA. Aubrey followed his family tradition and worked for the Missouri Pacific Railroad for a time and then Delta Airlines, and other jobs throughout the state trying to find a career where he felt he could make a contribution. After Aubrey proved his sobriety, he was hired as a deputy sheriff, and doors began opening up for him. He opened a hamburger shop (The Huddle on 18th Street), and was part-owner of the Paragon Supper Club, along with his longtime friends Tony and Joe Cascio.
Aubrey had a sharp memory for people. Though unknown to him at the time, his travels and the many people he met would prove to be keys to his success in life. In the early 1960s, a little-known politician, John J. McKeithen, of Columbia, contacted Aubrey for help to become governor of Louisiana. McKeithen had heard about the many contacts Aubrey had and knew these contacts would be essential to victory against the other formidable candidate, deLesseps ""Chep"" Morrison. After McKeithen's victory, Aubrey's loyalty and proven value earned him the title of colonel with the State Police and aide de camp to the governor. In 1966, Aubrey was honored for his ""experienced contributions in coordinating the reception and security of the Vice President of the United States, Hubert Humphrey."" Aubrey achieved national recognition for his ""calm and efficient direction of the massive chlorine barge-lift operation following Hurricane Betsy which required the evacuation of Louisiana residents, and for his inspired, yet always compassionate, leadership.""
The Louisiana Legislature through the issuance of House Concurrent Resolution 117 additionally honored him for his ""new and more meaningful concept of public service to them as a governing body."" Aubrey continued this close relationship and personal assistance to members of the Legislature throughout his public service, and was frequently sought out as a mentor by new legislators or by state employees who would be working with the legislature.
In 1967, during the height of segregationist conflicts, black leaders proposed a peaceful demonstration. The march was to begin in Bogalusa and conclude at the steps of the state Capital. Gov. McKeithen asked Aubrey to meet privately with the leader of the march, A.Z. Young, as an assurance of the protection of the Louisiana State Police. These were very tense days of racial conflict; however, the peaceful march was the beginning of a very close relationship between the two Youngs - Aubrey and A.Z. Aubrey worked toward peaceful solutions to conflicts throughout his state service and was respected in the black community.
During these very influential years, Aubrey was able to achieve one of his passionate goals, which was to establish a statewide program for the treatment and rehabilitation of alcoholics. He achieved that goal during the 1968 session of the Louisiana Legislature. During that session, through Aubrey's unrelenting efforts, funds were appropriated to establish the first state-funded treatment facilities in Baton Rouge, Hammond, Lafayette, Crowley, Alexandria, Lake Charles and Monroe. The Office of Alcohol Abuse was also created in the Department of Hospitals. In addition, Aubrey was instrumental in establishing the Tri-Med Program in all state general hospitals. The program originated in 1974 and provided alcohol and drug abuse detoxification, and mental health acute care treatments in hospitals. He also established an alcohol information curriculum in the LSU In-service Police Training School and was instrumental in establishment of Alcoholic Anonymous groups in state prisons.
During this same period, Aubrey worked with Victor Bussie, president of the Louisiana AFL-CIO, in attempting to set up programs in industrial plants and factories for the treatment and referral of alcoholics. Aubrey worked continuously to increase funding for the statewide substance abuse programs he created, to improve the programs, to increase number of beds available, as well as to personally work the 12th step of the AA program. And every member of the Legislature knew of his dedication. During his retirement ceremony, Aubrey was lauded by Jake Hadley of the Department of Health and Hospitals: ""Young's greatest service was not to politicians in high office but to people with alcohol and drug problems. When Young learned of anyone in need of treatment, he worked tirelessly to get them help. Literally thousands of people across the state owe their recovery, in part, to Aubrey Young, and the people of this state owe him a great debt of gratitude.""
Visitation at Greenoaks Funeral Home, 9595 Florida Blvd., on Monday, April 12, from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Visitation will continue at Jefferson Baptist Church, 9135 Jefferson Highway, on Tuesday, April 13, from 9 a.m. until service time at 10:30 a.m., conducted by the Rev. Tommy French. Interment to follow in Greenoaks Memorial Park. Pallbearers will be his brothers-in-law, Ray Guitreau, Richard Ashby, Nelson Hebert, Dick Empson and Thomas Daggett, and his nephew, Kent Owens. In lieu of flowers, the family requests gifts to the Mary French Scholarship Fund, Jefferson Baptist Church, 9135 Jefferson Highway, Baton Rouge, LA 70809, your favorite charity or remembrance Masses said at St. George or Our Lady of Mercy Catholic Churches. To sign the online register or to send notes of condolences, you may go to
Published in from Apr. 9 to Apr. 12, 2010