Ruby Lee Young, only child of Flora Bell Roberts and Dozier Roberts was born on December 27, 1935, in Midville Georgia. She moved to New Jersey at the age of 10 and was educated in the Elizabeth school system, upon graduation she attended New Jersey School for Secretaries and Union County College for Business. She married Samuel Young and had five children, and later divorced to raise her children as a single parent with the oldest being seven years old. It wasn’t easy raising five children, there were many days that she didn’t know how she would make it, but with determination to keep her family together and the support of friends, the struggles were a little easier. Ruby would always say that no matter what she would raise all her children together even if it meant working day and night, sleeping in one bed and eating out of one pot. Regardless of her finances and child rearing difficulties she kept her children very church active. She took her children to work with her because she couldn’t afford a babysitter. She was able to get them into the YMCA programs in which her youngest earned many awards in swimming competitions. She kept them all active in whatever programs were available, from music, sports, and education. All her children attended college and earned various degrees which she was most proud of.
Ruby loved the Lord, and she was a member of the New Zion Baptist Church of Elizabeth since moving to New Jersey. She would love to help with as many functions as possible with the church. She sang in the choir, taught Sunday School, attended adult Sunday School classes, Bible study, and Prayer services. As a Missionary, Ruby loved to go and pray for anyone and everyone. She would pray for people even if they did not attend the church, she understood the power of prayer. She taught and helped with Vacation Bible School for numerous churches throughout the city of Elizabeth. She was a faithful member until her health began to fail. She loved to serve the Lord and she raised her children to know the Lord for themselves.
Ruby retired after working 39 years from the City of Elizabeth Recreation Department, as a Preschool teacher, Camp Director, and Supervisor of night gyms at the Mickey Walker Center. She enjoyed working with children, especially teaching the littles one’s ages three and four, she often took some as young as 2 years old (as long as they were potty trained), which brought her tremendous joy. Ruby believed in making sure a child had a solid foundation. Oftentimes while walking the streets of Elizabeth, she would receive compliments and thanks for raising and educating so many. Numerous young men would say “Ms. Young if it wasn’t for you, where would I be”. When Ruby would hear such statements, it let her know that all her work was worthwhile. Ruby has taught, raised, disciplined, and mainly encouraged thousands of children and she felt that it was her responsibility to make sure they would be alright despite the children's circumstances. Her strong, strict, gentle, and committed ways of loving children kept everyone on their toes. While her own children were growing up, she knew that raising her children and keeping them together required her to make sacrifices and she did so by working three jobs for an additional six years, two jobs for an additional eight years. She worked in addition at the Stephen Sampson Senior Citizen Center and worked for the Union County Election Board as a poll worker for over 27 years. Ruby found time to volunteer for the Union County Probation Department for 12 years, Girl Scout leader for over 34 years, where she took numerous girls on overnight camping trips.
Ruby's calling for serving others was exceptional; she volunteered for the American Heart Fund, Reach Out and Read Program at Beth Israel Hospital of Newark, and Trinitas Hospital in Elizabeth. She also enjoyed volunteering for the Reading Volunteer Partnership between the City of Elizabeth and the Board of Education. Her contributions to her community included caring for the sick and visiting the hospitals since her children were teenagers, she’s never driven a car but still managed to be of service to others. Ruby could be seen walking all over Elizabeth, in the sun, cold or rain visiting the sick in the hospitals and nursing homes. Because she “knows everybody”; patients “expected” a visit from Ruby to cheer them up during their periods of confinement. Even foot surgery did not deter her from her rounds. She spent countless hours with Ladies Auxiliary of Trinitas Hospital, Senior Citizens Club and Trinitas Hospice. Her involvement and commitment to the community did not go unnoticed, she was most proud of being the Deputy Marshall of the African Heritage Parade, 2003. She was also honored by the Urban League, 2004, and by the NAACP in 2000.
Ruby lived a selfless life helping others because she said earlier on when I needed help someone was there for me.
On March 10, 2022, Ruby answered God’s call to come home and rest. She leaves to cherish her memories with her children A’hamed Ismael (Wayne Young) Gregory and Lynne Young (MN) Lynnette and Rodric Pryor (NJ), Vincent Young (MN) and her devoted daughter La Donna Young. Her grandchildren, Lamar Young, Austin Young, Michael Young, Joshua Young, Khari Young and Kahlil Young, four Great-grandchildren, Leila Young, Ryleigh Young, Austin Young Jr., and Liliana Young, and Cousins Bettie Williams and Bilquis Ansari and a host of relatives and friends.
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