He was born July 1924 in Birmingham, Alabama, to Dr. Tilden Hendricks Young and Annie Lou McGaugh Young. He received a B.S. degree in Chemistry from Birmingham Southern College in 1942 and then entered the graduate school of Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island. At the beginning of 1944 he went to Oak Ridge, Tennessee, to work for Tennessee Eastman in the research laboratory at the Y-12 plant. He delivered the first uranium-235 tetrafluoride for the Hiroshima bomb to a U.S. Army courier. While in Oak Ridge he was drafted and served in the U.S. Army in the Enlisted Reserve Corps of the Corps of Engineers at Y-12. He later served there on active duty. After he was discharged from active duty, he was required to work for six more months as an indentured employee of the Army at Y-12. He was the first chemist in the stable isotopes program at Y-12. In 1946 he returned to Brown. He received the Ph.D. degree in Physical Chemistry there in 1948 and joined Tennessee Eastman in Kingsport as a research chemist.
Howard invented the catalyst that Eastman used at Longview, Texas, to make billions of pounds of ethyl alcohol from ethylene. He selected technology that Eastman used to manufacture acetaldehyde in Texas and hydroquinone in Kingsport. His idea for use of carbonylation of methyl acetate to produce acetic anhydride started Eastman's coal-gas project. He was thankful that he worked for a company that employed skilled scientists, engineers, and managers who carried these ideas to commercial use.
At Eastman, Howard became a Senior Research Associate in 1967, head of the Engineering Research Division in 1970, and head of the Physical and Analytical Chemistry Research Division in 1976. He became Assistant Director of the Research Laboratories in 1984, Director in 1985, and retired in 1989.
He held each of the offices in the local Sigma Xi science organization and the local Friends of the Library. He was a 75-year member of the American Chemical Society. He was a merit badge counselor for the Boy Scouts and a troop-committee chairman. He was property manager for the Kingsport Habitat Store. He was a cashier for the book sales of the AAUW and of the Friends of the Library organizations. With his wife Anne, he delivered Meals on Wheels for many years.
Howard developed an interest in the history of atomic bombs, read extensively in the field and shared what he learned by giving talks on the subject to local civic, engineering, history, and scientific groups.
He met Anne Reid Maven in 1942, when she was a scholarship student in Biology at Pembroke College of Brown University. She worked as an analytical chemist at Y-12 while he was there. They were married in 1945 in Oak Ridge, two weeks after the surrender of the Japanese Government that ended World War II.
Howard was predeceased by his beloved wife Anne of 73 years in September, 2018; his parents; brothers Alden Nash Young, Wilburn Hunter Young, and Tilden Hendrix Young; and niece Lucy Young Peers.
He is survived by his seven children with Anne: Alice Young and husband Bill Hase; Glenn Young and wife Elise; Peggy Young; George Young and wife Peggy; Ralph Young and wife Lois; Betsey Hoyt; and Joan Martin. He is also survived by their ten grandchildren, three great-grandchildren, and one soon-to-be great-grandchild: Joe Young and wife Karen Ruff, along with their children Lillian and Mason; Meredith Young; Chris Bermudez and wife Jackie Kulinski, along with their children Jude and Elliot (expected January 2019); David Young; Lianne Young and husband Derek Kuhlenschmidt; Chris Young; Alex Young and wife Allie; Robert Young and fiancée Julie Meier; Laura Young; and Kaitlin Helmly and husband Stephen. Also surviving are two special nieces: Louise Young Johns; and Mary Lou Young Fabian and husband Mark.
The family extends their sincere gratitude to all the friends who visited, called, or wrote cards and letters over the past several years; and a most heartfelt thank-you to the staff at Holston Valley Hospital, Asbury Health Care Center, and Amedisys Hospice for their dedicated and respectful care of our father. Also, a tremendous thank-you to all of his caregivers, especially Renee and Ann who also took loving care of our mother. We would have been lost without you and will be forever grateful for you.
No formal services will be held. The family will have a small, private ceremony in the future to honor our parents.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Friends of the Kingsport Public Library Endowment Fund (400 Broad St., Kingsport, TN 37660); Holston Habitat for Humanity (P.O. Box 5265, Kingsport, TN 37663); or Meals on Wheels of Kingsport, Inc. (P.O. Box 3346, Kingsport, TN 37664).
The care of Howard Seth Young and his family has been entrusted to the staff of Oak Hill Funeral & Cremation Services.