F. M. Young was born to Anna Marie Huber and John Young on January 13, 1930 in Tours, TX, the youngest son of a family that would eventually consist of seven boys and three girls. After a series of moves in early childhood his family eventually settled in the Speegleville area, where he attended local schools through the tenth grade. He then left school to begin construction work with his two brothers Raymond T. and Bernard W. full time, operating his first bulldozer at sixteen years old. The brothers progressed from odd jobs performed for local farmers to local roadwork, creating the first asphalt plant in Waco in 1948 and working on official highway projects in 1950. From their success the Young brothers purchased a grocery store in Speegleville for their parents to run. Around 1953 F. M. began dating Gloria Davis...
Gloria June Davis Young was born in Waco, TX on October 10, 1933, the only child of Roy Haywood Davis and Mildred Thomas Davis. Gloria lived initially in Moody, TX until around age two when the Davis family then moved to the Speegleville area where most of her extended family was located. Her father ran the family farm while her mother helped on the farm during the years she was not teaching school locally. Gloria attended Speegleville schools, then entered the Waco school system for high school. Graduating in 1952, Gloria knew she wanted to continue the family tradition and become a teacher as well, so she enrolled in North Texas State University (now the University of North Texas) in Denton, TX. While in college she began dating F. M. Young during her trips back home, and in 1955 she both graduated early with her teaching degree and married the love of her life.
After their wedding on June 4, 1955, the Youngs moved into a house on 41st and Hillcrest in Waco, TX. Gloria began teaching at Hillcrest Elementary that September while F. M. continued expanding Young Brothers Inc. with Raymond T. and Bernard W. They had two daughters (Melanie in 1957 and Kim in 1958), adopted an infant son, Davis, in 1967 then welcomed Susan in 1969. After seventeen years, the Youngs moved to a lake house in Speegleville where they live currently, maintaining a separate neighboring house used to house visits from their four children and seven grandchildren.
Young Brothers Inc. continued to grow in the latter half of the 1900s. From a small trailer in 1950, the company expanded by opening a new plant behind the old Waco Dam in 1954, then doubled their capacity again by 1958 when the headquarters moved to a new location on Mill Street. The variety of their projects expanded as well. New jobs ranged from helping with recovery efforts after the 1953 Waco Tornado, to dredging the Brazos River for gravel to ever-more audacious highway contracts in McLennan County and beyond. Then in 1960 the brothers decided to part ways. F. M. continued to run Young Brothers road construction while Raymond T. focused on his new Slurry Seal company and Bernard W. (ever the inventor) formed Tymco, a business built around a regenerative air sweeper he created.
After the split in 1961, Young Brothers Inc. expanded further and led the way in several construction methods in the state of Texas and beyond. Several new plants were built in new cities, and in 1980 F. M. built the first computerized concrete plant in Central Texas. F. M. was active in a number of professional organizations, served as President of the Association of General Contractors (AGC) in 1985 and eventually purchased a helicopter to travel between his Waco and Bryan operations. In 2003, seeking a less involved and active role in operations, F. M. agreed to sell the company to MDU Resources. He worked as a consultant for MDU for a while, then stayed busy helping management at Brazos Paving, an offshoot company he still owned in Bryan until he sold the company to the employees via an ESOP (Employee Stock Ownership Plan) and officially retired.
Gloria and F. M. Young have a rich history of donating to Waco institutions. Throughout his career, F. M. has used his construction prowess and resources to provide free services to various churches, schools and neighborhoods. Specifically for Baylor University, the company donated the concrete for the scoreboard at Floyd Casey Stadium and created a marina on the Brazos River for the Gov. Bill and Vara Daniel Historic Village. The Youngs have always taken an interest in the Brazos River district in Waco, promoting revitalization projects and creating the Brazos Queen II as a tourist attraction.
There have been a number of historical donations from the Youngs as well. When the W. R. Poage estate was auctioned, they purchased a number of items with the express intent to house them in the W. R. Poage Political Library at Baylor University. Also in 1959 the Youngs donated a historic home on Mill Street, the East Terrace House, to the Waco Heritage Society which is now part of the historic homes collection maintained by the Historic Waco Foundation.
Young Audio Clip 1
Gloria Young speaks of the Poage family auction and efforts with the Baylor University staff to acquire pieces for the Poage Library. . . (07:19 )
G. Young We got involved with the Poage [Legislative] Library because Mr. Poage, of course, was the only congressman that we’d ever known as kids from here. And then, our good friend, Marvin Leath, was the man who succeeded him as congressman from this district. Mr. Poage started the library. We all made donations and worked getting it fixed. And then, we had just not really participated in it a lot and saw a newspaper article on the fact that they were auctioning off Mr. Poage’s personal items. He had left them to his nephew, and the nephew had—was not married, had no children. And he had left them to his best friend, this Bobby Sherman, who was his high-school buddy. And instead of donating that stuff, the personal papers and all these things of Mr. Poage’s, to the Poage Library, he was selling it off to the highest bidder; he wanted the money.
So, we went over—I went over the day before the auction when they were having the viewing. And I had that picture they had taken of his office and to ask where these items were and all. And got out the list and marked it up. And asked if anybody had been there from Baylor because we didn’t know who to contact. And a friend of ours was there, said, “Yeah, they’re right over here.” And that was—we met—I think his name was Mr. Carlton?
Myers [Tom] Charlton.
G. Young Charlton. And he said, “Oh,” and we told him what we wanted to do, that we wanted to buy those thingsto put down at the Poage Library, all that we could afford to buy. And he said, “Oh, you need to see Ben Rogers.” I said, “I don’t want to buy stuff that the library doesn’t want.” And he said, “Oh, you need to talk to Ben.” And Ben was down somewhere else, and we met him, and we met John Wilson. And so, we walked—I walked through it with Ben and made marks by all the stuff that we thought would be good to have, and that was all.
And what we didn’t know was that there was this collector from Canadian, Texas, which is way up in the Panhandle almost at the border, who liked everything to do with just history. He just collected all these—antique dealer. He was actually an oil man. And he had all this oil money, and that he used that—and that’s when oil was really booming, you know. And so, he wanted a lot of the same things that we wanted for—we wanted it for the Poage Library because of its historical importance, and he wanted it because it was a history item. And he wanted it added to his collection. So, there were some things that we didn’t get that went way off up there. But we got a lot of it. And sitting out there in the heat under that tent, Ben and I developed a fast friendship. I said, “We are sweat brother and sister.” (both laugh) F. M. was a’sitting there, and he’d just say—I said, “You want to bid on this,” because he was a lot more experienced with auctions. He said, “No, it’s your project; you do it.” So, we bid and bought what we could.
And there was the land grant from Neil McLennan, and it had the state steal. Anson Jones was the governor. We really wanted that. And I was bidding against that man. He was the one that was the—was his name King? F. M., what his name?
F. M. Young I believe it was King.
G. Young Yeah. And so, I figured out which one he was because he was in front of us. And all he had to do was nod his head. I finally figured that out that he’d made a deal with the auctioneer. And he’d nod his head, and you know, I was holding my little thing up, my paddle. And we got up to forty thousand dollars for that thing, and I thought, What am I doing! (laughs) I’ve lost my mind! And fortunately I quit. (laughs) So, he had to really pay for it. But later on, I went out, introduced myself. He went over to get a sandwich, and so I went over to introduce myself to him. And I told him that he bought something that we really wanted to keep in McLennan County because it had such importance. And it was important because it had hung over Mr. Poage’s desk in his home all this time. And if he would ever consider making a donation of it to the Poage Library, that it would be great. And obviously, from all the stuff he bought, he had a lot of money, so he probably would need a tax deduction, and if he’d like to, I’d tell him where he could send it. And I gave him this card that Ben—I got Ben to give me a card. And he said, well, he’d take the card, but he was—he really wanted that for the time being. And he said, “Besides when I,” he was putting it in his pocket, and he said, “when I get home and my wife finds out what I paid for all this, she’s probably going to shoot me.” I said, “If she’s going to shoot you in the heart, would you put it over in that other pocket (laughs) so you don’t get blood all over it?” Fortunately, he had a good sense of humor, so he kind of laughed at me, you know. And every so often, I’ll send him a little thinking-of-you card and say don’t forget the thing. But I don’t think he’s ever going to donate it.
But we became fast friends with Ben through all of that and have—he did such a good job of displaying all of it, set it up. Our son-in-law built him a little wall that put the—we bought the glass out of Mr. Poage’s office down in Waco that said Bob Poage and the room number and put it up on it. Michael made a frame and got the glass people to donate the glass around it, and it looks really good. We were down there at their thirtieth anniversary this past weekend. It looks real good.
The two most prominent acts of philanthropy from the Youngs have come to fruition quite recently. In 2007, Providence Hospital opened the F. M. and Gloria Young Tower, a five-floor addition that provides additional bed space along with state-of-the-art cardiac clinics and care centers. To date the first four floors have been utilized, with the fifth designated for future expansion needs.
Young Audio Clip 2
Gloria and F. M. Young talk about the decision to fund the Providence expansion. . . (04:38 )
Myers Well, again, we appreciate your efforts on Baylor’s behalf for that, too. Tell me about the Providence Health Center, F. M. and Gloria Young Tower. How did that come about? It’s recent; 2007 it was dedicated—or opened, I guess.
F. M. Young Well, I guess it was Charlie Shoultz, who is a good friend and a good—my doctor. He kept talking about his heart hospital and the need for the heart hospital. And I had sold the business, and evidently he figured that I could probably afford to do it. And so, he talked about it and talked about it and showed us—brought us over, and showed us—
G. Young The plans.
F. M. Young ―the plans. And it was very impressive, I recall that, what they were doing and all. And so, it was well done.
G. Young Well, we’d talked about wanting to do—always before, primarily, what we had to offer was either land or in-kind donations or something. We never had a whole—we gave what we could, but we never had any large amounts of money to give or anything. And we had talked about when we sold the business wanting to do—we set up a foundation, and we talked about wanting to do something for this community, broad based, that would help everybody, from the people that had the greatest need to the people that it would enrich the life in this community and bring better people in to keep the community vibrant. And when Charlie started talking about that, and then we went over and saw what they had, we both kind of felt like that was it, didn’t we, Honey?
F. M. Young Yeah, yeah.
G. Young And it was really a big donation. We had to kind of take our breath and gulp and think about it a little bit. (laughs) But it was worth the stretch to do it. And it’s been something that we’ve been so glad we did and I think that has been a plus for the entire community. And we were a little uneasy about having our name put up there on it,(sighs) but they told us that they needed to do that because that encourages others to give. And so we said, Well, okay. And it’s been nice because people that we barely know or don’t even know, because they’ve put our picture up in there, come up to us at different places and say they were there or their loved one was there and how much they appreciate it. So, it’s been a wonderful, wonderful thing. And unfortunately F. M. has put it to use professionally a lot. (laughs)
F. M. Young Um-hm.
G. Young So we’re glad to have such great health care here. Keep the ol’ boy around awhile.
Myers So, it’s primarily the heart wing of the hospital or―?
G. Young Well, it is the heart hospital plus the wing—they expanded the hospital, added rooms and so forth. Um-hm.
Myers Yeah. Yeah, Providence seemed to have planned from the beginning.
G. Young They already had the plans. They just didn’t have the money.
Myers Yeah, how it was going to grow. And so that it all looks like one—
G. Young Yeah, uniform. And it all connects. And they redid the interior of the old hospital so that you flow from one area to the next without there being any new hospital–old hospital look.
Myers Yeah, it was well done.
G. Young Um-hm, it was very well done. Money well spent. They did a good job. They redid all the emergency room area and everything. They did a good job.
Then in 2009, the culmination of another great philanthropic passion was unveiled with the opening of the Waco Mammoth Site. This new 100 acre park along the Bosque River showcases the fossilized remains of 22 Columbian mammoths that have been discovered since 1978. The Youngs were key players throughout the history of the Site, providing everything from excavation equipment to the funds needed to create the new visitor's center. They continue to act as fundraisers and advocates as the Site attempts to gain status as a US National Monument.
Young Audio Clip 3
F. M. Young relates how he became involved with the Waco Mammoth Site. . . (02:26 )
F. M. Young And that’s pretty much kind of like the mammoths. That’s how we got into the mammoths, you know. I was working with Calvin Smith. He was the original guy with Baylor. And we loaned him backhoes to dig out there, loaned him several, several years, and then so when it got further enough along and it needed to get off the ground, we, Gloria and I, give a hundred thousand dollars to help get it off the ground. And then, she became finance chairman. She became the head money raiser. And that’s what she’s done and raised and with so many of our friends and all. And, of course, we gave money. And it was easy for us to ask for money. And she’s good at mode of communicating with people. But Paul and Jane Meyer, who’ve been good friends of ours for years, we got them interested in it. And he had given money, but then he discovered—he decided that it needed a little bit more. And he wanted to know what it would take to get it, you know, matching money. And she told him, like, a million seven. And he said, “Well, I’ll just give that.” So, that’s really what got it over the hump. And since that time, we raised something like $3.7 million. It’s pretty much built. It’s pretty much getting ready to open.
Myers Oh, that’s going to be exciting.
F. M. Young It will. It’ll be a great thing for Waco and for school kids and everybody alike. They’ll come out of the woodwork to see that thing. I mean, it’s one of a kind, you know.