Remembering Kevin Young

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Date: June 22, 2012

Kevin Young
Kevin Young

Palo Alto Battlefield wishing to note the passing of Kevin Young on May 7, 2012.

People throughout the nation know and respect Kevin as an expert on the Alamo, the Texas Revolution, and the U.S.-Mexican War, but at Palo Alto we recall him simply as a good friend.

For almost two decades, Kevin was always ready and willing to assist the park and especially its interpretive staff. When Palo Alto needed an image for an exhibit, Kevin knew where to look. When we needed information on the Mexican army of 1846, Kevin had a source or, more often, had the information in his head. If he could not provide the information right away, he was always willing to link the park to his huge network of friends and experts to help us find an answer.

Kevin also assisted with a number of living history events for the park. In the years before Palo Alto had a visitor center and daily operations, Kevin helped organize several large military encampments that allowed the residents of the Rio Grande Valley to get a glimpse of opportunities to come.Kevin not only helped to bring dozens of living history groups to Brownsville, but he also came himself.On multiple occasions he endured long days of heat, high winds and dust to ensure that students from local schools would receive the best possible presentation.He had recently spoken to the park about wanting to return for one more living history encampment.

When Kevin left Texas to return to his home state of Illinois, he was a less frequent participant in park activities, but was never absent. When he found an interesting article or photo, he always passed it on. When the park reached a milestone, he always helped promote it. And when Palo Alto planned an event, he always was willing to lend a hand. Just days before he died, Kevin was still helping the park, offering photos and information to support a new project.

Palo Alto was hardly the only beneficiary of Kevin's knowledge and skill.He was involved dozens of history museums and sites, assisted hundreds of researchers, and provided interpretation for many thousands of interested on-lookers. And his contributions have not been forgotten. Just hours after his death, internet message boards and history sites were filled with expressions of shock, grief, but mostly praise for a man who was not just a friend of Palo Alto but a friend of all things historical. Kevin R. Young, age 55, of Rossville, passed away at 2:30 p.m. Monday, May 7, 2012.

After watching the John Wayne movie, "The Alamo," as a 4-year-old at the old Dixie Theater in Rossville, Kevin developed what turned out to be a lifelong love for history. He turned that passion into a career as well as a hobby. In 1978, Kevin moved from Illinois to Texas, where he worked at various historical sites in a number of capacities, including historical interpreter and manager of the IMAX Theater at the Alamo.

He appeared in and served as a consultant to many movies and television shows, including "North and South," "Glory," "Alamo: the Price of Freedom," "Rough Riders," and "The Old West."

Kevin loved history from all eras, but was most well-known for his expertise in Alamo and Mexican War history.

He was a lecturer, teacher, researcher, living historian and author as well as the founder of the Second Texas Reenactment Group.

He moved back to Central Illinois to complete an advanced degree in history at Eastern Illinois University. He participated in a number of local history events, and was vice president of the Ward Hill Lamon Civil War Roundtable, past president of the Rossville Historical Society and Rossville Community Organization and a member of the Sons of the American Legion, Arts in the Park Board and Medal of Honor Committee.

Kevin is survived by his brother, Mark Young (Gillian); his sister, Cheri Power; and his mother, Myrtle Clifton. He also leaves behind the love of his life, Kathy Collier; a nephew, Michael Power; a goddaughter, Betsy Noack; and numerous friends and colleagues throughout the country.

He was preceded in death by his father, George Young.

In lieu of funeral services, a memorial gathering will be held later in the summer.

Last updated: February 24, 2015

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