In memoriam: Missionary emeritus Louella June Buckner Young, 94

Louella June Buckner Young, 1926-2020

Louella June Buckner Young, an International Mission Board missionary emeritus who lived the gospel among Northern African and Middle Eastern Affinity Peoples, died Nov. 25, 2020. She was 94.

Young was born on May 10, 1926, in Alexandria, Louisiana, to the late John and Dorothy Buckner. Months later her family moved to Ruston, Louisiana.

Young received the Bachelor of Arts from Louisiana Polytechnic Institute (now Louisiana Tech University), Ruston. She moved to Houston, Texas, where she worked as a secretary before returning to Ruston to marry James M. Young on August 24, 1946. The couple moved to New Orleans, where James M. attended medical school at LSU.

When seeking missionary appointment, Young wrote, “My first thoughts of becoming a missionary came as a result of a message by a missionary to Brazil who spoke in our church one Sunday morning when I was in high school. Something he said stirred my heart so that I, who was so timid and reluctant to speak to strangers, sought him out after the service to talk with him about becoming a missionary.”

In 1943, while at a student conference at the Southern Baptist conference center in Ridgecrest, North Carolina, Young made a public commitment to foreign missions. So did her childhood friend James M. Young.

In 1954, the Foreign Mission Board (now International Mission Board) appointed the Youngs as missionaries assigned to the Middle East, where they remained for almost 10 years.

In 1964, the Youngs opened the first Southern Baptist medical work where they served in the Middle East. In 1968 James M. supervised the opening of a hospital in an isolated mountain town of 12,000. According to the family, June was a tremendous asset to the hospital work, filling in as store manager, pharmacist, bookkeeper and secretary.

The Youngs continued their ministry there until retirement in 1987. They returned to North Louisiana, living in West Monroe, Ruston and Dubach. James M. died on July 11, 2019.

Most of her life, June was a member of Temple Baptist Church in Ruston.

Young is survived by her four children, Bruce (Becky), Mark (Chloe), Kay Lueg (Gene), Jo Blevins (Carter), 10 grandchildren, 22 great-grandchildren, and a brother John Buckner (Ruth Ann).

A private graveside service was held, and a memorial service was tentatively planned for the spring of 2021 through Temple Baptist Church.

Read an obituary here.