Elaine Carol Young, 82, of Cedar Rapids, passed away peacefully on January 9, 2020 at Cottage Grove Care Center. A Memorial Mass will be held Wednesday January 15, 2020 at 10:30 am at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church. Friends may gather to share memories prior to the Mass between 9:00-10:30 am in the front vestibule of the church and after Mass in the parish center.
Elaine was born February 25, 1937 to Matilda (Callahan) and John Leo McDonald in Dubuque, Iowa. She was seventh of twelve children. Elaine was just nine years old when her mother died suddenly. Her father was not able to care for all the children, so Elaine and her younger siblings went to St. Mary’s orphanage in Dubuque, where she grew up. This began her gift for care taking. Her younger sister Mary Olson often says, “Elaine became our mother figure”. As a young woman, Elaine moved to Cedar Rapids and pursued a career in nursing, attending Mercy Hospital School of Nursing. Following graduation, she began a fifty-year career at St. Luke’s Hospital.
Elaine married Norman Young of Cedar Rapids. Norm had two sons, John and Jim. Together Elaine and Norm had a daughter, Patricia. Elaine enjoyed summer vacations in Minnesota with their seven grandchildren. In her later years, she took great joy in her grandson, Mike (Lisa) and their children Steven, Katie, Bill and Mitchell. She spent many holidays with them and loved participating in the children’s life events. Another source of happiness for Elaine was the visits from granddaughter, Tracey Wildeboer, great granddaughter, Jennifer Atwood with great-great grandsons, Oliver and William, and special friend Megan (Bradke) Mildenberger. Most recently the addition of great-great grandchildren brought a smile to her face with each visit and new picture. Children have always been dear to her.
During her career at St. Luke’s, Elaine was well known for her keen intellect, thirst for knowledge, compassion for patients and passion for teaching others. She served as the Nurse Manager of the ICU for ten years (1976-1986) and provided leadership when the open-heart program was introduced in 1977. Elaine had very high standards for herself and others. Good enough was never good enough! She was widely respected by nurses, physicians, other members of the team and administration. She was very proud to be recognized as a One Hundred Great Iowa Nurse in 2007. She contributed to the care of thousands of patients through her mentorship of several generations of nurses.
Elaine also loved nature and travel. She had especially fond memories of her trips to Ireland and the Holy Land. When she was less able to travel, she loved attending the symphony and the theatre. She was also an avid Cubs fan and rarely missed a game! And she never stopped learning. She attended Mt. Mercy University where she received a degree in religious studies. She was an avid reader and readily shared books and new insights with her friends and family.
She put her faith into action as an active member of St. Patrick’s Parish. She visited many homebound individuals, bringing Communion and companionship. A constant in Elaine’s life was her love of God and her unwavering faith in his love for her. She was a true disciple, bringing her friends and family closer to God through her example, encouragement and prayer.
Elaine was preceded in death by her parents, her husband Norman and many brothers and sisters. In addition to her grandchildren, she will be fondly remembered by her sister Mary Olson, many nieces and nephews, special friends Charlene Lange, Peg Bradke, Mary Ann Osborn and her many friends at St. Luke’s and St. Patrick’s. She had a very large “family”.
The family would like to extend a special thank-you to the staff at Cottage Grove and the UnityPoint Hospice team.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to St. Patrick’s Church, UnityPoint Foundation, UnityPoint Hospice or a charity of your choice. Elaine had a generous heart and would be most pleased if you help her support others.