Fred Young helped NASA explore the galaxy


Fred Young (1943-2023)

Frederic (Fred) Marlin Young took over the family business, Forest City Gear,  in Roscoe, in 1967. It was founded by his parents in 1955.

He carried the small 'mom and pop' shop to a global level, leading the company to manufacture some of the world's most difficult gearing for amazing end uses from NASA's Mars Rovers and the Space Station, to robotic arms and racing yachts.

Fred was truly elated to see middle daughter, Kika, take the reins of the family business in 2022. 

Fred was born April 21, 1943 in Chicago, IL, the son of Stetler and Evelyn (Joelson) Young. He was a 1961 graduate of Harlem High School in Machesney Park, IL. He obtained his BA in English literature from Rockford University in 1965. He went on to spend a year in the Navy Reserves.

After nearly 40 years as an adventuring bachelor outdoorsman, Fred met the love of his life, Wendy Nutter. He and Wendy were married on the banks of the Wolf River on June 6, 1981.

Fred passed away at the age of 80 on July 17, 2023, holding the hands of his daughters and grandson.

Fred's greatest joys were his three daughters, whom he taught to always seek adventure, always bestow kindness and generosity, to treasure friendship and to work hard and play hard.

He was a treasured and devoted Poppa to his many grandchildren, never missing an opportunity to read a story or buy a round of ice cream.

Fred was involved in many community organizations including his temple, Temple Beth-ElTrout Unlimited, the American Gear Manufacturers Association (AGMA), the board of his alma mater, Rockford University, and many more.

Fred’s company, Forest City Gear in Roscoe, made gears for four Mars Rovers: Spirit, Opportunity, Curiosity and Perseverance.

He received dozens of awards over the years including the Award of Distinction from Rockford University, the Rockford Chamber of Commerce Manufacturer of the Year in 2006, and the 2014 Lifetime Achievement Award for the American Gear Manufacturers Assoc. (AGMA).

Fred took on many hobbies with gusto, including fly fishing and hunting as well as whitewater boating and kayaking in his younger years.

Fred was able to take dozens of trips to New Zealand as an avid catch and release fly fisherman, taking his youngest daughter, Mindy, on many of these special trips. He loved eating an excellent meal with friends and family at his favorite restaurant, Greenfire, hosting friends (local and international) in his home, and throwing a good party with Wendy.

He felt incredibly blessed to have his eldest daughter, Appy, and her family move in with him last year after his wife's death.

Fred is survived by his devoted daughters, Appy (Rustin) Mikel, Kika (Anthony) Risa, Mindy (Ryan Davis) Young, grandchildren Joey, Kysa, Levi, Addy, AJ, Nollie, Clementine, Charley, Evie, Wilder, Stetler; step-grandson, Felix Davis; sister-in-law Lori (Roger) Brandel, brother-in-law Todd Nutter, many nieces, nephews, great nieces and great nephews, god mother to his girls, Becca Ivancich, "fishing son" Dan Ivancich, "gear son" Jared Lyford, and a large circle of treasured friends too many to name.

Fred is preceded in death by his parents, and his beloved wife, Wendy.

Visitation will be held Sunday, July 23, 2023 from 11 am to 2:45 p.m., followed by a funeral service at 3 p.m. at at Grace Funeral & Cremation Services, 4301 N. Main St. Rockford, which will be livestreamed. Immediately following the funeral, Fred's family and friends will gather for a picnic, yard games and family friendly activities at the back lawn next to Grace Funeral Home.

A private interment will be held at Pinnacle Hill Cemetery, Roscoe. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Fred's memory to Trout Unlimited, Blackhawk Chapter #390.

More News from Roscoe
I'm interested
I disagree with this
This is unverified