Retired Chronicle photographer Bill Young, who saw action throughout the Pacific as a combat photographer in World War II and went on to become a society photographer and a lifelong railroad buff, died in the Seattle area on Jan. 15. He was 88.
Young grew up in Long Beach and Davis and shot photos for the Sacramento Bee and the Sacramento Union before joining the Chronicle in 1938.
In early 1941, he enlisted in the Army and when the U.S. declared war on Japan, in December of that year, Mr. Young went with combat units to many of the bloodiest battles in the Pacific - the Gilbert and Marshall Islands, the Marianas, the Philippines, New Guinea and on to Australia and Japan.
During the war he was assigned to an engineer unit and attached to Yank Magazine as a combat photographer. He also took photos for the Associated Press.
After the war, having been decorated with a Bronze Star, he was mustered out of the service in December 1945 and resumed his job as a photographer at The Chronicle.
Known as a gregarious and colorful man, he was widely hailed as the town's society photographer, showing up at all the cotillions and debutante balls and occasionally making images of whatever visiting royalty happened to be in town.
Young also found time to indulge his passion for skiing and, quite naturally, gravitated to covering the Winter Olympics for 20 years. But his big passion during off-duty hours was trains.
Young is survived by his wife, Bernice Young of Piedmont; a son, Christopher Young of Duvall, Wash.; a stepdaughter, Joan Henley of Piedmont; a stepson, Darryl Henley of Dos Palos; and two grandsons.
No service was held, but Mr. Young asked to have his ashes scattered over the railroad tracks in Davis.
Story by Michael Taylor, San Francisco Chronicle Staff Writer.
For condolences contact Young's wife:
301 Pala Avenue
Piedmont, CA 94611