The Turlock community lost a friend and business leader on Thursday, when Bill Youngdale passed away at the age of 87 at Stanford Hospital.
A prominent figure in Turlock, Youngdale was as recognizable a person as the downtown landmark store that his father founded which bore his family name. Bill became synonymous with Youngdale’s Inc. not only because of his name, but because of his welcoming disposition and honest business ethics that drew community members to the store.
“He was a very hard worker. The store that we had was open for 87 years and he was there for about 50 of those working there full time,” said his youngest of three daughters Sonia Caldeira.
“You went to Youngdale’s because of Bill. Bill changed the business in Turlock,” added longtime friend Dick Weaver.
Youngdale’s sincerity was not limited to his business practices evident by his title as Turlock’s Man of the Year in 1974. He was a former City Planning Commissioner for 12 years, frequent coffee group attender and a friendly face for many to see inside and outside of Youngdale’s store doors. Perhaps the most significant quality that Youngdale possessed was his ability to befriend anyone with which he crossed paths.
“He was a very friendly person. He treated new acquaintances like old friends,” said Caldeira. “He was never shy about walking into a room where he didn’t know anyone because pretty soon he would. He would enter a Turlock restaurant and scan the room to see if there was anyone he knew and could greet.”
Youngdale’s ability to befriend strangers served him throughout his life, especially in his later years when he enjoyed pursuing active pastimes. At the age of 40 Youngdale became an avid runner, an activity through which he met fellow runners and entered numerous races. An adventurist at heart, Youngdale skied locally and abroad, even injuring himself helicopter skiing in Canada, his daughter likening his adventures to those of James Bond.
“The stories he had were incredible about free falling down a cliff and things of that sort. He did injure himself sometimes, but he was okay with that. He knew it came with the territory,” said Caldeira.
When he wasn’t jumping out of helicopters or scuba diving with friends, Youngdale and his wife Alberta enjoyed extensive travel often making their way to Europe to ski with other couples. Youngdale’s ability to not only meet new people but also maintain older friendships became a trademark of his personality and something that people appreciated, no matter how well they knew him. Just ask Weaver.
Weaver and Youngdale grew up on the Westside of Turlock together and became friends in the first grade and remained friends throughout their entire lives. Having known Youngdale for so long, Weaver commended his integrity noting that it never waned throughout the many years in which he knew him.
“Bill was supremely honest,” said Weaver. “We were in a coffee group and Bill never had a bad word to say about anybody. He was never negative, always positive. “
Youngdale’s kind disposition and outgoing personality made him not only a good salesman and travel companion but a good friend to many people in town, something especially important to Weaver as the two grew older and “the serious side of life came along”.
Youngdale will be missed by his wife Alberta of 64 years; daughters, Lynne, Dara, Sonia; as well as the many family members and community member to which his mere presence brightened their day.
“Bill was a very unique person, extremely honorable, very people-oriented, no question of his business ethics or honesty,” said Weaver. “It would be a wonderful world if everybody were like Bill Youngdale.”
For a full obituary and list of services, see page A7.