Robert L. Young Jr.

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Born in Lima, Ohio on September 11, 1932

Departed on June 23, 2018 and resided in Carmel, Indiana

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Robert L. Young Jr., 85, Carmel, passed away June 23, 2018.  We were all robbed a bit, by the dementia, but the splendid life that Robert Young created for those that graced his life, was pure delight.  He made our hearts smile; a room was never the same once he entered in his quest to follow that star.  He was born September 11, 1932, in Lima, Ohio, the son of the late Robert L. Sr. and Marcene (Prosser) Young.  He married the love of his lifetime Margaret “Maggie” Jean McCallum on March 14, 1958.  She preceded him in death on July 2, 2001, after 43 years of marriage taking the best part of him, now Bob has joined his sweetheart in the bliss of the everlasting beaches of Hilton Head Island.

Robert was a 1950 graduate of Broad Ripple High School.  He received his bachelor’s degree from DePauw University in 1954, where he was a member of the Sigma Chi fraternity.  Following graduation, Robert enlisted in the United States Air Force the same year.  He faithfully served the voluntary role as Entertainment Director based in Niagara Falls while positioned as an Interceptor Controller and until he was honorably discharged in 1957 as First Lieutenant.  While booking talent such as Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr. and Dean Martin, etc. for domestic Air Force Bases Robert fell in love both with the business of entertainment and entertaining people with his character.

In 1962 Robert ushered in the “Golden Age of Musical Comedy” while in his 30’s by accepting the role of Vice President and General Manager of Starlight Musicals overseeing a six-week summer Broadway series.  While serving in this role Bob produced star driven shows written by Rodgers and Hammerstein or Lerner and Loewe.  He had a knack for securing talent such as Carol Channing, Mitzi Gaynor, Jane Powell, Yul Brynner, Carol Burnett, Debbie Reynolds, Jack Benny, Dick Van Dyke, Perry Como, Liza Minnelli, Sammy Davis Jr. and Liberace.  Bob was no doubt known for his ‘story’s’.  One famous story is that of Yul Brenner performing in “The King and I.” Bob picked up Mr. Brenner and his son from the airport and learned that Yul had a horrible cold and could hardly speak. Bob was bereft of speech discovering his star was ill. Brenner, however, reassured Bob that his son had an identical voice and would perform from the orchestra pit while Brenner moved his lips, and it worked. The audience was not the wise, the show was a success and Bob learned another trick of the trade as he did in life, ‘the show must go on’.  Aside to fraternizing with celebrities, Bob was equally proud to have been a part in creating a local theatrical community employing Indianapolis area musicians and actors and a mini-city of carpenters, painters, electricians, stagehands, set and prop designers on site.  Bob was the last of the titan’s representing the great summer stock outdoor theatres.

Bob ushered in the ‘80’s by expanding his reach outside of Indianapolis producing both Tony Award winning Broadway shows as well as over 40 national Broadway tours across the country and abroad such as Marie Osmond in “The Sound of Music”, Theodore Bikel in "Fiddler on the Roof", Hal Linden in “Man of La Mancha”, Robert Goulet in “Camelot", and the prestigious 20th anniversary tour of “A Chorus Line” throughout the United States, Japan, and Asia.  Robert was known across the country as very loyal to those he worked with be it his office, partners, celebrities and community and will forever be remembered for his great heart and sense of humor.   Everyone loved to be present for the opening night of his shows just to witness his famous opening night speeches.  Bob had a way of sensationalizing every conversation, pitch, memory, or occurrence as he was the consummate promoter. “Smiling Bob” they called him throughout the theatrical community, leaving a legacy behind that touched so many lives in a positive way.

A few things you may not have known about Bob (Bobby, Youngy, or Mr. Young and Smilin’ Bob):  A hand shake, or even more your word was his bond when making a deal, he loved reading and sitting watching sports in “his” chair, stopped at Rosslyn Bakery daily for breakfast but would deny it,  and eat PB&J’s with Charlie’s Chips for lunch, cheated in golf “don’t count that” he would always say, loved Las Vegas, named his cars, wore too much cologne, and promoted Elvis’ last show at Market Square Arena.  Many of you listen to “Desperado” while in elevators, not with Bob who would sing showtunes full tilt regardless of the company.  “Take care of yourself kid, it’s a full-time job,” was a recurring comment from Bob.

As a young father, Robert actively volunteered as a coach for the Carmel Dad’s Club and the YMCA.  He was a board member for the Heartland Film Festival and Starlight Musicals.  He was also a long-time member of League of American Theatres and Producers, Woodland Country Club, Meridian Hills and the Riviera, and a grateful member of Second Presbyterian Church.

He is survived by four children, Nancy Young Gauntt, Linda Marie (Jerry) Richardson, Gregory (Jennifer) Young, and Robert Jeffery Young; six grandchildren, Heather Gauntt Libonati, Sarah Gauntt, Devon Young, Amanda “Claire” Young, Robert Ross Richardson, and Margaret “Maggie” Richardson.  He was preceded in passing by a sister, Nancy Thompson.

Bob’s dearest family both immediate and heartfelt theatrical community bid a final curtain call farewell to one of a kind “Smiling Bob”, one singular sensation every step that he took who did it his way.  Following is one of many letters received from a dear friend and longtime colleague, in NY that sheds light on the character of Bob Young:

The first time I met Bob, I didn’t know what to think. He had a great sense of humor, loved to laugh and had a big warm hug for everyone. We all had to be available for dinner at Frankie and Johnny’s when he came into town and we wouldn’t have considered being unavailable. Who was this crazy guy who convinced the biggest international stars to work in Indianapolis and to tour North America? He gave everyone a chance and could spot talent a mile away. I was mortified when one of my assistants gave him 3 pages of notes at an opening. Instead of being offended, he told me they were really great notes. That assistant went on to produce Rent and Hamilton. It was Bob who convinced Richard Harris who starred in the hit movie Camelot to perform in the live stage version. I believe Bob was instrumental in my becoming Richard Harris’ agent. Whenever inevitable problems arose on the deal side, it was Bob who found a solution and kept the peace as well as relationships intact. Most of all, we’ll always remember him, because this man, who was so down to earth also saw the future. He created the bridge between the touring industry and Broadway and made it all possible for us to do what we’re doing today.

Rest in peace Dad we love you and are all grateful to have you in our hearts.

“And I know if I’ll only be true, to this glorious quest, that my heart will lie peaceful and calm, when I’m laid to my rest…”

Private services were held by the immediate family to join Bob alongside Margaret in the Memorial Gardens of Second Presbyterian Church.  A celebration of life is being prepared by the family to be scheduled in the coming weeks with details provided at Memorial contributions may be directed to the charities.

We would like to share a heartfelt thank you to ManorCare of Summer Trace and Heartland Hospice caregivers for their love and care of our father.

Arrangements were entrusted to Flanner Buchanan – Carmel, and online condolences may be shared by visiting .

Guestbook Entries

  1. Bruce W. Buchanan June 27, 2018 at 11:27 am - Reply

    There are few things more difficult than dealing with the loss of a loved one. I am honored that you have chosen our family to care for your family during this time. Please let me know if there is more we can do to help celebrate your loved-one’s life.

    My Warmest Regards,

    Bruce W. Buchanan
    4th Generation Owner
    Since 1881

  2. Justin Miller June 27, 2018 at 3:17 pm - Reply

    Our prayers and heartfelt condolences go out to Greg, Jennifer, Devon, Claire and the rest of the Young family- We are so sorry for the loss of your father. I’m grateful to have met him, saddened not to have spent more time in his company. With deepest sympathy for your loss.

    Justin, Jessie, Jet & Charleigh

  3. Karen Falloon June 27, 2018 at 3:48 pm - Reply

    Greg, Jennifer and family,

    I’m so sorry for your loss. What an extraordinary man.
    Blessings and Peace to you.

    Love, Karen Falloon 💛

  4. J D Nolan June 27, 2018 at 3:51 pm - Reply

    Bob Young, what can I say. He offered me a job in 1978 and I accepted the offer on a hand shake. That was the only contract we had for for 25 years. He and Margaret treated me like family for all those years. What more can you say about an individual. Rest in Peace.

  5. Marcine (Marci) Thompson Purinton June 27, 2018 at 7:12 pm - Reply

    Uncle Bob was my mother Nancy’s only sibling. When she died in 1955 leaving two children and a bereft family. Uncle Bob was there for all of us. Some of the many special memories I cherish are the many summers spent watching beloved musicals at Starlight Theater. I idolized Debbie Reynolds and Bob arranged for me to meet her and get an autographed photo which I treasure to this day. When I was 13 and like millions of other teens, loved and idolized the Beatles, Bob arranged for great seats at the state fair concert. Even better, he let my friends and I come inside the gates to greet their car as they drove in the back gate! This solidified his place as my hero for ever!

    Nancy, Linda, Greg, and Jeff: My thoughts and prayers go with you and your family during this hard time. It seems no mater when, what the circumstances, it is always hard to say a final goodbye to those we love. He joins Grandma and Grandpa Young, Aunt Margaret, My mom Nancy in paradise! Sing them a song for me when you get there, Uncle Bob! Love Marci

  6. Rodney Cameron June 28, 2018 at 3:00 am - Reply

    I never met Mr. Young but I was indirectly influenced by him through Greg, who learned to love and navigate the entertainment business from his dad. RIP Mr. Young.

  7. Karen McCallum June 28, 2018 at 7:31 am - Reply

    Candle 2He made our life that much richer by just spending the time with him that we did. Bob was a bundle of joy and one of the kindest people one could ever meet. He took wonderful care of his mother, his wife and family. He was extremely generous to the extended family. A life well lived.

  8. Su Ours June 28, 2018 at 10:11 am - Reply

    My life was changed forever in 1974 when I was hired at Starlight Musicals in the resident chorus. Thank you, Bob.

  9. Chris White June 28, 2018 at 10:19 am - Reply

    Greg, Jennifer, Nancy and Family,
    Never having met smilin’ Bob, its apparent his infectious persona is ever present in your lives. I am fortunate and greatful (as well as others) to benefit from from Bob’s legacy and passion through his family. Rest In Peace

  10. J.R. Hermsdorfer June 28, 2018 at 1:22 pm - Reply

    Candle 6Bob Young R.I.P.

  11. Al Nocciolino June 28, 2018 at 1:28 pm - Reply

    I have such wonderful memories of our partnership in producing the “Visa Tour” of “A Chorus Line”, especially when Bob came to Buffalo for our engagement and we traveled to Niagra Falls to visit his old Air Force base where his entertainment career began. My best to his family. Celebrate his life, Rest In Peace my old friend.

  12. Terry Lingner June 28, 2018 at 8:19 pm - Reply

    I found a treasure. It was a box of CD’s in a building my company rented from WFYI. The year was 2008 and it happend because we were moving. The box of CD’s was the complete set of Bob Young and Gary Hofmeister’s Broadway Memories radio shows. As it turned out, I loved listening to them because of their knowldge, passion and storytelling. The other benefit was that our sons could glean such wisdom from listening. Our older son Chris went out on a Broadway tour right out of University High School in ’08 and our younger son Cory enrolled at the University of Oklahoma Musical Theatre progam in ’09. Man, did those CD’s come in handy for his research papers. Cory is now living in NY in his 4th Broadway show: “Carousel”. The most amazing part of all of this is a small-world story. In May of ’17, Nancy (Young-Gauntt) help my wife and I as we were entertaining a bunch of co-workers for the NBC coverage of Carb Day. We had not met before that day. As we talked and discovered who Nancy’s father was, I was blown away. A couple of weeks passed and I rounded up the CD’s and gave them to Nancy so Bob could relisten. She said that made Bob happy. Man, I sure wish I could have run around with Smilin Bob. What a life. Terry, Louise, Chris and Cory Lingner

  13. Wendy Reed June 29, 2018 at 8:01 am - Reply

    Love to you all during this time of loss ❤️

  14. Jim Morey June 29, 2018 at 10:56 am - Reply

    In my early career Bob Young was the promoter that treated me with respect even though I was barely 21. I learned a lot just watching him and …..listening.
    He was one of the nice guys; in show business that says a lot.
    I experience some of his DNA in Greg !

  15. Harry James June 29, 2018 at 4:17 pm - Reply

    Condolences, thoughts and prayers to all the Young Family. I worked with Bob on the shows he and Phil Walker brought to Market Square Arena. We became friends and enjoyed talking baseball, my Cincinnati Reds and his St. Louis Cardinals.
    One of a kind.

  16. Bergen Parkhill June 29, 2018 at 5:03 pm - Reply

    You have had a great life, Bob I’m sorry our paths never crossed after DPU. You were well suited for show business. I loved being around you for those two years. Bergen Parkhill XI chapter Sigma Chi class of 1956 Champaign, Illinois

  17. Teri Wertman July 2, 2018 at 11:34 pm - Reply

    I was recently thinking about how grateful I am that when I was on tour with Bob’s shows that we had the holidays and summers off – allowing us to spend time with our families. Not many tours could say the same thing. In the 90s ,cell phones, Skype and the like were not available to help us stay connected like they do now. Rest in peace, good man.

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