Obituary: Denise Young

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June 19, 1966 – Feb. 17, 2023

Denise Young (Courtesy photo)

Denise Young, originally of Davis, Calif., died unexpectedly on Feb. 17, 2023 of a brain aneurysm suffered while on a two-week assignment at her company’s nursery in Winters, Calif. Denise was the company’s greenhouse manager in her hometown of Hillsboro, Oregon where she lived. She was 56 years old.

Denise was born on Father’s Day to parents Bob and Lynn Young of Davis, Calif. on June 19, 1966. Shortly after her birth, the family moved to Las Cruces, New Mexico where her sister Diane joined the family in December 1968. They then moved to Ames, Iowa and again to Washington DC where her father worked for the U. S. Department of Agriculture. During this time Denise lived and attended kindergarten in Fairfax, Virginia. Even though it was only a block away from the family home, little Denise was so proud of knowing when and how to get on “Bus No. 6” to and from school. The family moved back to Davis in the summer of 1973, where she began to form her identity and blossom into the beautiful, warm-hearted spirit that remains in our hearts to this day.

Those who knew Denise knew that her greatest desire and highest priority at all times was to make sure that everyone was happy. Her love of family, and particularly her son Peter, was unquestionably her guiding light and inspiration for everything she did.

Beyond family, however, her next greatest passion was her never-ending love of music. From an early age, Denise was a flower child and a consummate deadhead, attending concerts and festivals, gobbling up as many records and tapes (yes tapes) as she could, and passionately turning family and friends onto the latest thing she was listening to. It wasn’t just the music that Denise embraced. It was the lifestyle, the culture, the ideals, or perhaps even the dream that people of all types and backgrounds could somehow live in harmony, and that music and love could be the glue that held it all together.

Another of Denise’s greatest loves was for our planet and everything that lives and grows on it. She grew up surrounded by flowers, tutored from childhood to garden by her father. Dating back to when she first read Dr. Seuss’s “The Lorax” as a little girl, Denise was destined to be a student and ambassador of the earth as her interest in plants grew.

After attending Davis schools and graduating from Davis High in 1984, Denise pursued and obtained her Ornamental Horticulture degree from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo at the urging of her high school teachers who recognized her passion for the natural world. She would go on to pursue horticulture in various forms throughout her career, from her early days at Buckholtz Nursery, Oregon Garden Products, and Hines Nursery, to Laycock Gardens, Fred Meyer Garden Center, and her most recent position at Everde Nursery where she would spend her final moments doing what she loved. She saw that her little plants were cared for lovingly till they were prepared to go out into the world. The greenhouses were her havens, she loved to breathe the breath of plants. She was our Green poet.

Denise is survived by son Peter Laycock of Hillsboro, Oregon; partner John McNeeley of Hillsboro, Oregon; father and stepmother Bob & Liz Young of Davis, Calif.; sister and brother-in-law Diane & Dean Thomas of Moraga, Calif.; stepbrother and sister-in-law Charlie & Marilee Ingalls of Ridgefield, Washington; stepsister and brother-in-law Alyssa Ingalls and Dwayne Fletcher of Cedar Rapids, Iowa; and nieces and nephews Dylan & Jessica Thomas, Lee Fletcher, and MacKayla Livingstone. She was proceeded in death by her mother Carol Lynn Maxwell.

Denise was beloved by all who knew her. A celebration of life party in her honor is being planned for late Spring/early Summer in the Portland, Oregon area.

“Denise was my flower child. A ‘deadicated’ deadhead.” —Dad

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Correction: March 29, 2023

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