Summit Old Timer |

Summit Old Timer

Summit Daily/Brad Odekirk Dillon resident Johnny Younger spent the first ten years of his life growing up in Berkley, Calif.

Born in Louisiana to a World War I pilot and a homemaker, Dillon resident Johnny Younger spent the first 10 years of his life growing up in Berkeley, Calif., where his father went on to teach mechanical engineering to graduate students. All the while, he was inventing such aeronautical feats as the first pressurized cabin and the first retractable landing gear. Afterward, Younger’s family moved to Maryland, where he spent his high school years. Like his father, Younger had his sights set on the military and enlisted when he was 15, but he said guys weren’t getting called up until they turned 18 or finished high school. As World War II was winding down, Younger became an Air Cadet and served in the Army Air Corps as an instructor on B-29s.

“When they called me, the war was near over,” said Younger at his Dillon home. “I was sent to Roswell, (N.M.), which became the transition center for B-29s and the 8th Air Corps after World War II. We essentially started making flight engineers out of all these veteran pilots and they didn’t like it one bit. They went from flying in the front seats to flying with their backs turned to the windshield.”After his service, Younger went to Denver University on the GI Bill and earned two degrees – one in architecture and planning and the other in business administration with a focus on the construction industry. During his university days, Younger came up to Summit County most weekends and was on Arapahoe Basin’s ski patrol – at that time the area was just getting off the ground.

“It was logical for me to move up here,” said Younger, a man who has worn many hats during his five decades in Dillon. “My wife was a mountain girl and she wanted to raise her kids in the mountains.” In addition to patrolling and being a ski instructor at A-Basin (he was a charter member of Professional Ski Instructors of America), Younger worked on the construction of the Dillon Dam and Roberts Tunnel. He was Dillon’s town clerk, its building inspector, a surveyor, a contractor building the Lodge at Lake Dillon, a real estate agent and guesses he has served on Dillon’s Town Council for 12 or 13 years (he is currently a councilmember with two years of his term remaining). He and his wife, Marilyn “Stoney” (her maiden name was Stone) Younger raised two children in Summit County: Johnny, who was born in Denver, and Lorna, who was born in Kremmling.

They originally rented a house in the old town of Dillon one block west of Main Street on Hamilton Street near the Arapahoe Café. When Denver Water announced the creation of Dillon Reservoir, the owner of the house sold out and the Youngers then had the first rights of salvage on the house and decided to move it to the new town of Dillon; it was moved in 1961, and the Youngers have lived there ever since.In addition to serving on Dillon’s Town Council, he is often an election judge and a volunteer at community events. “In a town this small, it is impossible not to have conflicts of interest,” said Younger, who seems to have balanced everything just fine for five decades of mountain living.

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