Stephen M. Young, 95, a Democrat who represented his native Ohio in both houses of Congress and gained a reputation as one of the more zesty and strong-minded men to serve on Capitol Hill, died yesterday at the Washington Home. He died of hemolytic anemia, a blood disorder.
Sen. Young served in the House of Representatives from 1933 to 1937, then from 1941 to 1943, and finally, from 1949 to 1951. He upset Sen. John Bricker (R-Ohio), a major force in the conservative wing of his party, in the election of 1958. Six years later, Sen. Young won a second term against what a newspaper editorial referred to as "seemingly insuperable odds."
In that election in 1964, he first faced John Glenn, who as a Mercury astronaut became the first American to orbit the earth. But Glenn withdrew from the race after an accidental fall in his bathroom. In the general election, Sen. Young's opponent, Rep. Robert Taft Jr. (R-Ohio), was heavily favored. The senator defeated him. Both Taft and Glenn later won election to the Senate. Sen. Young, citing age as his only reason, retired from the Senate at the end of his second term, on Jan. 3, 1971.
During his years in the Senate, Sen. Young was considered by most observers to be an outspoken liberal who was a great friend of organized labor. Late in his career he said that his most important vote in the Senate was the one cast in support of the 1963 Limited Nuclear Test Ban Treaty with the Soviet Union.
Upon winning election to the upper house, he made headlines by announcing that he would sell all his stocks to prevent possible conflicts of interest between his financial worth and his duties to the people.
Other evidence that he was not just another senator came when he ignored the honored Senate tradition, as a newly elected senator, of walking down the aisle with his state's fellow senator to be sworn in. He said of fellow Democratic Sen. Frank Lausche, a party conservative, "I've made it this far without his support, I guess I can make it the rest of the way on my own, too."
Known for his pithy language, the former criminal prosecutor was likely to tangle with just about anyone. They could range from fellow members of Congress and presidents of the United States to traffic court judges and persons who wrote letters to his office. But, though not widely considered an influential member of the Senate, nor a member of the "club" that ran it, Sen. Young did have his friends. Of Sen. Barry Goldwater (R-Ariz.) he once said, "We're close friends. He calls me Tiger."
Stephen Marvin Young was born on a farm near Norwalk, Ohio. He attended Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio, and earned a law degree at the old Western Reserve University in Cleveland. He served in the Army three times. He was a member of the Third Ohio Infantry, which took part in the 1916 Mexican Border Campaign; served in the field artillery during World War I; attained the rank of lieutenant colonel and won the Bronze Star Medal while in the Mediterranean theater during World War II.
He served in the Ohio State House from 1913 to 1917, and was a prosecuting attorney in Cuyahoga County and member of the Ohio Commission on Unemployment Insurance, before winning his first election to the House of Representatives in 1932. He did not seek reelection to Congress in 1936, but ran a losing campaign for his party's nomination for the governorship instead. He had lost an earlier bid for governor in 1930.
He was reelected to the House in 1940 and was defeated in a reelection bid two years later. He practiced law in Cleveland before winning his next election to the House in 1948. He lost his reelection bid in 1950, and was defeated in a race for state attorney general, but then won a U.S. Senate seat in 1958.
After leaving the Senate, he lived in Washington and, for a short time, maintained a law practice with offices in Cleveland and Washington.
His first wife of 41 years, the former Ruby Louise Dawley, died in 1952. Five years later, he married the former Rachel Louise Bell. She died in 1982.
Sen. Young's survivors include a daughter by his first marriage, Marjorie Richardson of Mentor, Ohio; an adopted daughter, Soon-Hie Young of Narragansett, R.I.; five grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren.