Youngberg, Gustavus Benson Jr. (1933–2013)

By Lovanomena Zandritiana

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Lovanomena Zandritiana is a Malagasy serving as a student pastor at Biga Church in Silang Cavite, in the Philippines. Holding an M.A in Religion from Adventist International Institute of Advanced Studies, he is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in New Testament in the same institution.

First Published: July 15, 2022

Gustavus Benson Youngberg Jr. was a nurse, obstetrician, and gynecologist. He served as a missionary physician to the Far East Division.

Early Life

Gustavus Benson Youngberg Jr., otherwise known as Benjamin,1 was born on August 13, 1933, in Kuching Sarawak, on the western coast of Borneo, to Seventh-day Adventist missionary parents. He was the last of six children2 born to Gustavus Benson Youngberg (1888-1944), a pioneer missionary to the natives of Borneo, which is now Malaysia, when that land was unsafe for a Caucasian man.3 His mother, Norma Ione Rhoads (1896-1984), was a prolific writer and literature specialist for young people. She authored more than 40 books of mission stories, poems, writing strategies, and other books during her lifetime.4 Ben’s two brothers, Robert Raleigh5 and James Rowland6, became clergymen while his three sisters, Rita Ruth, Rhoda Belle, and Ida Madge, became registered nurses.7

Education and Marriage

Ben migrated to San Francisco, California, in 1940. He attended several schools including Monterey Bay Academy (1950-51), Walla Walla College (1951-52), and Wildwood (1952-53). Later, he went to study at La Sierra College, Arlington (1953-54), and was baptized in February 1953. At La Sierra, he met Clara Lynette Peters,8 a native from Pomona, who at that time was taking her pre-nursing course at the college. After earning a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, Ben moved to San Jose State College in 1954 to study for another Bachelor of Arts in Zoology and a Minor in Botany.9 He married Clara Lynette Peters on November 6, 1956.10 After their wedding, Ben entered two years of military service while Clara returned to LLU to resume her studies at the College of Medical Evangelists, School of Nursing.11 Later, Ben went to San Jose State and completed his degrees in M.D. and obstetrics and gynecology in 1960. From 1960 to 1964, he returned to LLU where he was one of the five medical student winners of the Christmas Seal summer fellowship in 1962.12 Three children were born to Ben and Clara, namely Michael (1960), Kayleen (1963), and Jerome (1969).13

Ministry

At the beginning of 1962, Ben was appointed to the Far Eastern Division, which supported his medical school. He was assigned to Singapore as a teacher,14 at that time a sophomore in the LLU, School of Medicine.15 In 1968, Youngberg worked as a nurse at Glendale Adventist Hospital and a part-time nurse at White Memorial. In the same year, he completed a residency in obstetrics and gynecology at the White Memorial Medical Center.16 In mid-1969, he left Los Angeles to re-enter the mission field, serving the Far East Division as an obstetrics and gynecology specialist at Bangkok Sanitarium and Hospital, Thailand,17 and in 1971 at Youngberg Hospital in Singapore, a hospital named after his father.18 As a missionary physician, Dr. Youngberg Jr. was involved in medical mission and shared Gospel stories to the Meo tribespeople in the Thai Hills.19

Later Life

Despite his efforts and time in the mission field, Dr. Youngberg Jr. faced temptations and challenges in his personal life. He eventually moved to San Jose, California,20 and divorced Clara in the fall of 1975.21 Seven years later, in 1982, he was charged in a child molestation case, which resulted in a prison term22 and a disciplinary action from the California Medical Board.23 His credentials were revoked on February 6, 1984.24 There is no known written record of his work after his release. He lived in Sun Valley, California, and was laid to rest on February 7, 2013, in Sunland, Los Angeles, California, at the age of 79.25

Sources

Altman, Roger. “A Faithful Worker in the Far East.” ARH, March 1945.

Beach, W. R. “From the Base to Front Line: North American Division.” ARH, September 11, 1969.

Beaven, W. H. “Heroes of the Golden Cords.” Northern Union Outlook, January 3, 1947.

“Ex-Pomonan Clara Peters is Bride in Bakersfield.” The Progress-Bulletin, Pomona California, November 6, 1956.

Hitchcock, Peggy. “On the Social Side: Saratogan’s book ‘on sale’ tomorrow.” Los Gatos

Time-Saratoga Observer, October 8, 1957.

Innocent, G. G. “Youngberg Memorial Hospital.” Far Eastern Outlook 38, no. 6, June 1952.

Kent, Winston J. “South-East Asia Journey part 4.” Australian Record, July 26, 1971.

Minutes of Meeting General Conference Committee, February 15-22, 1962.

“New Notes.” Messenger 19, no. 5, August-September 1969.

“Norma R. Youngberg Scholarship.” Walla Walla College: Alumni & Friends Scholarships, College Place: Office of College Advancement, 2001.

Peters, Andrew. “Medical Missionary Work in Singapore.” ARH, June 20, 1963.

Williams, DeWitt. “Oakwood Hosts Minority Writers’ Seminar.” The North American Informant 38, no. 6, November-December 1974.

Youngberg, Gustavus B. and Jon Dybdahl. “Medical Team Visits Meo Tribespeople.” ARH, January 1971.

Youngberg, Gustavus B., Sr. Service Record, Southern Asia-Pacific Division Archives.

Youngberg, Norma R. and Gerald H. Minchin. Under the Sealed Orders: The Story of Gus Youngberg, Mountain View, CA: Pacific Press Publishing Association, 1970.

Notes

  1. Gustavus B. Youngberg Sr., Service Records, Southern Asia-Pacific Division Archives.

  2. Norma R. Youngberg & Gerald H. Minchin, Under the Sealed Orders: The Story of Gus Youngberg, (Mountain View, CA: Pacific Press Publishing Association, 1970), 132.

  3. W. H. Beaven, “Heroes of the Golden Cords,” Northern Union Outlook 10, no. 34, January 38, 1947, 1; Roger Altman, “A Faithful Worker in the Far East,” ARH, March 1945, 12-13; Winston J. Kent, “South-East Asia Journey part 4,” Australian Record, July 26, 1971, 10.

  4. Dewitt Williams, “Oakwood Hosts Minority Writers’ Seminar,” The North American Informant 38, no. 6, November-December 1974, 1-2. Some of her books include Jungle Thorn, The Queen’s Gold, Naila Y El Cocodrilo Blanco, Under the Bloom Banner, The Tiger of Bitter Valley, Singer on the Sand, Flee Middle Gardens, Creative Technics for Christian Writers, Fire on the Mountain, Nyla and the White Crocodile, Soo-pia and the Singing Bird, Miracle in Borneo, “Norma R. Youngberg Scholarship” in Walla Walla College: Alumni & Friends Scholarships, (College Place: Office of College Advancement, 2001), 77.

  5. Robert Youngberg was a church pastor for many years. He became the superintendent of the North Borneo Mission after the death of his father in the internment camp at Kuching, Sarawak, during the war. See Far Easter Division Outlook 1948. For more about Robert Youngberg, see Con Garretson, “SDA Church Worker remembers days in Borneo,” Paradise post, November 2, 1995, 4, at newspapers.com.

  6. James was called by his mother as “revival baby.” Youngberg and Minchin, Under Sealed Order, 91. For more about James Rowland Youngberg, see his Obituary at grocefuneralhome.com.

  7. Peggy Hitchcock, “On the Social Side: Saratogan’s book ‘on sale’ tomorrow,” Los Gatos Time-Saratoga Observer, October 8, 1957, 3.

  8. Clara was a graduate of Emerson Junior High School and Bakersfield High School. She took her pre-nursing course at La Sierra College, Arlington. Ex-Pomonan Clara Peters is Bride in Bakersfield,” in The Progress-Bulletin, Pomona California, November 6, 1956, 6, accessed June 2022 https://www.newspapers.com/image/624000900/?terms=%22Clara%20Lynnette%20Peters%22

  9. Gustavus B. Youngberg Jr., Service Records, Southern Asia Pacific Division Archives.

  10. Ex-Pomonan Clara Peters is Bride in Bakersfield,” November 6, 1956, 6.

  11. Ibid., 6.

  12. “Fellowship Grant Go to 16 Pupils” Daily News-Post, June 30, 1962, 7, accessed June 2022 https://www.newspapers.com/image/606147459/?terms=Gustavus%20Youngberg&match=1,

  13. Gustavus B. Youngberg Jr., Service Records.

  14. Index 2, General Conference Minutes, February 1962.

  15. “Appointment to Far Eastern Division,” Minutes of Meeting General Conference Committee, February 15-22, 1962, 1163.

  16. General Conference Minutes, July 18, 1968.

  17. W. R. Beach, “From the Base to Front Line: North American Division,” ARH, September 11, 1969, 24; “New Notes,” in Messenger, August-September 1969, 7.

  18. G. G. Innocent, “Youngberg Memorial Hospital,” Far Eastern Outlook 38:6, June 1952, 2; Andrew Peters, “Medical Missionary Work in Singapore,” ARH, June 20, 1963, 3; “New Notes,” Messenger, August-September 1969, 7; J. Winston Kent, “South-East Asia Journey-Part 4,” in Australasian Record, July 1971, 10.

  19. Gustavus B. Youngberg & Jon Dybdahl, “Medical Team Visits Meo Tribespeople,” ARH, January 1971, 18.

  20. Allyn Stone, Molestation Case Against Bay Doctor, July 31, 1986.

  21. “Vital Records: Dissolution Granted,” The San Bernardino County Sun, September 13, 1975, 36, accessed June 2022 https://www.newspapers.com/search/?query=Gustavus%20Youngberg.

  22. “Child Molestation Charges.” Oakland Tribune, August 2, 1962, 11, accessed June 2022.https://www.newspapers.com/image/736652998/?terms=Benson%20Youngberg&match=1; “Obstetrician Investigated,” Daily Breeze, August 1, 1982, 26, accessed June 2022. https://www.newspapers.com/image/606817579/?terms=Benson%20Youngberg&match=1; “Doctor Charged in Sex Case” Oakland Tribune, August 1, 1982, 37, accessed June 2022 https://www.newspapers.com/image/736651795/?terms=Gustavus%20Youngberg&match=1.

  23. “List of Physicians Disciplined by the CA Medical Board or Osteopathic Medical Board,” accessed June 2022 https://eziz.org/assets/docs/shotsforschool/2021MBC_OMBCDisciplinedDoctors.pdf.

  24. “Disciplinary Actions January 1, 1984 – March 31, 1984 Physicians and Surgeons,” Actions Report Board of Medical Quality Assurance 26, September 1984, 4, accessed June 2022 https://www.mbc.ca.gov/Download/Newsletters/action-report-1984-09.pdf.

  25. See https://ancestors.familysearch.org/en/L2Q5-JJK/dr-gustavus-benson-youngberg-1933-2013, accessed June 2022.

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Zandritiana, Lovanomena. "Youngberg, Gustavus Benson Jr. (1933–2013)." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. July 15, 2022. Accessed May 24, 2024. https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=6D3M.

Zandritiana, Lovanomena. "Youngberg, Gustavus Benson Jr. (1933–2013)." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. July 15, 2022. Date of access May 24, 2024, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=6D3M.

Zandritiana, Lovanomena (2022, July 15). Youngberg, Gustavus Benson Jr. (1933–2013). Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. Retrieved May 24, 2024, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=6D3M.