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Opal Hoover Young, 1966.

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Young, Opal Armitage Hoover (1900–1993)

By Milton Hook

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Milton Hook, Ed.D. (Andrews University, Berrien Springs, Michigan, the United States). Hook retired in 1997 as a minister in the Greater Sydney Conference, Australia. An Australian by birth Hook has served the Church as a teacher at the elementary, academy and college levels, a missionary in Papua New Guinea, and as a local church pastor. In retirement he is a conjoint senior lecturer at Avondale College of Higher Education. He has authored Flames Over Battle Creek, Avondale: Experiment on the Dora, Desmond Ford: Reformist Theologian, Gospel Revivalist, the Seventh-day Adventist Heritage Series, and many magazine articles. He is married to Noeleen and has two sons and three grandchildren.

First Published: January 15, 2022

Opal Hoover Young was an English professor, author, editor of the Andrews University magazine Focus, and the first woman in the Michigan Conference to be ordained an elder.

Early Life and Education

Opal Armitage Hoover was born in Sadorus, Illinois, on December 11, 1900, to Clement and Grace Craw Hoover.1 Her only sibling was Adah Cristella (1902-1977).2 Her father was not a member of the Seventh-day Adventist Church but her mother had attended Battle Creek College prior to her marriage and about 1904 she united with the church, raising her two daughters in the faith.3

When Opal was twenty years of age she enrolled at Emmanuel Missionary College (now Andrews University).4 It was the beginning of a long association with the institution.

Opal’s studies equipped her for stenographic and editorial work. Before she completed her degree, Hinsdale Sanitarium in the western suburbs of Chicago employed her to use these skills in assisting with production of the periodical, the Life Boat.5 In 1925 she returned to Emmanuel Missionary College (EMC) for further studies. During the ensuing year she was appointed by the Students’ Association as one of three student representatives on a committee for raising funds to complete a campus chapel.6 She graduated in the class of 1926 with a bachelor of arts.7

A Teaching and Editorial Career

After her graduation Opal returned to Illinois. In 1929 she assisted with the first Junior Missionary Volunteer camp held in the state.8 In 1931 she accepted a teaching appointment at Shenandoah Valley Academy, New Market, Virginia. It would be a major milestone in her life. She taught English literature and Spanish at the academy until 1934.

Also, at some time during these years she became acquainted with Donald Young, who was managing a “radio store” in West Virginia.9 They would later marry but in the meantime Opal earned a master of arts in English at the University of Illinois in 1935.10 In the same year she returned to EMC once again, this time as acting librarian.11 She also acted as faculty adviser for the student newspaper, Student Movement.12 Her library role was only temporary until the next year when she began as a lecturer in English language and literature.

After teaching for three years, Opal married Donald Young on June 7, 1939, in Hinsdale, Illinois, and moved with him to Chester, West Virginia, where Donald was employed as a clerk at the Water Works Company.13 Opal continued to contribute many articles for the denominational periodicals. For example, her piece titled “Church and Chewing Gum” was one of a number about church etiquette.14

Eventually the lure of Opal’s homeland in the Midwest brought her back to the region of her alma mater. She and Donald settled in Niles, Michigan, where they worshipped with the local Westside Church near Andrews University (AU). Opal busied herself as a musician and choir director and was the first woman ordained as an elder in the Michigan Conference. She also directed several amateur plays. In 1966 she was persuaded to serve as managing director of Focus, the magazine published by the Andrews University Alumni Association. In 1971 she relinquished the managerial role to concentrate solely on editing the periodical, a position she held with distinction until 1977.15

Final Years

Opal had served well beyond the normal retirement age but she enjoyed good health and had kept herself occupied. Donald passed away on April 3, 1980, at the age of seventy-nine and was laid to rest in the Rose Hill Cemetery, Berrien Springs, Michigan.16 In her feeble years Opal entered Silverbrook Manor in Niles where she was cared for until she passed away on July 11, 1993, at the age of ninety-two.17 She rests alongside Donald in Rose Hill Cemetery.18

Sources

“Campus Activities.” Lake Union Herald, October 22, 1935.

“College Enrollment by Conference.” Lake Union Herald, November 16, 1921.

“Grace Craw Hoover.” Lake Union Herald, April 27, 1948.

“Donald John Young.” Find A Grave Memorial no. 67393358. Accessed January 7, 2021, https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/67393358/donald-john-young.

“Donald John Young.” Lake Union Herald, August 12, 1980.

“Emmanuel Missionary College.” Lake Union Herald, December 9, 1925.

“Hinsdale Sanitarium.” Lake Union Herald, June 11, 1924.

“J. Donald Young.” FamilySearch.org. Accessed January 7, 2021, https://www.familysearch.org/tree/person/sources/L6LC-ZGZ.

“News Notes From Our First J.M.V. Camp.” Lake Union Herald, August 21, 1929.

“Opal Armitage Hoover.” FamilySearch.org. Accessed January 7, 2021, https://www.familysearch.org/tree/person/sources/L6LC-84N.

“Opal Armitage Hoover Young obituary.” Focus, Fall 1993.

“Opal Hoover Young.” Find A Grave Memorial no. 42268937. Accessed January 4, 2021, https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/42268937/opal-hoover-young.

Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook. Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald, 1932-1938.

Young, Opal Hoover. “Church and Chewing Gum.” ARH, August 27, 1942.

Notes

  1. “Opal Armitage Hoover Young obituary,” Focus, Fall 1993, 32; “Grace Craw Hoover obituary,” Lake Union Herald, April 27, 1948, 7.

  2. “Adah Hoover Snyder obituary,” Lake Union Herald, January 10, 1978, 15.

  3. “Grace Craw Hoover obituary.”

  4. “College Enrollment by Conference,” Lake Union Herald, November 16, 1921, 14-15.

  5. “Hinsdale Sanitarium,” Lake Union Herald, June 11, 1924, 12.

  6. “Emmanuel Missionary College,” Lake Union Herald, December 9, 1925, 16.

  7. “Opal Armitage Hoover Young obituary.”

  8. “News Notes From Our First J.M.V. Camp,” Lake Union Herald, August 21, 1929, 9.

  9. “J. Donald Young,” FamilySearch.org, accessed January 7, 2021, https://www.familysearch.org/tree/person/sources/L6LC-ZGZ. Young’s occupation is identified in the 1930 U.S. Census as manager of a “radio store” in Chester, West Virginia.

  10. “Opal Armitage Hoover Young obituary.”

  11. “Emmanuel Missionary College,” Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald, 1936), 248-249.

  12. “Campus Activities,” Lake Union Herald, October 22, 1935, 1-2.

  13. “Opal Armitage Hoover Young obituary”; “Opal Armitage Hoover,” FamilySearch.org, accessed January 7, 2021, https://www.familysearch.org.tree/person/sources/L6LC-84N.

  14. Opal Hoover Young, “Church and Chewing Gum, ARH, August 27, 1942, 17-18.

  15. “Opal Hoover Young obituary.”

  16. “Donald John Young,” Find A Grave Memorial no. 67393358, accessed January 4, 2021, https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/67393358/donald-john-young.

  17. “Opal Hoover Young obituary.”

  18. “Opal Hoover Young,” Find A Grave Memorial no. 42268937, accessed January 4, 2021, https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/42268937/opal-hoover-young.

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Hook, Milton. "Young, Opal Armitage Hoover (1900–1993)." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. January 15, 2022. Accessed August 03, 2022. https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=9J9U.

Hook, Milton. "Young, Opal Armitage Hoover (1900–1993)." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. January 15, 2022. Date of access August 03, 2022, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=9J9U.

Hook, Milton (2022, January 15). Young, Opal Armitage Hoover (1900–1993). Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. Retrieved August 03, 2022, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=9J9U.