JACQUELINE EURN HAI YOUNG, Ph.D. (“Jackie"), passed away peacefully on Sunday February 10, 2019 at St. Francis Hospice, after a sudden and severely debilitating stroke. She was 84 years old.
Jackie Young was a feminist, civil rights advocate, mother, grandmother, and third generation Korean American of Hawai’i. She was an advocate and volunteer for projects and issues that inspire social change and healthy communities. At the time of her death she was Chair of the Hawai’i Judicial Selection Commission, and a member of the Board of Directors of ACLU Hawai’i.
While raising her children and traveling the world with her first husband (whom she met at the University of Hawai’i and married in 1954), she completed her education and embarked on a career as a speech pathologist, working with disabled children to help them with a better quality of life through the gift of communication. After returning to Hawai’i in 1977, she joined the Hawai’i Department of Education in the special education department. In 1985, she moved into gender equity issues and took a Sex Equity position at the Superintendent’s office; her work involved implementation of Title IX (a federal civil rights law) and achieving equality in education for girls in the public schools.
She was elected Chair of the Hawai’i Women’s Political Caucus, then became First Vice President of the National Women’s Political Caucus. In 1990, she won a seat in the Hawai’i House of Representatives, representing a Windward area district. In her second term, she was elected Vice-speaker, the first woman to hold that position.
Among her accomplishments while serving in the legislature, was the founding of a domestic violence shelter, Hale Ola. She was instrumental in protecting Mt. Olomana from development, and is known for taking an early stand against a discriminatory ban on same sex marriage. She also worked toward legislative reform, public transparency and non-discrimination policies. She championed issues related to Native Hawai’ians, the environment and crimes against women.
Hawai’i historian Tom Coffman said about her: “Jackie Young is what the public no longer believes to exist – an adept politician and a pillar of unwavering conviction.”
In 1994, she was appointed as the state’s affirmative action officer. While undergoing breast cancer treatment and speaking publicly about her experience in 1998, she managed the nation’s first marriage equality campaign, Protect Our Constitution, in partnership with the Human Rights Campaign. She later served as the UH sex equity coordinator. Young became an executive with the American Cancer Society Hawai‘i Pacific in 1999 and retired in 2013 as its chief staff officer.
She also served twice on the federal Defense Advisory Commission on Women in the Services (DACOWITZ), the equivalent rank of a military general; taught for decades at Hawai’i Pacific University; and was producer and host of the Olelo TV show “Sound Off.”
Jackie received numerous awards from many organizations, such as the National Education Association, ACLU, and Hawaii Women Lawyers. The Korea Foundation presented her with the Light of the Orient Award. She received the President’s Award from the Union Institute and the Fellow of the Pacific Award from Hawaii Pacific University. The YWCA honored her as an outstanding woman leader in Hawaii. In 2014, Punahou School’s Alumni Association presented her with the Judd Award for Humanitarian Service. In 2016 she was named a Distinguished Alumni by the University of Hawaii.
She was a graduate of Punahou School (1952), University of Hawai’i (1969 - B.S.), Old Dominion University (1972 - M.S.), and Union Institute and University (1989 - Ph.D.) .
She is survived by a loving circle of family and friends. Her family — her four children Paula Daniels, Harry Daniels, Nani Daniels, Laura Daniels, her grandchildren Claire Daniels, Will Daniels, Noelani Obermeyer, her niece Tara Young, nephew Kevin Young, grand-nephew Elliott Mannis-Young, in-laws Bob Dolan, Rebecca Dunning, Jim Obermeyer, Avi Mannis — are grateful for her constant, loving and inspirational presence in their lives, and will always remember her as an embodiment of the Aloha Spirit.
A memorial service will be held on March 31, 2019.
DATE: Sunday, March 31, 2019
TIME: 1:00 p.m. visitation; service at 2:00 p.m.
PLACE: Kawaiaha'o Church
957 Punchbowl St.
Honolulu, HI 96813
To continue her legacy, the family has established an endowment in her name, at the University of Hawai’i. Gifts may be made payable to “UH Foundation” with a note or cover letter indicating “Jackie Young Endowment” and mailed to UH Foundation, P.O. Box 11270, Honolulu, HI 96828-0270. Donations may also be made online at this link: www.uhfoundation.org/JackieYoungScholarship
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