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Obituary: Thelma Peterson Young '45

Thelma Peterson Young of Newtown, PA, formerly of Bethany, W. Va., Jacksonville, Fla., and Gainesville, Fla., died Thursday, Jan. 19, 2012, at St. Mary Medical Center in Langhorne. She was 89.

She was born on Nov. 30, 1922 in Bridgeport, Ohio, the third child of the late Howard Warner Peterson and Lillian Moore Peterson. From 1954 to 1975, she was married to the late Dr. William L. Young, a professor at Bethany College in Bethany, W. Va. Thelma attended Oberlin College, Antioch College, The University of Chicago and The Ohio State University, where she received her Bachelor of Science degree. She received her masters degree in psychiatric social work from Case Western Reserve University.

She worked as a psychiatric social worker until 2003, counseling adults, families and children in a wide range of settings, including clinics, private offices, hospitals and in-home healthcare in Ohio, West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Florida. She also worked with many charitable and non-profit organizations, including Catholic Charities and the United Church of Gainesville, Fla., where she is fondly remembered for her lifelong commitment to issues of social justice and caring for the least fortunate.

She was the recipient of numerous awards and commendations during her long and distinguished career. Thelma was a talented pianist, an avid reader; loved music, film and the performing arts, and always kept up with current events and politics. She loved to travel and had toured Ireland several times - on her own and with friends - after her retirement. She was involved with community and club activities at and around Friends Village, in Newtown, where she had lived for several years after moving to Pennsylvania from Gainesville.

She is survived by her son, Brian Young; several nieces and nephews; her daughter-in-law, Magali Santos, and three step-grandsons, Alex, Andy and Paul Maldonado. A memorial service will be held at Friends Village in Newtown at 3 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 28. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to 'Friends Home and Village Parry Assistance Fund,' c/o Friends Home, 50 S. Congress Street, Newtown PA