ELKHART — An Elkhart native and uncle to San Francisco 49ers tight end Delanie Walker was killed early Monday morning leaving the Super Bowl in New Orleans.
Bryan Young and his wife, Alice, of Victorville, Calif., were stopped in their vehicle on the shoulder of Interstate 10 west of New Orleans around 5 a.m. Sunday, barely six hours after the game, when they were stuck from behind by Nechole Thomas of Houston.
Both vehicles caught fire. Thomas, 26, escaped with minor injuries and was arrested for reckless driving, drunken driving and two counts of vehicular homicide.
Bryan Young grew up in Elkhart and graduated from Central High School in 1977, said his younger brother, Clifford Young, who still resides in Elkhart.
After graduation, Bryan Young joined the U.S. Marine Corps.
“He went to the Marines and never came back to Indiana,” Clifford Young said. “He came back to visit, but he lived out in California. That was his home.”
Clifford Young said his brother worked for over 27 years as a prison guard and was an avid sports fan, supporting the Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Angels and Notre Dame.
“He was a sports fanatic,” Young said.
Bryan Young had been sending text messages and photos to his brother throughout Super Bowl Sunday from the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, many of them featuring Walker and 49er players.
Rory Young, the eldest of the three brothers, said Bryan and Alice enjoyed taking cruises and had visited the Bahamas, Jamaica and Hawaii in recent years.
“He was a great guy,” Rory Young said. “He would help people when he could and he was just a hell of a guy.”
Clifford and his wife Wanda described Bryan Young as calm, laid-back and friendly.
“I never heard him say a cross word to anybody,” Wanda Young said. “We all have our bumps in the road, but he would just take them as they come.”
“He was a real family man,” Clifford Young said. “A great brother, a great grandfather, a great person.”
Like her husband of over 10 years, Alice Young was calm and kind, Wanda Young said.
“She was a beautiful person and a beautiful spirit,” she said. “You couldn’t see two better people together.”
“Alice was a fun woman,” Rory Young said. “She was just a good woman.”
Bryan Young returned to Elkhart twice each year to visit his mother, Eula, along with other family and friends, usually in April and October, Wanda Young said.
In 2012, his October visit was pushed back to December and he celebrated his 54th birthday with his family.
“We had a glorious time,” Wanda Young said. “We had pizza and surprised him with a cake and ice cream and it was wonderful.”
Bryan Young had three sons and two daughters and Alice Young had two sons and one daughter.
Wanda Young said that the couple will be buried in California and a memorial service will be held in Elkhart at a date still to be determined.