Barker Florence

From Helderberg Hilltowns of Albany County, NY

Grant and Florence Young


Grant and Florence Young were a couple that lived for love of family. They were married for 39 years, during that time, blessed with 3 children. But I'm ahead of myself with their story. Looking back: Grant was born on October 12, 1908 in Catskill, New York, the oldest of 3. By the time he reached a young age of 12 or 13, Grant's father [ an engineer for G.E. ] was diagnosed with a brain tumor that caused blindness. At this point his father was unfortunately forced to retire. Grant lived on Livingston Ave. in Albany with his parents, and needed to help support them financially. He had to find a job and find one quickly! But who would hire a teenager, one who had only completed 8th grade. He started taking in and doing neighbors laundry in a back room of his parents' home. This so called business grew, and so did the need to expand beyond the neighborhood. He needed transportation. So, at age 14, got his license to drive, by creatively adding 2 years to achieve the age requirement for the Department of Motor Vehicle. Grant was just as successful in educating himself. No time allowed for school attendance, but the thirst for knowledge was always present. He became a self-made man, both in brains and business! As the business grew, so did the need for space; more washers and dryers; and more help to meet the demand. In 1926 Grant brought and renovated property on Elk St. in Albany and opened " Young's Laundry ". A few years later Grant met the love of his life, Florence Barker. Florence was born on June 30, 1909, the youngest of 6. She graduated from Vincentian "VI" and Mildred Elley Business School. She pursued a career with the American Humane Society. Grant and Flo dated and were married on June 22, 1935. Eventually, they purchased a two family house in Albany, in which Grant's parents and his younger siblings also resided. At the onset of WW2, Grant's younger brother, Walt, went to war, leaving Grant home to run the laundry business and continue to be the sole support for his family. At that time, due to his financial responsibilities , Grant was not drafted. Upon his brother's return from the war; somewhat physically and emotionally injured, as well as jobless; Grant made him a full partner in the business. His brother continued to work at the laundry until his death years later. Now we are at 1947, upon which 7 camps for sale on the North End of Warner Lake, are purchased by Grant and Flo with 2 other relatives. You could often hear Grant exclaim, as he arrived at the lake from a twelve hour day at the laundry, " FROM HELL TO HEAVEN IN 30 MINUTES ." Grant and Flo spent every summer at the lake, there after, with family. They enjoyed so many wonderful times and created just as many wonderful memories. In the early 70's, Grant's illness forced him to close the business, which had grown to one of the largest and most successful, commercial and residential, laundries in Albany. In March 1975, Grant died suddenly. He was 66. Florence loved her summers at the lake with family and friends till 2005. She died in July 2006 at the ripe old age of 97. Grant and Florence's legacy lives on with their children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren, to this day, enjoying Warner Lake as they once did.

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