Scott Young (April 14, 1918 – June 12, 2005) was a Canadian journalist, sportswriter and novelist and the father of musician Neil Young. Over his career, Young wrote 45 books, including novels and non-fiction for adult and youth audiences.
Born in Cypress River, Manitoba, Young grew up in nearby Glenboro where his father, Percy Young, owned a drug store. His mother, Jean Ferguson Paterson, had been a schoolteacher before her marriage. After his father went broke in 1926, the family moved to Winnipeg but were unable to afford to stay there. His parents separated in 1930 and Young went to live with an aunt and uncle in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan for a year before moving back to Winnipeg to live with his mother. He left high school at 16 and began working for a tobacco wholesaler.
Young began writing while in his teens, submitting stories to various publications, most of which were rejected. At the age of 18, in 1936, he was hired as a copyboy at the Winnipeg Free Press and was soon made sports reporter. He met Edna “Rassy” Ragland in 1937, and the two were married in 1940.
Moves to Toronto
Unable to get a raise at the Free Press, Young moved to Toronto in 1941, covering news and sports for the Scott YoungCanadian Press news agency. His first son, Bob Young, was born in 1942 and five months later, Young was sent to England to help cover World War II for CP. He came back a year later and joined the Royal Canadian Navy, where he served until his release from the service when the war ended in 1945. Young returned to CP and soon joined Maclean’s magazine as an assistant editor. His second son, Neil Young, was born in Toronto in November 1945.
Young began to sell fiction to publications in Canada and the United States, including the Saturday Evening Post and Collier’s. He quit his job at Maclean’s in 1948 to write short stories full-time.
In 1949, Young bought a house in Omemee, Ontario, near Peterborough. The family’s finances would vary with Young’s success in selling his stories and he began taking assignments from Sports Illustrated. His first novel, The Flood, was published in 1956. Young moved to Pickering, Ontario and spent a year working in public relations for a jet engine company before joining The Globe and Mail as a daily columnist in 1957 and moving back to Toronto. In 1959, Young met Astrid Read while on assignment in British Columbia and, soon after, he and his wife separated. Following Young’s divorce in 1961, he and Read were married. They had a daughter, Astrid Young, in 1962.
He was also a host on Hockey Night in Canada until getting on the wrong side of Toronto Maple Leafs co-owner John Bassett. The Leafs threatened HNIC’s sponsor and advertising agency until they agreed to fire Young.
Life on the Farm
In 1967, Young bought a 100-acre farm near Omemee in Cavan Township and built a house there. In 1969, he asked to be transferred to the Globe’s news bureau in Ottawa. Shortly after arriving in Ottawa, he got into a dispute with his paper over the publication rights to excerpts from a book he had just written with Punch Imlach. The rights had been acquired by the Toronto Telegram, but the Globe wouldn’t allow Young’s writing to appear in a competing newspaper. He quit the Globe and accepted a job offer from Bassett to become sports editor and columnist at the Telegram, moving back to Toronto within weeks of his move to Ottawa. Young remained at the Telegram until the paper folded in 1971. He then re-joined the Globe and Mail. Young and his second wife separated in 1976 and in the fall of 1977 he moved in with fellow Globe writer Margaret Hogan. The two married in 1980. At the same time, Young had a falling out with the Globe over stories critical of Imlach written by Donald Ramsay and quit. He worked with former Toronto Maple Leafs owner Conn Smythe on Smythe’s autobiography, which would be published after Smythe’s death in November 1980.
In 1988, Young received the Elmer Ferguson Memorial Award from the Hockey Hall of Fame, as selected byScott Young the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association. Young and his wife sold the farm in the late 1980s and moved to Ireland. In 1990, Young received an honorary doctorate from Trent University and donated many of his papers to the university’s archives. The Youngs returned to Peterborough in 1992 and repurchased their old farm, which Young owned for the rest of his life. Scott Young Public School in Omemee was named in his honour in 1993. His autobiography, A Writer’s Life, was published in 1994.
He and Margaret moved to Kingston, Ontario in 2004, where Young died the following year at the age of 87.
Read the article at globeandmail.com