Last Saturday, my family lost our matriarch. Mary Irene Younkin was 95 when she passed away. To be honest, I knew my great aunt more in stories than personal experiences; she was a busy woman to say the least.
Aunt Irene was a powerhouse when it came to business and philanthropy. Reading her obituary, I was surprised by just how much she had accomplished, some of which I knew, but there was a lot I did not. She was the chairman of Greenlawn Realty Company and co-founder of many manufactured home related businesses. She was also a founding member of a company that is now publicly traded on the NYSE.
Business aside, Aunt Irene was a very generous woman. She established the Floyd E. Younkin Branch of the Pickaway County District Public Library, was a founding contributor to the new Ohio 4-H Center, and helped fund the Younkin Success Center at The Ohio State University. Not a bad legacy to leave behind.
My family had plans to see Aunt Irene in Columbus over Thanksgiving, but my father became very sick, so we cancelled our visit. I made a mental note to send her a heartfelt letter when I returned to Colorado. Sadly, I did not write it soon enough. If I had, it would have gone something like this:
I’m sorry I missed seeing you over Thanksgiving. Dad was so sick he couldn’t speak! Still, I wanted to make sure you knew that I’d been thinking about you lately. As you may have heard, I started my own business about 2 ½ years ago, and it has been very rewarding…and also a great challenge! I think you’d like to know that whenever I’m meeting with new clients—usually small business owners—I tell them that my business “know how” comes not just from education and work experience, but also from my family. I come from a long line of business owners, I tell them—and that inevitably makes me think of you. Your fearlessness and tenacious work ethic has been relayed to me through many stories over the years. So, I just wanted to write to say, way to go! Thank you for being an excellent role model as a business owner and philanthropist. I would say as a woman too, but we already know that women can do everything that men can. We just look much better doing it :)
Take good care,