Florence Young of Lindenhurst died Feb. 9.

Florence Young of Lindenhurst died Feb. 9. Credit: Young Family

Florence, Flo, or Flossie. However you met her, if you got to know Florence Young, you would know her for the rest of your life, her family said. The Lindenhurst resident was known to many as a great friend with a heart of gold and a personality that was larger than life. She died of a heart attack on Feb. 9 at the age of 75.

Born in Manhattan on April 25, 1947, Young attended Catholic elementary schools and then went to cosmetology school in the 1960s to become a hairdresser in lieu of going to high school. She worked at various jobs (a nail technician and a reflexologist, among others), before becoming an elevator operator at a Lord & Taylor store in the '80s.

"She wasn't just any elevator operator; it was the golden age of gilded cages, cranks, and personal attention, where customers were clients and accustomed to a certain level of attention. This is where Florence shined best: being around people, sharing a laugh or a hug, proud in her uniform, wearing a big smile," said her niece Michelle Asarisi Walsh of Astoria.

"She had the vivacious personality, the multitude of friends, the stories that people wanted to hear, and the fearlessness to go for whatever she wanted to," said her sister, Mary Ellen Orchard of Wantagh.

Florence Young working as a crossing guard at one of her posts...

Florence Young working as a crossing guard at one of her posts in Suffolk County. Credit: Florence Young Family

Young enjoyed taking acting classes in Manhattan and was a natural. According to Orchard, Young "could regale anyone with a story and keep them mesmerized."

"Florence could work a room unlike anyone. She could defuse any situation with her warm laugh and she never shied away from saying how much she loved you," said Orchard.

In the late 1970s, Young married John Young, and took on a new role as stepmother to his sons, John and Michael, whom she loved as her own. Her greatest joy came in 1981, when her daughter, Doreen, was born.

Young loved to fish and upon her husband's retirement, they moved to Florida and purchased a boat. After missing their family back in New York, they decided to return.

Her husband died in 2013, but five years ago Young found love and companionship with a new man, Walsh said.

"Florence believed that there is no age limit to finding love, friendship and adventure," said Walsh.

And sometimes, adventure came in the form of staying close to home. When Young became a Suffolk County crossing guard in West Babylon, it was no surprise that she was quickly beloved. She was especially proud of an award given to her by the John F. Kennedy Elementary School PTA for her contribution to the welfare of the children of West Babylon. According to Orchard, the children Young crossed every school day became her second family.

"Even after having open heart surgery, her first question was, 'When can I go back to the kids?' As sick as she became, getting back to those children was her reason to get up in the morning," Orchard said of Young, who was a crossing guard for 14 years.

"It gave her so much joy to be out there," added Walsh, who recalled a story of Young's kindness, when she observed two brothers on their way to school during a cold week of winter. "Florence noticed the two boys every day, that they were not dressed warmly enough. In her own unobtrusive way, Florence managed to give these boys proper coats and clothes without making either of them uncomfortable."

Services for Young took place in Lindenhurst. She was laid to rest on Feb. 25 and was sent off with an honor guard and final salute from Suffolk County crossing guards.

Young's daughter, Doreen, died in 2019.

Young's survivors include her sister, Mary Ellen Orchard; brother-in-law, Anthony Orchard; three grandchildren, Lilly, Lena and Frankie; nieces, Michelle Asarisi Walsh and Katie Orchard; nephews, Joseph Asarisi and Peter Asarisi; and son-in-law, Frank Fontana.

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