Condolences pour in for Union Pacific executive James R. Young

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Posted: Sunday, February 16, 2014 12:00 am

More tributes to the life of James R. Young and messages of condolence to his Omaha family arrived Sunday.

The top executive at Union Pacific Corp. until recently, Young died Saturday after a two-year battle with pancreatic cancer. He was 61.

Funeral services were pending through the Heafey-Heafey-Hoffmann West Center Chapel, 78th Street and West Center Road.

Young's survivors include his wife, Shirley, three adult children and two grandchildren.

The family asked that any contributions be made to pancreatic research in care of Dr. Jean Grem at the University of Nebraska Medical Center or to a charity of the donor's choice.

A sampling of the reaction

“Steph and I were saddened to hear of the passing of Jim Young. Jim was not only a tremendous leader at Union Pacific, but he was also a great leader in his community. His devotion to his work and his commitment to his hometown and state are remarkable and inspiring. He will truly be missed. Shirley and the entire Young family are in our thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.”

— Sen. Mike Johanns of Nebraska

“The passing of Jim Young is a tremendous loss not just for Union Pacific, which he ably led for so many years, but for the entire state of Nebraska. A lifelong Omahan, Jim's leadership extended beyond the boardroom and impacted his community for the better. Bruce and I send our condolences and prayers to Shirley and the Young family.”

— Sen. Deb Fischer of Nebraska

“Jim Young's accomplishments were quintessentially American. Beginning as an entry level finance employee at Union Pacific, he rose to become chairman of one of Omaha's and the world's leading companies. Jim's leadership transcended the boardroom and into the Omaha community he called home. His civic engagement extended to education, health care and his church. Omaha is a better place because of Jim's willingness to make a difference.”

— Rep. Lee Terry of Omaha

“We are deeply saddened by Jim Young's passing. Jim's commitment to Union Pacific's mission and values, his tireless energy and infectious enthusiasm helped make Union Pacific an industry leader and made a lasting impression on everyone he met.”

— Steve Rogel, Union Pacific lead director

“Jim Young was a good friend, a great American and an outstanding business leader. Sally and I extend our thoughts and prayers to Shirley and the Young family.”

— Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman

“(Jim Young) had a great story — growing up in South Omaha, attending UNO with the support of his wife, Shirley, and succeeding through hard work and determination. And he did it all with unmatched integrity.”

— J.B. Milliken, president of the University of Nebraska

“Jim's vision and leadership took Union Pacific to unparalleled heights, and his civic contributions made positive impacts on many communities across Nebraska and the entire Union Pacific system. Most importantly, he was a dedicated and loving husband, father and grandfather.”

— Jack Koraleski, Union Pacific president and CEO

“Jim Young forever changed my perception of what a leader, an executive and a figure of power should be. He was very approachable, personable and sincere. He and Shirley made every effort to let every Union Pacific employee they met feel important and valued. He led the company through the trials of the 'Great Recession' to reach record customer service, safety and profit ratings. I was blessed to have spent several hours with this great man. All Union Pacific employees will enjoy the fruits of his labor for decades to come.”

— Krystal Kaiser Lindell Barton, posting on Union Pacific's Facebook page

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