Carl Ray Young, who rose from abject poverty to become a standout scholar and athlete at Tulsa Central High School and Oklahoma University, died July 24, 2019 at age 83 from a combination of critical illnesses at his family's home in Farmers Branch, Texas.
After graduating from OU with Bachelor's and Master's of Science degrees in Petroleum Engineering, he began a long and rewarding career with Atlantic Richfield Company in Dallas. After British Petroleum acquired Atlantic Richfield, he served BP and other oil and gas companies as a consultant until retiring in 2006. By the time Carl entered high school, he was living alone in a garage apartment and supporting himself delivering newspapers. His meager income was supplemented by occasional, small cash gifts from relatives.
Carl was a high achiever in school as he made his way through Pershing Elementary, Roosevelt Junior High, and Central High. While a fifth grader at Pershing, he won the school's annual spelling bee, an early signal that his academic skills would not be limited to math and science. His teachers and coaches at all three schools singled him out for praise.
At Central, he lettered in cross country, track, and wrestling and was chosen captain of the wrestling team. A hearty endorsement by Central's legendary athletic director, Bill Lantz, assured he would receive a full athletic scholarship at OU.
The bleak conditions that long pervaded Carl's life were permanently dispelled by his 1957 marriage to Margaret Bell, a Central High student introduced to him by his half-brother, Jimmy. She joined him as an OU student while both earned their degrees. In Farmers Branch, where they reared four children, she became Carl's full partner in leadership roles at Chapel Hill United Methodist Church and a long list of scholastic and civic activities.
In retirement, they continued their roles as civic and church leaders, and also became world travelers to all seven continents and more than 70 countries, often accompanied by other members of their church.