One of the first female church elders in Aberdeen and longstanding guidance teacher of Torry Academy, Evelyn Crighton Young, has died aged 98.
The former Sunday School teacher lived, worked and worshipped in Aberdeen all of her life.
Faith-filled start in life
Evelyn Crighton Young, born on March 4 1925 in Victoria Road, Torry, to engineer David Young and his wife Evelyn. The couple baptised their only child in the Free Church.
Evelyn attended Walker Road Primary School then Central School in Belmont Street.
By this point, part of West Church of St Andrew, known as Langstane Kirk, she was involved with Sunday School then the youth fellowship.
Academically accomplished, university soon followed. She graduated with a Master of Arts from Aberdeen in 1945.
Set on teaching, Evelyn qualified in maths and science, beginning her career in primary schools before joining the staff at Old Aberdeen Junior Secondary.
Beginning working life at a time when rationing was still under way Evelyn found herself teaching in a desperately cold classroom. In need of mats underfoot to stave off the chill, she came up with the resourceful idea to save up her clothes ration vouchers to buy an industrial, heavyweight lab coat.
In 1950 Evelyn moved with her parents to Broomhill Road, where she continued to live after their deaths.
Her next teaching post was at Ruthrieston Junior Secondary. Her teaching vocation flourished in – and out – of school.
She began teaching at Sunday School, eventually becoming president of Aberdeen Sunday School Union, and of the Woman’s Guild. Though she “did not shout about her faith” strong convictions underpinned her life.
In 1970 she was among the first women ordained as elders by the Church of Scotland, and for 10 years Evelyn was part of the team that led worship and witness in the absence of a minister.
That same year she was appointed principal teacher of guidance at Torry Academy where she remained until retirement in 1985.
During her time there she ran a hillwalking club and oversaw the transportation of pupils by bus to Belmont Street School for classes. She fondly recalled memories of taking register as the vehicle bumped over the cobbles of Market Street.
Life after work
Music was an important feature of Evelyn’s life. She took up the violin at primary school and sang in the choir at West Saint Andrew, as well as with the Saint Nicholas Singers.
On the closure of the Langstane Kirk, Evelyn joined the Methodist Church on Crown Terrace. There she played an active part in church life and formed many close friendships.
In her retirement, she studied theology at Aberdeen University, and featured regularly on Dial Good News – NorthSound’s religious broadcast.
Close friend Daphne Cowking paid tribute to her friend.
“I met Evelyn when she joined Crown Terrace Methodist Church. She was an incredibly thoughtful person who had a rare quality of never seeming to be worried about anything. She had a calmness that commanded respect as a teacher, but that made her a wonderful friend.
“Evelyn always made us marvel. She was incredibly good on the computer, even contributing to church activities by Zoom into her 90s. Her wider family remained very important to her, and she was still in touch with some former pupils.”
With declining mobility, Evelyn moved into Rubislaw Park Care Home in February 2019 on condition that she could attend church each Sunday and could access good wifi.
Following a short illness she passed away aged 98. A celebration of her life took place on November 28 at Aberdeen Crematorium.
Her eulogy concluded that she will be remembered as “faithful, compassionate and organised.”