Alaska Representative Don Young, the longest-serving member of the United States House of Representatives, passed away on Friday. He was 88.
Young, a Republican, passed away on Friday while he was on a flight to Alaska. His wife, Anne, was reportedly by his side when he died.
The late congressman was an evangelical Christian who came to faith at Anchorage Baptist Temple, which Liberty University President Jerry Prevo pastored for 47 years.
"The Dean of the House is now a Dean in Heaven. Without doubt, he was met by the words every Christian longs to hear: 'Well done, good and faithful servant.' Virtually everyone in America at some point encountered Rep. Don Young over his 25 terms in the United States House of Representatives representing Alaska, but he represented so much more", Prevo said in a statement.
Prevo described Young as a "champion of Judeo-Christian values," an advocate "for commonsense policies which preserved American freedom" and as someone who kept "the spirit of a fiercely free Alaska into the heart of a free America."
"He showed the world what one can accomplish when they dedicate their entire lives to public service. More importantly, Rep. Young was a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ. I know because he told me he was," Prevo continued.
Prevo also officiated the memorial of Young's first wife, Lula, who passed away in 2009 after 46 years of marriage.
"Rep. Young was a special person, and as my friend Franklin Graham is fond of saying, Rep. Young 'will be missed, but he can never be replaced.' He was a dear friend, a brother-in-Christ, and an American Patriot. We pray for his wife Anne, and his entire family, and at Liberty University, we take the loss of this giant as another opportunity to pray for God to use our institution to raise up a thousand more like him," he concluded.
Evangelist Franklin Graham also mourned Young, writing on Facebook, "Our nation lost a great American today. I was saddened to learn that Rep. Don Young of Alaska has passed away at the age of 88. He was the longest-serving member of Congress, elected in 1973, and was also the longest-serving Republican lawmaker in congressional history. He gave his life working to make the lives of not only Alaskans better, but to make the lives of all Americans better."
He added, "Congressman Young came to faith in Jesus Christ years ago under the preaching of Dr. Jerry Prevo, who was pastor of Anchorage Baptist Temple. He was baptized by Dr. Prevo and became a member of the church. I have been with Congressman Young on many occasions. I am sure that his wife Anne and the family would be grateful for your prayers. He will be greatly missed, but will never be replaced."
Young was first sworn in as a freshman to the 93rd Congress on March 6, 1973, after winning a special election. According to the biography on Young's website, the late congressman served as Chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee twice from 1995 to 2001 and later as the Chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee from 2001 to 2007.
Young then served as the Chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee again in the 110th Congress. In the 112th Congress, Young was selected to serve as the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Indian, Insular and Alaska Native Affairs (IIANA), which he did until 2017. After fulfilling his duty as Chairman of the IIANA, Young was named Chairman Emeritus of the full House Committee on Natural Resources.
Before his death, Young also served on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and the House Natural Resources Committee as the most senior Republican. In 2020, he was elected to the 117th Congress to serve his 25th term as Alaska's only Representative to the U.S House of Representatives.
Photo courtesy: ©Public Domain/US Government
Milton Quintanilla is a freelance writer and content creator. He is a contributing writer for Christian Headlines and the host of the For Your Soul Podcast, a podcast devoted to sound doctrine and biblical truth. He holds a Masters of Divinity from Alliance Theological Seminary.