Family members and friends of Nicholas and Anna Mae Young are in disbelief and shock after hearing of their deaths Sunday.
The Hometown couple succumbed to carbon monoxide poisoning in their home over the weekend after reportedly leaving the vehicle running in the garage.
Both Nicholas "Nick", 87, and Anna Mae "Elvin", 86, married 64 years, were well-known throughout the Tamaqua community for their lifelong committments involving charity, education, sports, patriotism and community volunteerism.
Pastor Rev. James Cavellero, First United Methodist Church in Tamaqua, said, "What can't you say about them ... They were wonderful people. They both were always there for everybody.
"Anna Mae served with numerous church activities, to include serving on a number of church organizations, workshop teams, the choir, quilters guild, alter flowers coordinator and many others," Cavellero said.
"They always did everything together," said longtime friend Marilyn Felsoci. "Both were very outgoing and involved in the community, volunteering, charity and church."
Nicholas, a 1942 graduate of Tamaqua, attended college before being drafted into the United States Army and serving in World War II. Family members said he served in the Army during the Battle of the Bulge, where he was captured and held as a Prisoner of War by the German Army.
After his release, Nicholas attended college and began his career in education. During his 41-career career, Nicholas served as guidance counselor, civics teacher, driver's ed instructor and basketball coach for Tamaqua Area Junior and High Schools.
Nicholas also served as Felsoci's civics teacher.
"Nick was a caring teacher who took his job to heart," added Felsoci. "Everyone knows he was firm, but fair."
"Nick was a great counselor," said Ray Kinder, current assistant superintendent for the Tamaqua Area School District. "When I was a student, he always inquired about my future goals. He really cared a lot about each student.
"Over the years, I've come to see many sides of Nick - all involved him putting everone else first," Kinder added.
A WMGH/WLSH radio and sports personality, Nicholas was well-known for his radio announcing work for both high school football and basketball games.
Friends said his knowledge of the games was secondary to his keen wit and humorous personality.
"On the radio, you have to paint the picture with words, and Nick did the painting," said Pat Morgans, one of the broadcast partners who worked with Young over the years. "Nick had a lot of patience.
"It was Nick that got me into broadcasting," noted Morgans. "Actually, my first time on the radio with Nick was when he had a show on Saturday mornings where he interviewed coaches, and he interviewed me when I was baseball coach at Marian."
"We'll always remember Nick's voice," said Ann Marie Calabrese, WMGH radio. "Nick was a role model to everyone that knew him."
Howard Miller stated, "Nick was my role model," recalling taking his 8th grade civics class and hearing stories from Nicholas about his time as a POW.
Retiring in 1991, Nicholas chose to continue his ambitious life through charity and volunteerism.
As a community leader, Nick served on the boards of the Tamaqua Rotary Club, Tamaqua Chamber of Commerce and First United Methodist Church in Tamaqua. At the church, Nicholas served as a trustee, lay minister, Sunday school teacher, kitchen help, superintendent and as the chair of many church committees.
Both he and his wife also supported and volunteered for Tamaqua Meals on Wheels as drivers and board members for 35 years and were active volunteers of the American Red Cross Blood Mobile.
Nicholas actively volunteered at St. Luke's Miners Memorial Medical Center, was a member of the Tamaqua American Legion, longtime member of the Buehler Memorial Park Commission and served as president of the Schuylkill County Chapter of the Pennsylvania Association of School Retirees.
Nick was also proclaimed Tamaqua's 33rd Citizen of the Year in 1996. In past TIMES NEWS stories, Nicholas's way with words and humor was put to use when he was used as a master of ceremonies at a number of Tamaqua Area Chamber of Commerce annual dinners.
"If you said something, they listened," said longtime friend Doug Betz. "Everyone looked upto them."
Rev. Cavellero added, "The Youngs touched everyone in the community."