Al Young: The Final Words

Dressed in his rose-laden ambassador jacket, Al Young was laid to rest today. And we can all only hope to have such nice things said about us when we pass. The longtime Four Roses brand ambassador is loved.

Through speeches and conversation at his funeral, I learned a lot about Al, such as the fact he bought his pastor bourbon, one of his best friends was a Southern Baptist University professor and didn’t drink bourbon, and he volunteered at all of his children’s functions. Al lived an amazing life, but I took away something else. I saw many older photos of the 77-year-old and came to the conclusion: Al had one of the best heads of hair I’d ever seen. And he had an incredible full beard back in the day. I meant to ask a family member why he shaved it off!

We laughed more than cried in memory of Al, just the way he would have wanted it.

Here are a few comments from the eulogies at Al’s funeral.

“He coached my T-Ball team and always helped with my homework.” — Mark Young, his son. “One time we went fishing and caught an eel. My sister and I thought we were going to get electrocuted.”

“When I first went to Al’s office, it was filled with reams of paper and boxes. The company did supply him a computer, but he was old school.” — Brent Elliott, master distiller of Four Roses.

“Our friendship may appear odd. He makes and markets bourbon. I’m a Southern Baptist teacher. I believe Al can find common ground with anybody.” — Lindsey Apple, Al’s friend of 30 years. Apple also noted that his eulogy was in present tense. “He is my friend.”

“When I make the trip, I know Al will be waiting on me with a glass of Four Roses.”

– Mike Veach, friend and fellow historian.

“Al glistened as a brand ambassador. It was his true calling.” — Dave Scheurich, who worked with Al at Seagram. Al started in 1967, Dave 1969. “He mentored everybody, even then.”

“Al was an ambassador for Jesus Christ.” –– Pastor Steve Drury, who visited Al a couple days before his death and later received more bourbon. “He had it dropped off 20 minutes before my sermon and Al’s message, ‘Don’t open this in church.'”

“Dad was a history junky. When we traveled, we visited every Musuem. He opened the world to us.” — Mark Young, his son, who said one of their last trips was to Hawaii during the ballistic missile alert.

“Gretchen was Al’s teammate. And they were a great team. He loved his family.” — Dave Scheurich

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