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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

The side of Bill Young rarely discussed

5

January

One evening around Christmas in 1986, Terry Young heard a noise outside his home in Redington Beach.

He opened the door to find his father, Rep. C.W. Bill Young. The congressman had come bearing gifts for Terry, his wife and their four young children.

Terry Young said he relished the opportunity to share such a moment with his father. The two had been out of touch for more than a year after Bill Young divorced his wife of 36 years — Terry's mother — and married his former secretary eight days later.

The son had called and left messages with his father, but they weren't returned. So he backed off.

That December night, Terry asked his father to come inside. The kids were giddy to see their grandfather, who had thrilled them on Christmases past by playing Santa Claus.

"I'm sorry, Terry, I just can't," Bill Young said.

The Republican congressman returned to his car, where his new wife, Beverly, was waiting.

According to Terry, Bill Young never tried to contact him or the grandchildren again.

After Bill Young died Oct. 18 at 82, he was given a funeral befitting a legend. Speakers — including House Speaker John Boehner and high-ranking military officials — praised his skills at crafting legislation and advocating for his constituents.

There was a second theme amid the accolades: Bill Young, family man.

A lengthy photo montage showed the congressman with the three sons (one adopted) and eight grandchildren who resulted from his marriage to Beverly.

But no one mentioned the three children, seven grandchildren and five great-grandchildren from his marriage to the former Marian Ford. Nor were any of those family members included in the photo presentation.

Then an unscripted moment changed the tenor of the service. It happened 1 hour and 39 minutes in, after speeches from two of Young's sons and a Marine corporal close to the family.

Andrew Meacham's story here

[Last modified: Sunday, January 5, 2014 1:01pm]

    

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