BiographyJean (Jeannette Noel Eiseman) Young was born November 23, 1933, in Philadelphia, PA. She received her undergraduate degree from Oberlin College and her MS degree in geology at the University of Iowa in 1964. Young was the curator of the Geology Collection at Luther College beginning in 1990 until her death on June 28, 2007, in Decorah, IA. During that time she taught occasional geology-related courses for the College. Young also worked for the U.S. Postal Service. Young's memorial service was held at the Ryumonji Zen Monastery Center in Dorchester, IA on August 4, 2007. She was a board member for the Center at the time of her death.
Young was a well-known artist, especially in northeast Iowa. Most of her art was built on the designs created by Ensor Holiday, who published four books of designs in the 1970s which he called Altairs. Young applied color to Holiday’s designs, creating patterns she discovered within them. While Holiday may have created polygonal shapes, Young interpreted them as designs. Throughout her career, Young created prints, greeting cards and calendars using the designs she discovered.
Young also collaborated with a colleague named Paul Buhr for over ten years. Many of these line drawings resulted in stylized landscapes and interiors with trees in triangles or a “lollipop” format. Young exhibited both types of her art in a number of exhibitions around northeast Iowa and sold her art at art fairs such as Nordic Fest and Live on Winnebago.
Young’s professional life was dominated by her geology research. In 2004, she was one of a group of Iowa geologists who discovered a shale outcropping near Decorah containing fossils from 450-million-years ago. She was the co-author of an article about the discovery reported in the November 2006 issue of Geology magazine. For several years, Young was also involved in a geological mapping project of the Upper Iowa River basin for the Iowa Geological Survey.
In 1974, Young made a significant contribution to the Decorah area as one of the original founders of the Oneota Community Food Co-operative. She was honored for her role in establishing the business during their 2004 30th anniversary celebrations.
Source of BiographyObituary, Decorah Journal, July 5, 2007; Lewis, Mary. “Coming to Life with Color: the Art of Jean Young.” Valley Voice. (Spring 2001), 27-28; Rog, Liz. “Co-op Pioneer Jean Young Passes Away.” The Scoop. 33:5 (August-September 2007); Strandberg, Sarah. “Jean Young: Winneshiek’s Own Rock Star.” Decorah Public Opinion, May 29, 2007