Thursday, February 12, 2015

Michael Paul "Mike" Younger

Brandon, MS:Michael Paul "Mike" Younger, 61, a big, caring man with an even larger personality, went home on February 9th, 2015.

Mike was born in Louisville, Mississippi, on October 20, 1953, the son of Paul Younger, a former Mississippi State offensive lineman and one of the founders of the Bulldog Club. Mike inherited his father's physical size, strength, sense of humor and love of Mississippi State.

Mike played in the offensive line six years for the Louisville Wildcats, made several all-star teams and followed his father's footsteps to Mississippi State where he played from 1971 to 1974.

Rockey Felker, one of State's all-time football heroes, says, "Mike and I were freshmen together. I was from Tennessee and didn't know anybody and Mike had practically grown up at State. He took me under his wing. I found out later he treated everybody that way. I've never met anybody who knew Mike who didn't love and respect him. And nobody, and I mean nobody, loved Mississippi State more than Mike."

A series of injuries kept Mike from reaching his full potential as a player, but he was, nonetheless, one of the team's most popular players. He was elected president of the M Club. He played on the nationally ranked 1974 State team that finished 9-3 and defeated North Carolina in the Sun Bowl. In 2013, that team was honored at halftime of a State game. Mike, the honorary captain of the team, walked onto the field on a specially made prosthetic leg, adorned with maroon foot with an MSU Bulldog on it.

He twice served as president of the Bulldog Club and was on the executive board for many years.

"I don't hunt, fish or play golf. My hobby is Mississippi State football," Mike said.

Straton Karatassos was the trainer at State during Mike's playing career and they became close, close friends. "When Mike put on that maroon and white uniform, it meant something to him. He cared about his teammates, he dearly loved his school. He was a guy you could count on."

Upon graduation from State, Mike attended law school at what he would refer to as "that school up north."

He then settled in Brandon where he practiced law for 36 years. He served as the Brandon Municipal Judge for 31 years with integrity, without pretentiousness, and treated everyone who came before him equally. He took his oath of office seriously, but he often brightened the courtroom with his humor.

Long-time friend, Jeff Robertson, chief investigator for the Brandon Police Department, loves to tell about the time Mike opened City Court thusly: "All right, all you who are going to plead guilty line up on this side. All of you who I am going to find guilty line up over here."

"He treated everyone fairly, whether you were a drug dealer or just somebody with a speeding ticket," said Vicky Williams, a former public defender in Rankin County.

Said John Emfinger, circuit judge of Rankin and Madison County, "Mike was a man of integrity and courage. He did the right thing even when he knew it could possibly have a great personal and professional cost to him."

Mike taught Sunday school at the First Methodist Church for 18 years and he began each lesson by saying, "Today's lesson is about sin and I'm against it."

Said Howard Lewis, who played tight end at State and was a roommate of Mike's, "We always thought Mike was going to be the Governor. When he was in the room, he was the center of attention. If he ever met a stranger, he wasn't a stranger for long. Mike Younger was an absolute prince of a man."

A visitation will be held Friday February 13, 2015 at Crossgates Baptist Church beginning at 9:30 a.m. until 11:45 with a memorial celebration of his life beginning at noon. Memorial donations can be made to the MSU Bulldog Club in honor of Mike. If you are unable to attend and wish to watch online you may do so at

Survivors are his wife, Lynn Goodwin Younger; children, Nicole Younger McKenzie (Brad), Paul Younger (Lauren) and Zachary Hollingsworth; grandchildren, Luke McKenzie, Landon McKenzie and Latham Younger; and brother Steve Younger (Patty).