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September 27, 1928 ~ August 4, 2023 (age 94) 94 Years Old
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Seargeant First Class Leonard Davis Youker Sr. (Retired), a veteran of the Korean and Vietnam Wars and longtime resident of Columbia, passed away on August 4th, 2023 surrounded by family.
Sonny, as he was known to many and most, was born September 27th, 1928 to Sedgwick and Margaret Youker and attended Salem Jr High School until 1943 when he went to work at the age of 15.
In 1952, Sonny joined the US Army, where he found his calling, and was recognized for his honorable service and bravery with many awards including the Purple Heart, National Defense Service Medal, and two Bronze Service Stars. In 1974, after 22 years, that calling came to an end when Sonny finally retired.
During his time in service, Sonny met the love of his life, Nelda. She worked at the shoppette on base, and she gave Sonny a run for his money. After numerous attempts, Sonny asked Nelda for a ride on a rainy day, and she finally agreed. That ride then turned into 56 wonderful years of marriage before Nelda’s passing. Sonny loved Nelda with everything he was until his final breath. He always said, “What Mama wants, Mama gets.” They had four children: Patricia, Michele, Sherry, and Leonard Jr.
Sonny was a strong willed, hardheaded, loving man. He would be quick to jump back into his sergeant mode and get anyone into shape, even at the age of 94. He was also known as the grumpy old man and supervisor. Underneath that, was the most loveable and caring human being. Loved by many in his community as well, being a member of Spring Valley Baptist Church and involved in Spring Valley High School for over 40 years where he would sell tickets, lunches, run the score board, and assist the Athletic Department in many ways.
Mr. Youker is preceded by his wife, Nelda; eleven siblings; and daughter, Michele Williams. He is survived by his siblings, Ruthann Klingensmith (Luther), Charles Youker (Velta), Margaret Karnkopf (Walter), and Margaret Musumeci (Harry); his children, Patricia Youker, Sherry Youker-Pound (Lee), and Leonard Youker Jr (Deb); grandchildren, Stephanie, Robby (Elise), Richard (Veronica), Matthew, Shawna, James, Bobby (Elizabeth), Brandon (Jessica), and Cody (Nicole); great grandchildren, George, V, Cinthya, Chad, Harley, Sara, Christopher, Bianca, Anastacia, Jason, Avary, Anna-ise, Alex, Andreu, and Allyanna.