|Birth: ||Aug. 14, 1911|
|Death: ||Jun. 3, 2012|
Arkansas poultry icon
Norma B. Young might not be a household name, but her culinary contributions changed the poultry industry and have nourished millions of kids around the world through their early picky-eating years, and long thereafter. Dennis Bennett, now retired pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Searcy, clearly remembers his first formal introduction to Mrs. Young: "My new friend asked me, ‘Did you know I'm the Chicken Nugget lady?"
Quoting Mrs. Young, Bennett, in an article submitted to Southern Living magazine, relates Norma's story: "John Miller, owner of Miller Milling and Feed Supply, encouraged me to enter a chicken contest. Why, in 1965, he even agreed to sponsor me. You would have loved my first big winner, the Chicken Sundae Sandwich. It was a chicken breast, sautéed, with sundae pineapple sauce and served on toasted French bread slices. Doesn't that sound delicious?
"But I didn't really come into my own until the 1971 National Chicken Cooking contest sponsored by the national broiler council held in Ocean City, Md. And wouldn't you know, I had to wait three months to learn how I had done; and the notification by telegram didn't come until 8 p.m., and it simply stated that I had been selected to represent my state at the national level.
"That recipe was Golden Chicken Nuggets With Three Sauces. And that, my friend" — here she paused and patted the back of my hand, which she held ever so gently — "was the birth of chicken nuggets and the most popular chicken contest winner's recipe in history."
Mrs. Young subsequently upheld her role as the "Chicken Queen" by touring throughout the United States and Europe, making live appearances and giving television interviews about her chicken nugget creation.
In a 2003 essay for the National Chicken Council website, Elton Maddox, then president and chief executive officer of Wayne Farms and chairman of the National Chicken Council, refers to Norma's winning of the NCC-sponsored chicken cooking contest: "One of the original convenience products was the chicken nugget. As some of you may know, the concept of a chicken nugget was premiered right here at the National Chicken Cooking Contest back in 1971, when Mrs. Norma Young of Arkansas won the grand prize with her Dipper's Nuggets Chicken. Mrs. Young used a piece of whole-muscle meat to make her nuggets and fried them in oil." Said Mr. Maddox, "Mrs. Young was a culinary pioneer that sparked a chicken revolution."
Mrs. Young, born Norma Beatrice Bauer of Plainview (White County) on Aug. 14, 1911, celebrated her 100th birthday last summer and passed from this life to be with her Lord and Savior on Sunday, June 3, 2012, surrounded by her family. Mrs. Young was preceded in death by her husband, T.H. Young, and daughter, Ann B. Ekman.
The second eldest of seven siblings, Norma is survived by her brother, Charles Bauer of Judsonia, and her sister, Libba Patterson of Novato, Calif. Mrs. Young is further survived by two daughters, Kay Wright of Fayetteville and Sue Hurt of Jonesboro; five grandchildren; and eight great-grandchildren.
In addition to her culinary contributions, Mrs. Young was president and a founder of the Searcy Junior Auxiliary, president of the Beethoven Music Club, president of Searcy Phoenix Club, and had served as deacon and elder in the First Presbyterian Church of Searcy. She was also a soloist and member of the church choir.
Memorial services were at the First Presbyterian Church in Searcy. Private interment was in Evergreen Cemetery at Judsonia.
The family of Mrs. Young has received many condolences from loved ones and friends, including a letter from Gov. Mike Beebe stating, "I hope that you and your loved ones will take comfort in the knowledge that your mother will long be remembered for the legacy of good works she leaves behind after a long and fruitful life."
In an undated writing, Mrs. Norma, as she was known at the Presbyterian Church, wrote, "Grief must change from the meaning of loss in one's life to the value of the life lived." Indeed, her multitude of friends, her family and her extended family ask you to join them as they celebrate her valued and creative life.
Jonesboro Sun, June 7, 2012.
Thomas Henry Young (1912 - 1985)
GPS (lat/lon): 35.2781, -91.64117
Created by: Sandra
Record added: Jun 07, 2012
Find A Grave Memorial# 91509172
Added: Oct. 27, 2012