Statesboro residents Betty and Darell Young may be in their 70s, but neither of them feel like it.
“I still feel like I’m 25,” Darell said, while Betty laughs as she says she can’t remember how old she is most of the time. It’s all just about state of mind — and both are truly young at heart.
Betty is originally from Wrightsville, Georgia. After graduation, she made her way to Savannah, and she and Darell met one Sunday morning on the beach at Tybee Island. Darell hails from Raleigh, North Carolina, and graduated from barber school in 1974. He had taken a job to manage a salon in Savannah in 1976.
“I chased her for about six weeks, and she finally gave in,” he said, smiling. “I know God put her in my life. We have a wonderful marriage, we really do. She’s the love of my life.”
The couple will celebrate 32 years of marriage in January.
The Youngs lived in Sandersville for 28 years, where she worked at Oconee Fall Line Technical College as the financial aid director. Darell has been cutting hair for 47 years, and as an ordained minister, he’s also been pastoring churches. When Betty decided to retire in 2018, the couple decided to make Statesboro their home.
“We came here and I thought, well, I’ll just hang out with the kids for a while, but everybody was so busy, I wanted to go back to work,” she said. She now works part-time with her son-in-law, Jake Futch, at Deal Funeral Directors. Futch is married to the Youngs’ daughter, Kim, and is the Bulloch County coroner.
Darell says he wasn’t sure about retiring himself when they made the move to the Boro, a decision they made to be closer to their children and grandchildren, most of whom are in Statesboro. Ultimately, since he likes to keep busy, he hung a shingle on a retail space next to Fordham’s, and he’s been cutting hair there for four years.
He has also continued to work part-time as a pastor, filling in the interim for churches who are seeking a new pastor. Darell has pastored five churches in the past full-time, and he has been at four different churches in the past year as interim. He will be pastoring at Hiltonia Baptist in the coming months as they seek a full-time pastor.
Darell says he doesn’t know quite how he became a pastor.
“I never went to seminary. We were going to a church on a regular basis, Bethlehem Baptist. We started going there because the pastor there, I was cutting his hair,” he said. Darell was asked to serve as a deacon and was subsequently ordained, and he soon began to head up the men’s ministry at the church, which often included men from other churches. As he developed friendships within that group, he was often invited to speak at other churches. And that, he said, led to being asked to pastor churches.
“Why or how I was called into the ministry, I have no idea,” Darell said. “I know without a doubt though that I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing.”
In addition to that calling, Darell has a true passion for something else — cutting hair.
“Within the first 90 days of being in barber school, I knew that I was going to be doing this for the rest of my life. It felt right,” he said.
Despite having already studied automotive engineering so that he could work on cars, Darell decided that barber school was the ticket.
“Cutting hair was a lot easier than working on cars,” he said. “I just happen to have a gift for it. I have an eye. I can look at you and tell what would look good on you. I’m sort of creative in a way. I think I do exceptionally good work.”
In addition to barber school, Darell spent a year working with a Vidal Sassoon-trained stylist, and cut hair in Buckhead for over a year, a period that taught him a great deal. Darell has also entered and won many competitions in hair shows over the years.
He laughs when he tells the story of how he and Betty came to live in Sandersville. They were visiting there because her sister lived there, and when they checked out the town, they discovered they really liked it.
“I said I can make a living here because everybody had the same haircut,” he said, laughing.
Now that they have retired, the Youngs say they have come to love their new home in Statesboro. They downsized from a large farmhouse, and knew that they wanted a smaller home — but it had to have a pool.
“I wanted a reason for the kids to come to my house,” Betty said with a smile. She had looked on Zillow and found their current home, and suggested it to Darell. He was sleeping and didn’t pay much attention to her, but the next morning, Kim called them to say she had happened upon the perfect home. It was the same one Betty had found.
“So I knew God was saying this is where you’re supposed to be,” she said.
“We’re here now and we’ve already bought our grave plots,” Darell said and Betty, laughing, added, “This will be my forever home.”
When asked what makes their marriage so solid, Darell quickly points to his open heart surgery a few years ago, saying it was a trying time for them but it made their marriage stronger. He still gets choked up speaking about it.
“If it hadn’t been for her, I probably wouldn’t be around. She was awesome,” he said.
Not long after the surgery, a large aneurism was found on his aorta, which Darell said should have erupted by the time it was found.
“The Lord allowed me to get to the hospital to a good surgeon, who took care of that,” he said. “And she got me through that, too.”
Darell is doing well now, and says he tries to watch his diet and stay active. He says that a strong marriage is about loving someone more than you love yourself.
“I love her more than I love me. There’s nothing I wouldn’t do for her,” he said. He adds that they also respect each other, and they respect each other’s boundaries.
“She’s got boundaries and I know when not to cross them. I can be a little hotheaded sometimes, and she knows how to calm me down. I think it’s loving and caring about each other more than you care about yourself. And if I would vacuum more, that would probably help,” he said with a chuckle.
“It’s that he gives in,” Betty said, laughing. “I think that’s probably our secret. After a while, you just know what the other is thinking. We know each other so well and are kind of like each other. We know each other’s preferences and we are so much alike.”
The Youngs say they are blessed to have wonderful children and grandchildren. In addition to Kim and husband Jake, they have Chris and Stacy Frost, Katie and Eric Hodges, London Young and Britain Young. The Youngs say their children worry about them and would do anything for them.
“They’ll do for us before we think to do for them,” Darell said.
The Youngs’ grandchildren include Tamra, 25; Tylor, 23; Hailey, 19; Hayden, 17; Mason, 17; Michael, 15; Murray 13; Carter, 10; Ava, 9; Luke, 9; Dawson, 7; and Harper, 5.