William Paul Youngclaus III


Died June 30, 2006

College: Timothy Dwight

Widow: Mrs. Lisa B. Youngclaus
50 McCaskill Road, West
Pinehurst, NC 28374

Children: Elisabeth C., 1966; Anne Y. Thompson, 1967; William P. IV, 1994

Excerpts from William P. Youngclaus III’s Memoir, “The Funnel and the Sieve”

Written May 2006 prior to his death on June 30, 2006.

I am now in the sieve of my life, capturing the salient chunks of memory… as they speed through, the funnel narrows (according to Bernoulli). The early years stirred slowly, often unregarded, often underplayed. Awareness of happiness was my norm; disappointments were few. Mistakes came later in brittle chips. Time paused. Eddies appeared. I stewed. I suffered. I was drawn closer to the swifter flow of life. Then I found that honest look-backs could provide a vantage near the stiller shore.

I have loved and been a loner. I loved my mom and dad, my sister, my two wives and my children. I have loved a few close friends. The most precious and dear and unconditionally loved are the children. Their strengths are theirs and their faults are ours. As a loner I have been an expansive thinker, wrestling with the Great Whatever. I believe I have figured out a lot more than we’re supposed to. There is purity to meditative thought, unfiltered by others’ prodding.


The biggest deal in my early life was getting a four-year university scholarship to Yale (one of only 65 that year, I was told). Yale was full of people just as smart, better off, better educated, more exposed and more worldly, and just as adept at getting what they want. So I go from the top 1% to the bottom 10% of the immediate universe.

I began yearning for something outside myself. Worldliness, mainly, but knowledge of what I missed in a Midwestern middle-class upbringing. The combination of curiosity and the New Haven buffet resulted in my taking many courses, talking way too much to these sophisticates, and daydreaming of places I wanted to go and things I wanted to do rather than buckling down. My grades were poor freshman year. By junior year I switched from Math to English to the horror of one of my professors. By senior year I was Dean’s List in English and conversant in many things I did not deeply understand.


Advertising was a wonderful choice for me. Extremely simple, but intelligence could bring fast rewards. You never really have to work too hard, the people are mostly creative and sometimes irreverent, and if you’re lucky you can talk subversively.

Having fun is a principle of advertising. Leo Burnett was the best because it was the least pretentious—a Midwestern trait. With Burnett came the international experience that fulfilled the dream at Yale. I became a citizen of the world, knowledgeable in cultural history, familiar with languages and connoisseur of a whole bunch of stuff…


My children…Will, Lisa and Anne, and my wife, Lisa. Unconditional love is the clearest manifestation of God’s presence. You see the faces of your loved ones and what is significant about life is apparent. They are my prayers. They are my immortality. I see them in me and myself in them.

Note by Lisa Youngclaus: Here in North Carolina, where Bill loved to golf and see the Azaleas each Spring, lives a remarkable young man, 16 year-old William Paul Youngclaus IV. He looks like Bill, is funny like Bill, plays golf like Bill, excels in English like Bill and is an incredible drummer in a band, which was another one of Bill’s dreams. Will also is a talented filmmaker and recently won the Jury prize for Best Film at the O’Neal School’s Film Festival.

Daughter Lisa, also a Yale graduate, is a former attorney and practicing therapist in New York City where she recently completed a MSW at NYU. Daughter Dr. Anne Thompson, is a Clinical Psychologist with a private practice in Beverly Hills, CA. She and her husband Woody have three boys, Bill’s grandchildren, Turner, Barker and Cooper. Bill was present for the birth of his youngest grandson. What a blessing.

POEMS by William P. Youngclaus III


Thank you Lord for the remnants of our lives—

After all that we have given

Or had taken

Or squandered

And if we are thankful for what we have left—

In years

In health

In family

In love

These remnants will multiply and bring us life anew.


The season’s first magnolia

Popped from its crusty mold.

A billion years of shoving aside.

The clacky leaves now to be tromped

By cleated feet on the way to left field

Or scraped into a canvas bag for trundling.

When the fragrant flowers shared their sunshine

Only with themselves and lazy bees,

Ah, those were the days!


A black man tugged at my sleeve, asking for some change

I was startled to be so close to him, a man

I had rejected many time before, but from a distance.

I had always shrugged no, implying that I had no change

Which of course we both knew was a lie.

But this time this close, I could see he was not so old,

And his smell, while not fresh was clean.

His eyes caught mine while I fumbled

In my own crumpled pocket.

My eyes stuck to his, seeing a time

when he was cared for by another’s caution:

don’t do that my love, watch out my darling.

And he would laugh oh so hard knowing he was loved,

Attended to, and he would slap his mamma’s face

In mock discord, waiting for the hug that would

Surely come. And then, and then…I don’t know.

Something painful probably happened, followed

By worse, and then worse even still, until he arrived

Here to tread on other’s mercy, his only hope

That I, and others, change their minds.