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Young, Samuel Doak, Sr. (1896–1987)

Martin Donell Kohout Biography Entry

Samuel Doak Young, Sr., El Paso banker and civic leader, was born on November 15, 1896, in Woodville, Texas, the son of Charles Acton and Sarah Frances Sims Young. He attended Tyler County High School but left school just before his graduation in 1914 to work as an errand boy at the Gulf National Bank in Beaumont. After his promotion to teller in the spring of 1914, he became a good friend of future governor William P. Hobby. With the outbreak of World War I Young joined the Signal Corps at Fort Sam Houston but was quickly transferred to Aeronautical Squadron No. 366. He was honorably discharged in December 1918 with the rank of second lieutenant in the Air Corps Reserve. From 1919 to 1921 he was a state bank examiner. In the latter year he was appointed president of the troubled City National Bank in Eastland, Texas; Young recapitalized the bank and renamed it the Security State Bank and Trust Company, but it failed anyway. He then opened a bond brokerage in Dallas in partnership with John Henry Lane. Young married Frances Elizabeth (Betty) Goodman of Corsicana on October 26, 1921. In 1922 he was appointed the receiver of a failed national bank in Hastings, Oklahoma, and then transferred to Llano, where he took over the Llano National Bank and Home National Bank and formed the new Citizens National Bank. He was then transferred to Carlsbad, New Mexico, where the First National Bank had failed. Young first came to El Paso in 1924, having been named receiver of the collapsed Border National Bank. He was an organizer and executive vice president of the El Paso National Bank, which opened on June 29, 1925. He was executive vice president until 1944, when he was named president of the bank. In 1952 he was named chairman of the board, and in 1964 his son, Samuel Doak Young, Jr., succeeded him as president, though Young retained his status as chief executive officer. In 1971 he founded Trans Texas Bancorporation, Inc. (later renamed El Paso National Corporation), which in a 1973 United States Supreme Court ruling was allowed as a holding company to own four El Paso banks. Young resigned as chief executive officer of the bank in 1975, although he continued as chairman of the board.

Young also served as an officer of several other business and charitable concerns, both locally and in other parts of Texas and the United States. He was an early associate and supporter of hotelier Conrad Hilton and in 1946 was made a member of the board of the Hilton Hotels Corporation. Young also was associated with business leaders such as Tony Lama, William Farah, and Henry B. (Pat) Zachry. In 1950 he was named to the board of directors of the Texas and Pacific Railway. He served as president and chairman of El Paso's Providence Memorial Hospital, organized and was first president of the United Fund of El Paso and El Paso County, and was a member of the board of directors of the El Paso Symphony Association. In 1964 he was honored at a banquet of the National Conference of Christians and Jews for his philanthropic activities. He was elected president of the Texas Bankers Association in 1979, and in 1980 was named one of the twenty leading business figures in the state by Texas Business magazine. Foremost among his many honors was the Aztec Eagle Award, Mexico's highest honor for foreigners, which he received in June 1968 for his years of work in improving relations between Mexico and the United States. He also won the Outstanding Senior Citizen Award from the El Paso Lions Clubs in 1978 and the Trustee of the Year Award from the El Paso Hospital Council in 1979. He was a member of the Masons, the Shriners, and the El Paso Club. Young had a son and a daughter with his first wife, who died on November 16, 1977. He married Mary Lou Daves on May 11, 1980, in La Jolla, California; she was a former actress and the widow of film director Delmer Daves. Young died on April 15, 1987, in El Paso.

Joseph Leach, Sun Country Banker: The Life and the Bank of Samuel Doak Young (El Paso: Mangan, 1989).

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Martin Donell Kohout, “Young, Samuel Doak, Sr.,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed January 26, 2021,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.