Benjamin Neely Young was born in Cedartown, Georgia, in 1942, the son of James and Dorothy Young. He attended Cedartown High School, the Darlington School in Rome, and the University of Georgia, where he was a member of Kappa Alpha Order fraternity. Soon after graduation in 1967 he married Katherine (Kathy) Thomas of Marietta, Ga. where they reside today. They have two sons, James and Benjamin Neely Young, Jr. Ben is married to Temple Hemric and they have one son, Holden Benjamin Young.
Neely joined his family-owned newspaper, The Valdosta Daily Times, in 1968, and worked for his cousin, Tenney Griffin. After leaving Valdosta, he worked in various positions and as editor and publisher for Georgia newspapers in Marietta, Canton, Dalton, Clayton County and in 1986 became CEO of Morris Newspapers in Savannah.
In 1989 he formed Southern Publishing Company with Tom Cousins and for nine years built a newspaper chain of thirteen Georgia newspapers. Southern Publishing was sold in 1998 to Community Newspaper Holdings. In January 1999 Young, along with Cousins, purchased Georgia Trend Magazine, a 50,000-circulation business and political magazine published and circulated in all 159 counties in Georgia. Georgia Trend has been named the third-best magazine in the country by the American Business Publications Association. In 2017, Georgia Trend was sold to William S. Morris of Augusta, Georgia.
Professionally, Neely is an award-winning columnist and has served as President of the Georgia Press Association, Associated Press of Georgia, and Chairman of the Georgia Press Education Foundation. He is the former Chairman of the Atlanta Region Salvation Army and served on several other boards including the Georgia Historical Society, the University of Georgia’s Grady School of Journalism; the University of Georgia Board of Visitors; Medical College of Georgia-Augusta Board of Visitors; Georgia Chamber of Commerce and the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce.
In 1997 he received the “Others Award,” the highest civilian award given by the national Salvation Army for starting SHARE, a program in which utility customers donate to the Salvation Army’s many programs for the needy. SHARE has raised more than $75 million over the past 30 years. In August 2018 he was honored with The Jim Blanchard Award for Stewardship and Ethics in Business in recognition of his service and leadership during his ownership of Georgia Trend Magazine.
Katherine Thomas Young (Kathy) is a native of Marietta, Georgia. She is a graduate of Marietta High School and attended the University of Georgia before graduating from Valdosta State College in 1969.
Kathy has been involved in several civic and philanthropic endeavors throughout her career, including service on the Board of Trustees for Reinhart and Young Harris colleges. She held various management positions in the health care industry including Director of Volunteer services for hospitals in Dalton, and Savannah, Georgia. She was President of the Wellstar Hospital Foundation in Marietta for a number of years before becoming the Director of Administration for the First Methodist Church, a 4,000-member church in Marietta. She retired in 1999. In 2018 she was honored by the Georgia State Botanical Garden for her work to help establish a Children Garden.
The Benjamin Neely Young and Family Fund was established in 2018 to honor the Young, Thomas, Griffin and Neely families. The papers of these families reside at the Georgia Historical Society ensuring that this collection will be accessible to researchers for generations to come.