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Erik Visits an American Grave, Part 808

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This is the grave of Mae Young.

Born in 1923 in Sand Springs, Oklahoma, Young grew up very, very poor in the Depression. She was the youngest of 8 children to a single mother whose husband walked out at some point. Young was a heck of an athlete though and that became her ticket out of poverty. She was a superb softball player and also participated in the practices of her high school wrestling team. Her brothers were all wrestlers and they had taught her how to do it. She was simply better than any of them.

Professional wrestling was already pretty popular by the late 1930s. There were traveling shows. One came to Tulsa. Young attended and thought it was great. She volunteered for a match right there and by 1941 was on tour. Working with Mildred Burke, Young, who became known by many names including Billie Young, The Great Mae Young, Madame X, Mae the Queen, Mrs. Stasiak, and Marie Young, Young was among the first women to engage in professional wrestling in Canada. During World War II, with men at war, women had a bigger role in professional wrestling just as they did everywhere else in the American economy and Young took advantage of that to become a bigger star. After World War II, she and other female wrestlers toured Japan, where the sport was also popular.

Young retired sometime around 1970 and for awhile was a Christian evangelist in Los Angeles, but came out of retirement in the 90s in order to wrestle for her close friend The Fabulous Moolah’s Ladies International Wrestling Association in Las Vegas. With professional wrestling becoming more popular and televised all the time, Young first wrestled for the WWF in 1999. She and Moolah began appearing frequently. Despite their age, they were still quite popular. Of course, she was quite old, but she still appeared on occasion on TV shows, the ring, and wherever from time to time. Her last appearance was in 2013 to celebrate her 90th birthday. Over the years, she trained many other professional wrestlers and was a mentor in that world.

Young died in 2014, at the age of 90.

I am sure many of you know far, far, far more than professional wrestling, so you all have at it in the comments. We can watch some of her work though.

Mae Young is buried in Greenlawn Memorial Park, Columbia, South Carolina.

This grave visit was sponsored by LGM reader contributions. Thanks! If you would like this series to visit other professional wrestlers, you can donate to cover the required expenses here. Harley Race is in Quitman, Missouri and Lance Cade is in San Antonio. Previous posts in this series are archived here.

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