Editor’s note: This obituary is presented in partnership with The Philadelphia Obituary Project, a nonprofit committed to memorializing city victims of homicide whose deaths have otherwise been overlooked.
Keshone Young was the epitome of happy-go-lucky. He didn’t let anything get him down.
When his mother, Lakesha Saunders, mourned the recent loss of her parents, her son encouraged her to smile, told her that life was too short, and that no one has the promise of tomorrow.
Mr. Young graduated from Thomas Edison High School in North Philadelphia in 2014 and most recently worked as a crew assistant at Checkers before the pandemic cut short his employment. Ever the optimist, he planned to parlay his newfound free time and his love of fixing things into a career as an electrician.
He enrolled in the Kaplan Career Institute, intending to keep his promises of opening his own business and eventually moving his mother into a better neighborhood. But Mr. Young never got the chance to achieve his goals. He was shot and killed on Oct. 27, 2020, near his home in North Philadelphia. He was 24. Police have not made any arrests.
Mr. Young was the oldest of Saunders’ four children, and the third youngest of his father, Monta Young’s, six other children. Keshone Young received the nickname “Papi” at a very young age because many people thought he was Latino.
“We had people approach him and speak in Spanish to him, thinking he was Hispanic,” his mother remembered with a laugh.
Mr. Young was outspoken and would say whatever was on his mind. He enjoyed making people laugh, and he also loved to eat.
“He’d go around the table asking his brothers and sisters if they were going to finish their food,” Saunders said. “He was a human garbage disposal because he finished everyone’s food.”
Described as caring, loyal, and a good listener, Mr. Young had many female friends who sought him out to talk about their problems and their lives. His mother spoke to him about her own situations, too, and he’d listen and give advice.
She also recalled just how thoughtful her son was.
“We both loved cats,” Saunders said. “On my birthday, Keshone got me a cat and named him Virgo because I was born in September. It was such a thoughtful and kind gift because he loved cats and could have kept it for himself.”
A fan of the Los Angeles Lakers and the team’s former star Derek Fisher, Mr. Young loved basketball and football. He also had a passion for writing hip-hop lyrics and poetry as well as reading.
“He would read the Quran because he converted to being a Muslim, but he’d always read the dictionary because he would talk about sharpening his vocabulary,” his mother noted.
Most of all, Mr. Young loved family gatherings.
“He was the life of the party. He loved the togetherness, and he always wanted people to be together,” Saunders, with her voice trailing off, said somberly.
“I instilled in all of my children that they should put God first. Keshone did that.”
She laid her son to rest at the Union Hill Cemetery in Kennett Square.
A reward of up to $20,000 is available to anyone that comes forward with information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the persons responsible for Keshone’s murder. Anonymous calls can be submitted by calling the Citizens Crime Commission at 215-546-TIPS.