Hearts Love 27

Graziella B Young

September 7, 1935 ~ September 9, 2023 (age 88) 88 Years Old


Graziella “Piera” Young was born in Milano, Italy on September 7, 1935 to Luigi (Gino) Bocchialini and Piera Pedercini Bocchialini. When her mother died just days after giving birth, Gino was left to care for an infant alone.  His family quickly stepped in and took baby Graziella to live with them on the outskirts of Milan so Gino could continue to work. They began calling her Piera in honor of her mother. She remained with them for nearly two years until Gino married Rosa Elisabetta Callegari and brought her back to the city.

Piera grew up in Milan surrounded by family — the backdrop was a city ravaged by German bombs and the rise of an Italian dictator — but childhood memories centered on her adventures with her cousins. The four girls, Louisa, Marisa, Pinuccia and Piera, were inseparable and unafraid, in spite of the constant danger surrounding them. With the arrival of Piera’s brother, the foursome grew. Piera was seldom seen without little Gianni in her arms and then later by her side.
Piera watched as post-war Milan became a bustling center of industry, culture and finance. And as soon as she finished school, she was fortunate enough to land a job at Durium, one of Italy’s premier music recording studios. For seven wonderful years, she met and mixed with top recording artists. Piera was in the middle of Italy’s newfound optimism and musical renaissance.

Meanwhile, Piera’s father, Gino, had become disillusioned with the Catholic church. In his search for the truth, Gino became a founding member of the Milan Church of Christ. The family quickly followed suit, and Piera became an integral part of the church’s growing youth group.

It was here in 1959 that Piera was introduced to a young US serviceman by American missionaries, Hillard and Alma Story. One meeting with the boy from Oklahoma and Piera’s future was clear. Jay Young, or Jimmy as she used to call him, was determined he would marry her. 

After Jay’s discharge from the Navy and their wedding in Milan in 1962, the couple moved stateside for nearly four years so Jay could finish his studies at Abilene Christian University. They had two children in that time — a son, Stefano (Steve) and a daughter, Elisabetta (Lisa) — and as soon as Jay graduated from ACU, he and Piera moved back to Italy with a three-year-old and a four-month-old in tow. There they would remain for nearly 50 years, working together to advance the Gospel and the Kingdom of God.

They would live in Milan, Pisa, Pordenone, Florence, Pistoia and work with churches throughout Italy. In 1991, they began A Child to Love, a work dedicated to helping children in the Ukraine with medical and financial support. This work was what made Piera’s servant heart sing — she was a born caretaker, after all.  She loved every one of those the children, and often said she wanted to bring them all home. This work has subsequently been assimilated by the wonderful organization Christian Relief Fund of Amarillo, Texas.

Anyone who knew Piera would remember three things: her warm and sincere smile, her knowledge of the Bible, and her unending hospitality – no one left her home hungry. She knew how to feed people body and soul. She was the epitome of Christian hospitality.  There was not a single weekend without guests in the house. Some would stay for a meal, some for days, and some for months.

Piera is survived by her children, Steve Young and wife Cathlin Bowman Young; daughter, Lisa Young Swetnam and husband Hal Swetnam; grandson, Sam Swetnam; brother, Gianni Bocchialini of Milano with wife Anna Maria; nephew, Davide Bocchialini; niece, Lara Bocchialini and her husband Alessandro Castelli. She is preceded in death by her beloved husband, Jay, who passed away July 8, 2023.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks for contributions to Christian Relief Fund  crf.com/give

To plant a beautiful memorial tree in memory of Graziella B Young, please visit our Tree Store.


September 30, 2023

1:00 PM to 2:00 PM
Church of Christ in Falls Church
6149 Leesburg Pike
Falls Church, VA 22044

Celebration of Life
September 30, 2023

2:00 PM
Church of Christ in Falls Church
6149 Leesburg Pike
Falls Church, VA 22044


Christian Relief Fund
P.O. Box 19670, Amarillo TX 79114
Tel: 1-806-352-5030
Web: http://crf.com/give


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