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June 18, 2019

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Burton Yost taught for 27 years in Bluffton College religion department

Had sabbaticals in Taiwan, India, Korea; participated in archaeological dig in Israel

Burton G. Yost, 90, died Jan. 7, 2019, at the Mennonite Memorial Home, Bluffton.  Burton was born March 5, 1928, in Lansdale, Pennsylvania, to William F. Yost and Alice (Gross) Yost. On Aug. 21, 1949, Burton married Elnore Rosenberger in Quakertown, Pennsylvania, and she survives.

Burton graduated from Lansdale High School in 1945. He received his BA from Bluffton College in 1949, his Master of Divinity from Mennonite Biblical Seminary in Chicago in 1953 and his MA and PhD from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee.

Burton was ordained as a Mennonite pastor in 1953 at Upper Milford Mennonite Church where he pastored from 1953-1961. In 1957 he suffered a serious automobile accident from which it took 4 years to fully recover. In 1961 Burton and Elnore and their three children Philip, Beth and Anita moved to Bluffton for a teaching assignment at Bluffton College.  A fourth child, Peter was born in Bluffton.

The family moved to Nashville, Tennessee, in 1963 where Burton continued graduate studies at Vanderbilt University through 1966. The family lived in a federal housing project where Burton also served as an outreach pastor at an inner city Methodist church.

After returning to Bluffton in 1966, he taught in the religion department for 27 years. 

Sabbatical leaves included a year of teaching at Taiwan Theological College in Taipei, Taiwan, 1975-76; Union Biblical Seminary, Yavatmal, India, winter of 1981; and two trips to Korea teaching at Yonsei University and contacting MCC vocational school graduates to establish a Mennonite ministry in Korea.  He also participated in an archaeological dig in Israel in summer of 1978. 

Burton retired from Bluffton College in May 1993. During retirement he taught and participated in courses at the Institute for Learning in Retirement at the college.  He was an active member of First Mennonite Church including serving as Interim Pastor from January 1994-May 1995 and as an adult Sunday school teacher for many years. 

Burton was preceded in death by his eldest son Philip in 2014.  Surviving children include Elizabeth (Ross) Sheldrake of Calgary, Alberta, Anita (Tim) Reimer of Wichita, Kansas, Peter (Deborah Proffitt) Yost of Stillwater, Minnesota, daughter-in-law Susan (Wimmers) Yost of San Jose, California; 5 grandchildren, 2 step-grandchildren, 7 great-grandchildren, and 2 step great-grandchildren.  A sister, Marion Whitermore, Souderton, Pennsylvania also survives.

A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m., Friday, Jan. 11, at First Mennonite Church in Bluffton. Pastors Wanda Stopher and Theda Good officiating. Private burial will take place in Maple Grove Cemetery, Bluffton. Visitation will be Thursday from 6 – 8 p.m. at Chiles-Laman Funeral & Cremation Services, Bluffton.

Memorial contributions may be made to Bluffton University or First Mennonite Church Bluffton Deacons Benevolent Fund.

Condolences may be expressed to the family at www.chiles-lamanfh.com.