The Rev. John Yost Jr., Lutheran minister, dies

The Rev. John Yost Jr. was pastor of Epiphany Lutheran Church in Northeast Baltimore for 24 years

The Rev. John Yost Jr., a retired Lutheran minister who was pastor of churches in Baltimore for nearly four decades, died Aug. 8 at Gilchrist Center in Towson from complications from dementia. The Knollwood resident was 92.

John Yost Jr., son of John Yost Sr., an Esskay butcher, and his wife, Elizabeth Graff Yost, a housekeeper, was born at home on South Macon Street in Highlandtown.


While attending Patterson Park High School, he worked summers at Crown Cork & Seal Co. stripping metal cans, and ever the jokester, liked telling people he spent summers working as a “stripper,” family members said.

After graduating from Patterson, he earned a bachelor’s degree in 1950 from Gettysburg College and then entered Gettysburg Seminary, from which he graduated in 1953 and was ordained a Lutheran minister.


He was an assistant pastor at Salem Lutheran Church in Lebanon, Pennsylvania, for three years before being named pastor of All Saints Lutheran Church in West Baltimore. In 1960, he became pastor of St. Mark’s Lutheran Church on St. Paul Street, where he served for a decade.

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He was pastor of Epiphany Lutheran Church in Northeast Baltimore for 24 years before retiring in 1994. Even though he was retired, he continued working for another 20 years as a visiting pastor to the sick and substitute minister at various churches in the Baltimore area, including Grace Lutheran in Hamilton and Ascension Lutheran in Towson.

He was known for his Lenten and Advent monologues, in which he brought to life the biblical characters he portrayed in these sermons while wearing costumes sewn by his wife, the former Carolyn Ruth Orzech, who was an expert seamstress, family members said.

“My father worked six days a week, attending church meetings, conducting confirmation and other religious classes, preparing sermons, visiting the sick and counseling and consoling parishioners,” said a daughter, Deborah Tewey of Wiltondale.

“Somehow though, he found time for a pick-up game of Wiffle ball with the kids while in his clerical garb or a bedtime reading of ’Nancy Drew’ or the ’Hardy Boys’ when he got home,” Ms. Tewey said.

Pastor Yost enjoyed playing tennis with his clerical friends, spending time with his family and grandchildren and swimming at Fenwick Island, Delaware.

Because of the pandemic, plans for a memorial service are incomplete.

In addition to his wife of 70 years and daughter, he is survived by a son, Jeff Yost of Loch Raven Village; another daughter, Christine Yost of Lancaster, Pennsylvania; 10 grandchildren; and a great-grandson. Another son, John Michael Stephen Yost died in 2003.