Martin L. Yonts, Former ELCA Synod Bishop, Dies

2/2/2000 12:00:00 AM

     CHICAGO (ELCA) -  The Rev. Martin L. Yonts Sr., 73, former synod bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) and mission developer in the former Lutheran Church in America (LCA), died Jan. 28 in Hendersonville, N.C., after suffering an aneurysm.
     Yonts, a native of Thomasville, N.C., was elected bishop of the ELCA Southeastern Texas-Southern Louisiana Synod in 1987 and served until 1991. The synod was later renamed the Texas-Louisiana Gulf Coast Synod.  He retired from active service as an ELCA pastor in January 1992.
     Before he was bishop, Yonts was a regional director for the LCA's Division for Mission in North America from 1973 to 1987. He served in the LCA's Texas-Louisiana Synod and was responsible for developing new congregations.
     Yonts was assistant to the executive secretary of the LCA's Board of American Missions from 1965 to 1973 and was regional secretary for the board in the Ohio and Michigan synods from 1963 to 1965.
     From 1960 to 1962, Yonts was executive secretary for home missions and stewardship in the Texas-Louisiana Synod of the former United Lutheran Church in America.
     He was pastor of several congregations during his career.  Yonts served a three-point parish from 1948 to 1953 which included Trinity Lutheran Church, Homer City, Pa.; Luther Chapel Lutheran Church, Coral, Pa.; and Brush Valley Lutheran Church, Brush Valley, Pa.  He served three years beginning in 1953 as pastor at Wittenberg Lutheran Church, Granite Quarry, N.C., and in 1956 he was called to Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, Dallas, where he served until 1959.
     Yonts attended Temple University, Philadelphia, the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and Lenoir-Rhyne College, Hickory, N.C., where he earned a bachelor's degree in 1946.  He completed seminary training at Lutheran Theological Seminary in Philadelphia in 1948. Lenoir-Rhyne is one of 28 ELCA colleges and universities.
     Yonts is survived by his wife, Hazel; son, Martin, Jr.; and sister, Geneva Palmer.
     A memorial service is planned for 1 p.m., Feb. 3, at Grace Lutheran Church, Hendersonville, N.C., where Yonts was a member.

For information contact:
John Brooks, Director (773) 380-2958 or NEWS@ELCA.ORG


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