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Passage: The Rev. Dr. Raymond Morris Bost, past president at LTSP

The Rev. Dr. Raymond BostThe Rev. Dr. Raymond Morris Bost, 91, seventh president of Lenoir-Rhyne College, Hickory, North Carolina, and president of The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia from 1976 – 1985, died on Monday, July 10th, 2017, at Kingston Residence of Hickory.

Born near Maiden in southern Catawba County, North Carolina, on August 18th, 1925, he was the son of the late Loy R Bost, Sr., and Virginia Anderson Bost. He was the grandson of Confederate veteran Morris Robley Bost and was himself a veteran of military service in World War II.

Dr. Bost attended high school at Happy Valley and Maiden High School and graduated at Latta, South Carolina before enrolling at the The Citadel in Charleston, South Carolina. Following his freshman year, he spent a summer in highway construction work before entering the United States Marine Corps. His Marine duties included serving as a drill instructor at Parris Island and as a radar operator in the Asiatic-Pacific theater, where he earned a battle star at Okinawa.

Following his discharge from the Marines, Dr. Bost enrolled as a day student at Lenoir-Rhyne College, where he earned the AB degree with a major in History. He then enrolled at Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary (LTSS) in Columbia, South Carolina, where he earned the first degree in theology, and as a senior was named manager of the seminary bookstore.

Ordained by the North Carolina Synod of the United Lutheran Church in America (ULCA) at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church, Charlotte, North Carolina, in 1952, his first call was to Nativity Lutheran Church, Spartanburg, South Carolina. His second call was to Raleigh, North Carolina, where he served as pastor of Holy Trinity Lutheran Church and campus pastor at NC State University and Meredith College for the National Lutheran Council.

Accepting the invitation of LTSS to prepare himself for teaching responsibilities, Bost enrolled in Yale University, where he earned both a master’s and a Doctor of Philosophy degree, the latter being in Religion with a concentration in Church History. His doctoral dissertation focused on the Rev. John Bachman of Charleston, South Carolina, distinguished churchman and naturalist. In 1960, he began his service as a Professor of Church History and Director of Field Education at LTSS. His educational ministry continued there until he was selected in 1966 by President Voigt R. Cromer to serve as the first full-time Academic Dean at Lenoir-Rhyne College. When health concerns prompted the retirement of Dr. Cromer, Bost succeeded Cromer, at first as interim president, and then in 1968 as president.

While at Lenoir-Rhyne, President Bost also served as president of the Piedmont University Center of North Carolina, an educational consortium then based at Reynolda House in Winston Salem. He also headed the independent College Fund of North Carolina.

As the nation celebrated its bicentennial in 1976, Bost was chosen to lead The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia as its president. While there, he also served on the ULCA’s Board of Publication, which named him its vice president. He was a participant in the second series of theological dialogues between Lutherans and United Methodists.

In 1985, Bost accepted the invitation of Bishop Michael C.D. McDaniel to fill the post of synod historian for the North Carolina Synod of the Lutheran Church in America. This assignment included a plan to publish three historical volumes for the synod, a narrative history, a volume of biographical sketches of clergy who have served in the synod, and a volume of sketches of the individual congregations that have held membership in the synod. The first, “All One Body,” was co-authored by Bost and Jeff L. Norris and published in 1994. The second, “Life Sketches of Lutheran Clergy, North Carolina Synod,” was published at the end of 2001, and the third volume was to be historical sketches of the Synod’s congregations.

Newberry College, Newberry, South Carolina,  drew Dr. Bost back into to higher education administration in 1987. Stints as academic dean and Director of Newberry College’s Center for Ethical Development were followed by his being named President of the College and, finally in 1995, President Emeritus.

In retirement, Bost continued his involvement in the life of the Church. He was a trustee of LTSS and on the Board for the ELCA’s Eastern Cluster of Lutheran Seminaries, which also includes United Lutheran Seminary. He served as interim pastor at Christ Lutheran Church, Stanley, North Carolina and chaired the NC Synod’s Committee of Historical Work. He was named archivist of the North Carolina Synod and served on the Board of Directors for the James R. Crumley, Jr. Archives in Columbia, South Carolina. He also served as a part-time development associate for LTSS, which in 2009 bestowed on him its most prestigious non-academic award, the John Bachman Award. Lenoir-Rhyne awarded him an honorary doctorate, and its Alumni Association bestowed on him its Distinguished Alumnus Award.

Married to Margaret Vedder Bost, formerly of Hartford, CT, who preceded him in death in January 2017, Dr. Bost leaves two sons, Timothy Lee Bost and wife Patricia Taylor of Palmetto, Florida, and Peter Raymond Bost of Hickory; and a daughter, Penelope Ruth Bost Schrum and husband Danny of Lincolnton, North Carolina. A third son, Jonathan Otto Bost of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, also preceded him in death. Survivors also include eight grandchildren, two great grandchildren, and three nephews.

A Service of Memorial Thanksgiving will be held at 1:00 pm, Wednesday, August 16, 2017, at St. Andrews Lutheran Church, 629 8th St. NE, Hickory, North Carolina. Memorials may be made to James R. Crumley, Jr. Archives, 4201 N. Main St., Columbia, SC  29203, and Raymond M. Bost Distinguished Professor Endowment, Lenoir Rhyne University, 625 7th Avenue NE, Hickory, NC  28601

Please sign the online guestbook at jenkinsfuneralhome.net. Arrangements by Jenkins Funeral Home and Cremation Service in Newton, North Carolina.

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