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Born in 1934 to missionary parents serving in the jungles of the Congo in Africa, Carolyn (Schnell) Yost is known to hundreds of people around the country who have encountered her in the many adventurous phases of her life. Although her class ranks have now thinned, many met her and her husband Jerry Yost during their college years at Bluffton, Ohio (1954-57), Jerry’s medical school years at Temple University in Philadelphia (1957-1961), or the internship year they spent in Staten Island, NY (1961-62). Others came to know her during the family’s Arizona years with the Indian Health Service in Tuba City (1962-65), Fort Defiance (1967-1974) and Phoenix (1965-67, 1974-1995). Since Jerry’s passing from leukemia in 1995, Carolyn has remained in Phoenix where she has come to love and know hundreds of others through her steadfast work at First Mennonite Church and her decades of leadership with BSF and LifePoint bible study groups. Along the way, she became the all-star mother to David (1961), Robert (1964) and Ellen (1966). With nine grandchildren (and one great granddaughter) scattered around the world, she has continued to travel and influence her family and friends through her amazing faith and resiliency.
On May 23, 2017, Carolyn was diagnosed with advanced metastatic pancreatic cancer. This was a surprise to everyone, particularly since she had recently been up to her usual active lifestyle with travels to Missouri to see her sisters in April and a trip back to Bluffton College in early May to celebrate her 60th class anniversary. Like many people with pancreatic cancer, she had few symptoms until the last couple weeks prior to her diagnosis. Even at the time of learning of her cancer, she is still driving herself around Phoenix, visiting Bible Study friends and preparing to occupy her long standing seat on the organ bench at First Mennonite Church.
Carolyn is being admitted to John C. Lincoln Hospital on May 24th for a series of consultations. The advanced stage of the tumor has caused obstruction of the biliary (bile duct) duct system which drains her liver, as well as the occlusion of several critical blood vessels near her pancreas and small bowel. Accordingly, she is undergoing a temporizing stent procedure to relieve this obstruction while she considers other options. Pancreatic cancers at this stage have few, if any, treatment options, so comfort care and palliative services may be the principal goal.