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George and Ruthe Yost

Ruthe’s death:  2005; George’s death:  February 2006


We were saddened to hear today that George Yost has died, and so soon after Ruthe.  Both George and Ruthe were an inspration to us as they worked in Vienna, finding new connections, working together with colleagues across the continent in various meetings and campaigns.  They created a very gracious and inspiring space for meeting and working in Vienna combining a great practical ability with humour and spirit depth.  We are very grateful that they were a part of our lives, as well as in the lives of many other people. They always impressed us as a very close and deeply communicating couple, and the timing of their deaths certainly reflects to us the strength of their bond with one another.

We always enjoyed connecting with them at various ICA gatherings since then and will miss them greatly in the future.  Warm regards
~~  Richard and Maria Maguire


You all don’t know me at all.  I am the nephew of Lynda and John Cock.  I have had contact with both Yosts during a brief period in my life when I really needed them.  They literally were angels who looked after me.

After I was a senior in College and feeling rather directionless, I had the opportunity to go ot Salzburg, Austria to study German at one of the Goethe Institutes probably to put a hold on my pressing obligation to find a job.  I studied music and discovered after four years of being in an arts school I didn’t want to become a musician.  That meant that I had to get a “real” job.  But I went to Austria instead.

I had six glorious weeks in Salzburg and didn’t want to see them end.  As I heard about another Goethe Institute language class starting up in Vienna, I decided to extend my delay another month.  But being rather young and naive to travel, I arrived in Vienna and found myself without a place to stay during that month.  All the hostels that the Goethe Institute were using were full, and I didn’t arrange anything before I left Salzburg.  I panicked.

And then, I remembered that my uncle, John Cock, said that there was a couple from the ICA who were living in Vienna, and he told me to look them up if I could, giving me their phone number and address.  That couple was George and Ruthe Yost.  Exhausted, I reached their apartment in a colourful Jewish neighbourhood of Vienna, rang the doorbell and Ruthe answered the door with a puzzled and caring look on her face.  I told her who I was, and she immediately asked me to come in.  I told them my story, and they said that they had one bed left in their place.  They offered me that bed for the next month even while they were housing another African student studying at the University of Vienna.  The relief that came over me caused me to almost cry.

During that month, not only did they put me up, but were incredible hosts.  Their hospitality to me was so kind, so generous and I grew to care for them very much.  They showed me Vienna, much of the area around Vienna and guided me through the city of Vienna to the point where I wasn’t so intimidated by it anymore.  I grew to love Vienna and Austria so much partly because I saw it through their eyes.  They loved it there so much themselves.

Since I left them, I never saw them again, and so I never really got to tell them how they were real rescuers for me when I needed them most.  But perhaps they knew that.  When my uncle, John, told me that Ruthe had died, all of these memories came flooding back to me.  Thank you for allowing me to remember them and to communicate them to you.  I have not forgotten their generosity and hospitality to me so many years ago when I was young, scared and in need of what they were able to give me so much.

I am now a Benedictine monk in South Africa twenty years later, and part of the Benedictine charism is the ministry of hospitality.  I am currently in charge of the Guesthouse here, and I would like to think that their natural and spontaneous and generous form of hospitality has rubbed off on me.  They are certainly role models for me. Thank you,

          ~~  Br. John, OHC, written December 2005