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Heart attack claims Ralph Yoars, Hong Kong missionary since ‘69

HONG KONG (BP)–Southern Baptist missionary Ralph A. Yoars died unexpectedly March 22 of a heart attack.
Yoars, 62, was engaged in student evangelism in Kowloon, Hong Kong. He worked as an assistant lecturer in the fine arts department of Hong Kong Baptist University and served as a church music consultant for the Baptist Communication Center and Hong Kong Baptist churches.
He and his wife, Betty, were appointed missionaries to Hong Kong by the International Mission Board in 1969.
Yoars was conducting a piano lesson with one of his students. When she finished playing and turned around, she saw him slumped in his chair. A university staff member used CPR until an emergency medical team arrived, but all efforts to revive him failed.
Yoars loved music, his students and his Lord Jesus, said Nathan Varner, a son-in-law who grew up in Taiwan as a child of missionaries. It was appropriate that he was listening to a student play when he met the Lord, he said.
“Ralph had a knack for befriending, helping and encouraging students,” fellow missionary Larry Ingram said. “He patiently and consistently shared his faith in a way that brought many students to make his Lord their Lord.
“Whenever I visited Ralph on campus, everywhere we would go he was greeting students or they were greeting him,” Ingram said.
A native of New Orleans, Yoars was a graduate of Mississippi College in Clinton and New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. Prior to missionary appointment, he served churches in Frisco City, Ala., and Statesville, Charlotte and Concord, N.C.
He previously served as a professor at Hong Kong Baptist Theological Seminary.
Yoars is survived by his wife; two daughters, Liesl Varner of Birmingham, Ala., and Linda Davis of Helena, Ala.; and a son, Marcus Yoars of Conyers, Ga.
A memorial service was held March 26 in the chapel at Hong Kong Baptist University. A memorial service in the United States will be held April 1 at 11 a.m. at Shades Mountain Baptist Church, Birmingham, Ala.