Rev. Jon and Ruth Yarian have found great joy in easing others’ grief—through their current ministry, and through a legacy commitment for The Grief Support Cooperative.
Supporting those who grieve is Jon’s calling. After 25 years in pastoral ministry, he began at Genesis as a part-time chaplain in the Spiritual Care Department, and then moved to a full-time position with Genesis Hospice to help coordinate the bereavement services there. With encouragement from his mentor, Genesis President and CEO Doug Cropper, and a grant from Genesis Philanthropy, he launched The Grief Support Cooperative to expand these services to the entire Genesis Health System and the greater Quad City communities.
The Grief Support Cooperative mission is to give counsel and care to all who grieve from life loss or significant change. Grief support specialists offer grief counseling, support groups, grief education courses and special events. These compassionate, quality health services enable people to move beyond coping to find hope and happiness in life again; from surviving in grief to thriving in good health after the painful effects of grief. They help people learn to accept the reality of their losses, adjust to environments without their loved one, allow and attend to their emotions, achieve lasting connections with their loved one, and actively engage in life again at their own pace. More can be learned about Genesis Grief Support at www.genesishealth.com/grief.
Married for 27 years, Jon and Ruth have four children and three grandchildren and live in Davenport, Iowa. Ruth is a Preschool Teacher of 25 years. Jon served in the U.S. Air Force before earning his bachelor of theology and master in ministry degrees. Non-denominationally ordained, Jon also served 25 years in ministry as a local church pastor before he went on to be certified as a chaplain with the Association of Professional Chaplains. Now he works full time at Genesis Health System as the lead coordinator for The Grief Support Cooperative, the premier provider of grief support for the Quad Cities of Iowa and Illinois. His experience in leadership administration and passion for spiritual care bring a unique perspective to his compassionate counsel for those suffering from the impact of significant life loss and change.
Throughout their life’s work, Jon and Ruth have helped create programs and projects that build up people to help them find meaning, value and purpose in life. Yet, they realize that even organizations that do remarkably good work sometimes fold without funding and the passion to sustain that funding and use it wisely. Seeing the significant difference The Grief Support Cooperative is making in hurting people's lives, Jon and Ruth wanted to do all they could to make this special work last beyond their own lives. Otherwise, who will help their children and grandchildren navigate their journeys with loss and grief? Who will help future generations find healing from the physical, mental, emotional, spiritual and social pain of grief?
Jon and Ruth didn't have the means to make a gift in the present, beyond the time and energy of his work and her support of him. However, when they heard that there was a way to create a legacy by dedicating a portion of their life insurance benefit to Genesis Philanthropy for The Grief Support Cooperative initiative, it brought them great joy to know that they really could do something to secure grief support for even more people in the future. Without hesitation, that's what they did.
When asked why, Jon says, “Giving a gift that passes on support for those grieving after we pass on gives our lives greater meaning, value and purpose beyond that which our lives already contain! Why wouldn't we? Why wouldn't everyone?”