The Tony Yount Legacy
Tony Yount loved Lutheridge – where campers and staff grow in faith and develop friendships that last a lifetime. Tony had a similar impact on his family and friends as he helped them grow and explore their dreams to find deeper meaning and joy throughout life.
Before Tony’s all-too-sudden death from cancer at age 70 in August 2020, he shared, “I never expected to live as long as my Dad, but I just wish I could have had ten more years.” In the notes he wrote for his memorial service, Tony requested: “Please mention the four loves of my life: Lutheridge (Outdoor Adventure Program); UNC-Chapel Hill; The American West and our National Parks; the communities of people I helped form at Carolina, Lutheridge, Phillips Jr. High and Chapel Hill High School.” These were the places and people Tony loved.
While Tony’s life did not last ten more years, his extraordinary group of family and friends most certainly extended his legacy well into the future with The Tony Yount Legacy Fund. They declare it “An act of love by the many friends of Tony Yount to continue his legacy of helping others.” Their goal is to create a corpus of $70,000 for this fund ($1,000 for each of Tony’s 70 years of life and service). As funding allows, an annual contribution from this donor advised fund will be divided and distributed to each of Tony’s four “loves” for ten years.
Jenny Simmons, a member of the Fund’s Steering Committee, says: “To celebrate Tony’s life, we established the Tony Yount Legacy Fund to provide ten years of a living tribute positively impacting lives and carrying on his legacy. At Lutheridge, the fund will support summer staff in the Outdoor Adventure Program that Tony helped develop and shape for many years. This fund will ensure that children and staff continue to have adventures in God’s creation and develop treasured life-long friendships.”
Family and friends know how much Tony loved Lutheridge. They tell us he attended camp as a child and worked there for 26 summers from 1970 to 1996. Tony was a teacher, allowing him to volunteer for many summers when he wasn’t traveling out west. While on staff in the 1990s, he was known as the “General Dispenser of Wisdom’ – coordinating all the scheduling and transporting of wilderness groups to their drop off sites and returning to pick them up after days of hiking on the Appalachian Trail. Maybe most importantly, Tony was a support to Area Directors who checked with him to be sure their plans for their area or their response to a child’s needs made sense.(Tony pictured here at Lutheridge in the early 90’s with Stephen & Heather Troutman)
Fond Memories of Tony
Pastor Rachel Connelly, an OAP “Wilderness” camper while Tony was the Area Director shared some of her memories of Tony, his time at camp, and the impact on her. “Tony Yount made a huge impact on me my first summer as an “OAP” Wilderness camper – in the late 70’s. While I came first to Lutheridge with my parents as a young child and began as a camper in 3rd grade in Pioneer A, my first experience “out in the woods” with Tony and some phenomenal counselors instilled in me a deep love for the outdoors—especially in Western North Carolina. As a Wilderness Area Director Tony led us out into Pisgah Forest sharing his own love for God’s nature, having fun, and creating community with counselors and campers alike. Those first years of hiking, sitting on mountain tops, sliding down the rock, orienteering, gathering around the campfire with friends, and coming back to camp were shared experiences that Tony was a part of.
She went on to serve as a counselor and then as an OAP “Wilderness: Area Director in 1985. In later years as I became a part of camp staff and then as I had my own family, those outdoor adventures and camp friendships have become an integral part of our family’s lives. My husband, Mike Goyne, and I met as counselors and all three of our kids have been OAP campers with my daughter Faith and her older brother Jacob serving as OAP staff.
Rachel’s daughter Faith Goyne (pictured here with Tony’s sister Susan Peacock) was the 2022 Lutheridge Outdoor Adventure Program Area Director, and has served on staff at Lutheridge for several summers now; in addition to being a OAP camper as a child.
I loved hearing from Faith this summer of her experiences as an OAP Area Director, going out to the woods, to the river, training counselors, and preparing them to take campers on the Appalachian Trail. I had the opportunity to be at camp one week and watch her in action and listen to some stories of the summer OAP camp weeks, clearly the love of the outdoors that Tony shared with me has been passed onto Faith and that brings me great joy.
Faith Goyne, shared, “To be selected as an OAP counselor and now as the area director means a lot to me because of all who have come before me and the responsibility that comes with the position. The preparation that goes into developing counselors to lead campers and keep them safe offsite is immense and cannot be stressed enough. To be entrusted with that is at times overwhelming, but also amazing and a super fun position to be in.”
Pastor Rachel reminisced on some more recent memories of Tony, saying “I enjoyed keeping up with Tony over the years, often seeing him when I was at camp, staff reunions, and in the last years at the annual 4th of July “Fireworks” vespers which we enjoyed coming back to share with other former staff. I always enjoyed sharing stories, telling him what National or State Park we had visited or where I had hiked and having him meet my kids. He would usually make a wise-crack or maybe share a bit of wisdom on current affairs. One Sunday in the spring of 2019, I looked out from the pulpit of St. John’s Lutheran in Walhalla (SC) where I serve as pastor and saw Tony sitting on the back pew. He was in town to watch a former student playing in a collegiate golf tournament and came early to worship and say “hello.” Whenever I am at camp, I walk up the sidewalk to Bischoff, remembering that first summer where Tony was sitting in the chair checking in campers–welcoming me with that crooked grin, making a joke, and asking me about other folks he knew from my home church in Birmingham, AL. I thank God for Tony Yount and miss him, but his presence is still keenly felt especially at camp.”
To celebrate the launch of this legacy gift at Lutheridge, Susan Yount Peacock, Tony’s sister, and her husband, Moe, met Jenny Simmons at Lutheridge Sunday, July 17, for a brief visit with Faith Goyne and this year’s OAP staff..
From Left to Right; Jenny Simmons, Tony’s sister Susan Peacock and her husband Moe Peacock. 2022 Lutheridge OAP Staff. To learn more about Tony Yount and his influence on others, visit the website created at https://TonyYount.life. To learn more about the possibility of legacy giving (for yourself or others), contact Pastor Jan Setzler at firstname.lastname@example.org or Kristen Williams, Executive Director of Development at email@example.com.
(We are grateful to family and friends and the 10ForTony Campaign Flier for material and photos included in this tribute article.)