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In Memoriam: A. David Bos  

A. David Bos

The Rev. A. David Bos

With deep sadness we report that the Rev. A. David Bos, member of PHEWA’s Presbyterian Association for Community Transformation (PACT) network leadership team and a leader of Kentuckians for Single Payer Health Care and of the national single payer movement, died on February 12, 2011, following a brief illness. We have lost a dear friend and colleague whose vision and courage have expanded our movement far beyond what we would have been able to do without him.

With his friends Hal Sanders and Bebb Stone of Pittsburgh, David led the effort to successfully overture the 218th General Assembly (2008) of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) to support and advocate for single payer health care. Their successful passage of a "single payer overture" brought resources for single payer education programs to communities across the country and inspired other faith groups to pick up the challenge. 

He was a cofounder of the Louisville Metropolitan Housing Coalition and a founder of the national Interfaith Community Ministry network. He also served as co-chair of the Presbyterian Association for Community Transformation — one of the volunteer ministry networks of the Presbyterian Health, Education and Welfare Association (PHEWA) of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). Of late his efforts for social change saw him deeply involved in the movement for a single payer health care program as a member of Kentuckians for Single Payer Healthcare, and he was helping to spearhead a campaign for divestment from for-profit health care companies.

In the months and weeks before David was hospitalized, he provided major planning and organization for a nationwide divestment campaign for single payer. This effort asks individuals, faith groups, universities and all institutions to withdraw their investments from for-profit health insurance companies because of the inherently unethical nature of gaining profit by denying coverage and care. 

David led the workshop on divestment at the Healthcare-NOW! national conference last November and the conference calls that followed to develop the campaign along the lines of the successful divestment from South Africa effort in the struggle to end apartheid.

We hope to honor his memory by carrying on his work. Martin Luther King, Jr. said "The arc of the universe is long but it bends towards justice." David Bos used all his strength, wisdom and compassion to help with the bending. We are inspired by his work and we celebrate his life.

Lisa Larges on David 

David Bos, a Presbyterian minister, friend and ally who died this past week was a man with the soul of a poet and the heart of a prophet. The two flowed together in a kind of serene loveliness — David, as I knew him, was gracious and easy, thoughtful in what he did and even more so in what he said. That serene gentle manner might suggest a placidity. But David Bos was anything but. He worked tirelessly — with a ferocity, a passion and a determination that never let up.

And the heart of his determination, the source of his unstinting dedication was the struggle for the rights and full human dignity of the most vulnerable in our society, especially the urban poor.

Read the full article

Obituary in the Courier-Journal

BOS, ALVIN DAVID, 75, died February 12, 2011 David was born in Holland, MI to Eunice I. and Alvin D. Bos. He attended Holland High School, and graduated from Harvard College (BA). He received his Bachelor of Divinity Degree at Union Theological Seminary, New York, studied as a Fulbright Scholar at Leiden University in The Netherlands and obtained his MA degree from St. Bonaventure University in Olean, NY.

As a Presbyterian minister, David served churches in Olean and Rochester, NY. He was the founder of Smith Haven Ministries on Long Island, one of the first community ministries in the country, and later served St. Matthews Area Ministry in Louisville and Interfaith Community Ministry in New Albany, IN. He received his Doctorate of Sacred Theology from San Francisco Theological Seminary in 1981.

Read the full article

Johanna Bos on David

February 12, 2011

Dear Friends,

It is with deep sorrow that I must give you the news of the death of my beloved husband David.  He died this afternoon at the hospital where he had been ill with pneumonia for the past week. Our son Martin, his wife Kim and my sister Hannah were with me at his bedside while he was dying and drew his last breath.  I was reading Psalm 118 and had just reached the last stanza:

You are my God and I will praise you,
my God, and I will exalt you.
Praise the Holy One who is good,
whose devotion is forever!

A serious cold that developed into pneumonia took his life within three weeks; he would have been 76 years old on Tuesday.  David was a man of faith, who held deep convictions about humanity’s task to create a world of greater equity and justice. He undertook all his commitments with courage and persistence, in devotion to our God-given charge to make this world a better place for all who suffer on account of inequalities that arise from human greed, unjust economic systems and lack of care for the earth.
He was also a writer and a poet, who published two books during his lifetime and who was completing a book on the issue of housing, entitled Sheltering the People, in the last months of his life.  He was a voracious reader, and of late enjoyed especially the novels of Anatole France; he read almost everything Marguerite Yourcenar wrote.  While he was in the hospital I read to him from Maurois’ novel Climats and from a Dutch novel he had just started. 
He was a devoted father to our son Martin, to our daughter-in-law Kim, and doted on our granddaughter Emma. He cared deeply for the two children of his first marriage, Julianne Zinn and Stephen Van Kuiken, took great pleasure in his grandchildren, and was a faithful brother to Tom and Phillip Bos. 
He was my companion for almost 45 years and shared with me all the values that we consider making a human life worth living. His departure from my side leaves a void for which I have no words. Yet, I will go on in deep gratitude for all the years we had together, the involvements in social justice we shared, the many trips we took, the concerts we heard, the plays we saw, the dinners we relished and all we did that fed our sense of treasuring the responsibilities as well as the pleasures life offers.  I count it my privilege to have been his marriage partner for so long.  
- Johanna W.H.van Wijk-Bos  

Memorial Contributions

Johanna Bos has suggested that donations in David's memory may be made to the A.David Bos Memorial Fund for the Women's Center, Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary, 1044 Alta Vista Rd., Louisville, KY 40205-1798.

David Bos on WLKY

"There are two tiers of health care," said David Bos. "One's for those that can afford the excellent health care that's available here and the others who can't."

Bos and six other members of the group slept on Humana's floor all night to raise attention and support for national health care.

Watch the video and read the article

David Bos  speaking in front of Humana

"We are here to protest the Humana Corporation's masquerading as a health care provider practicing medicine without a license."

David begins speaking about 25 seconds into the video.

Watch the video


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