Bethel College’s eighth president, Orville L. Voth, Hesston, died Sept. 22 at St. Francis’ Harry Hynes Memorial Hospice in Wichita following a stroke. He was 84.
Voth was born Jan. 4, 1924, in Rosthern, Saskatchewan. The son of John J. and Mariecha Voth, Orville grew up as a Bethel College “campus kid.” John Voth was on the Bethel faculty, teaching Bible and industrial arts, from 1925-46 and also served as superintendent of buildings and grounds from 1936-48.
Orville graduated from Newton High School but his studies at Bethel College were interrupted in 1943 when he was drafted into Civilian Public Service. He served in Fort Collins, Colo., and Kalamazoo, Mich.
In 1945, Voth married Helen M. Voran, Belmont. He graduated from Bethel in 1948 and continued his education at Oklahoma State University, where he received an M.S. in chemistry with a minor in physiology. He went on to Pennsylvania State University, where he earned a Ph.D. in biochemistry with minors in bacteriology and organic chemistry.
Voth began his teaching career at Kansas Wesleyan University in Salina. He served as interim academic dean at Bethel and then as president from 1967-71 before returning to Kansas Wesleyan as vice president of academic affairs. He ended his career as director of independent study at the University of Kansas.