William Marlin Bost

Published 12:00 pm Saturday, March 1, 2014

STARKVILLE — William Marlin Bost, 90, passed away after a lengthy illness on Feb. 28, 2014. He was born in Ecru Jan. 7, 1924, to Luther and Ida Russell Bost. He is survived by his wife of 71 years, Elaine Fields Bost; his sister, Alvis Dechello of West Haven, Conn.; sons Bill Bost Jr. (Diane) of Vicksburg, Steven Bost (Gail) of Nashville, and Larry Bost of Starkville; daughters Bonnie Lasker (Mike) of Birmingham, Ala., Suzanne Thompson (Gary) of Mound City, Kan. and Julie Ferguson (Travis) of Batesville; and a son-in-law Mike Nix of Huntsville, Ala.. He was preceded in death by daughter Beth Nix.

He served his country in the U.S. Navy during World War II. After graduating from Mississippi State University in 1949, he taught agriculture to war veterans at Ecru. He began his career with the Mississippi Cooperative Extension Service as Assistant County Agent in Calhoun County from 1951 to 1955 and served as County Agent in Tippah County from 1955 to 1958. After completing his master’s degree in Extension Administration from Cornell University in 1959, he moved to MSU, where he served as MCES Northeast District Agent and later as Associate Director of MCES. He became director in 1962 and served in that capacity for 19 years. He earned the Ed.D degree in Administration of Higher Education from the University of Mississippi in 1970. As director of MCES, he led many initiatives, including consolidating all on-campus MCES offices. He began lobbying the state legislature in 1972 and received funding in 1974 for the complex which was completed in 1977 and now bears the name “William M. Bost Cooperative Extension Center.” His directorship of the MCES led many other states to model themselves after Mississippi’s organization.

Dr. Bost’s career was devoted to improving the lives of all Mississippians through his work in agriculture and consumer sciences. He was named Progressive Farmer magazine’s “Man of the Year” in 1980. Governor William Waller named him Outstanding Mississippian in 1980 for serving both rural and urban citizens’ needs. He was awarded two USDA Superior Service Awards and a National Association of County Agriculture Agents Distinguished Service Award. He was recognized with two state legislative decrees. He served on several boards including the Mississippi Farm Bureau and the Advisory Boards of National Bank of Commerce of Mississippi and, later, Merchants and Farmers Bank, and the Oktibbeha County Economic Development Authority, which was instrumental in establishing the Thad Cochran Research and Technology Park. He was president of the Oktibbeha County Co-Op board of directors. He was a Rotarian and a devoted member and Sunday school teacher, First United Methodist Church of Starkville. Visitation will be held at 12:30 p.m., today at the First United Methodist Church, Starkville, with services to follow at 2 p.m. Donations may be offered to the American Lung Association or Wounded Warrior Project on his behalf.

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