Jon B. Boss was installed as the first lay canon of Christ Church Cathedral on November 29, 2020. This intimate moment, with the retiring Bishop Thomas Breidenthal, cathedral clergy and Jon’s family gathered in Sycamore Commons, around a baptismal font on the chilly morning, honored a life of extraordinary but quiet service to God, the Episcopal Church and the well-being of people around the world.
It was a great joy for Jon that his granddaughter, Geneva, was the person to vest him with the stole of the office. The Rev. Canon Jason Leo, the cathedral’s interim dean, then draped over Jon’s shoulders an academic hood, crimson for Jon’s MBA from Harvard Business School.
After taking early retirement from Kroger, Jon became Bishop William Grant Black’s diocesan administrator, and people across the diocese discovered a person of complete integrity, one who was always ready to listen. His organizational skills helped parishes and ministries thrive. After the election of Bishop Herbert Thompson Jr. in 1988, Jon continued his quiet work and teamed up with Mike Barwell and John Harris to create the Episcopal Community Services Foundation to expand the diocese’s capacity to tackle poverty in Southern Ohio.
Jon was instrumental in organizing Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s visits to Cincinnati both before and after the fall of apartheid, and is deeply committed to racial justice and reconciliation. He represented the diocese for years as a deputy to General Convention, serving on the budget, program and finance commissions.
After retiring from the diocesan staff, Jon has served in almost every leadership body in the diocese, including as a trustee and a member of the Commission on Congregational Life. He also served as president of the standing committee during the transition to Bishop Breidenthal’s episcopate.
Jon’s incredible mastery of institutional history (backed up by about a thousand file boxes in the basement, to his wife Jeanne’s despair) and his complete dedication to the Church made him the trusted counselor and fair-minded mentor of every bishop of Southern Ohio over more than three decades.