The Rev. Jesse Hardin "Buzz" Yarborough, Jr.


In Memoriam: The Rev. Jesse Hardin "Buzz" Yarborough, Jr. (1939 - 2023)

Marked by a life of profound faith and service to Jesus Christ, the Reverend Jesse Hardin Yarborough, Jr., affectionately known as “Buzz” or “Father Buzz” entered the joy of his Savior’s Presence in heaven on September 13, 2023. 

Buzz was born in Miami, Florida, on September 8, 1939, and had just celebrated his 84th birthday. Buzz is survived by his devoted wife of almost 60 years, Kathryne "Kaki" Manheim Yarborough, his loving children Kathy Archer (Bill) and David Yarborough (Amber), and his sister Louise "Sis" Greer and brother Bert Yarborough. Buzz's legacy also lives on through his five beloved grandchildren—Molly and Will Archer, and Eli, Jonathan, and Hannah Yarborough. He is preceded in passing by his son Jay Yarborough, daughter Jill Yarborough, and parents Jesse and Louise Yarborough.

Buzz was a proud graduate of Clemson University, class of 1963. On November 30 of the same year, he married the love of his life, Kaki, and together they embarked on a nearly 60-year journey filled with love, grace, service and ministry.  

After a successful career in the corporate world with Exxon Corp. and Xerox, Buzz’s heart calling led him to dedicate his life to full-time ministry in the Episcopal Church. He earned his Master of Divinity from The University of the South School of Theology in Sewanee, TN. From then on, he became known as Fr. Buzz, a larger-than-life figure to many in the churches and communities that he served. Buzz initially served as an assistant priest at St. Peter's By the Sea in Bay Shore, New York. Over the years, he served as the Rector in Brunswick, GA at St. Mark's Episcopal Church, in Little Rock, AR at Christ Episcopal Church, and in Gonzales, TX at the Episcopal Church of the Messiah. Even after retiring in 2005 and returning to Brunswick, he remained active in ministry, taking up part-time and interim roles in various parishes. Most recently he had served for 9 years as the Vicar of St Richards of Jekyll Island, GA finally preaching his last sermon on May 28, 2023. 

Buzz truly was a spiritual cornerstone in the communities he served. His work with St. Mark's Towers, Manna House, and the International Seafarers Center stand as testaments to his lasting impact. His ministry, alongside Kaki, was a sanctuary of compassion, care, and hospitality. They welcomed so many people into their hearts and home. Numerous younger adults and teens always felt loved in the Yarborough home, finding in Buzz an example, a mentor, and even a father-figure. 

Buzz's personality was as grand as his physical stature. He had a love for Clemson football, reading books, going to the movies, and enjoying the company of other people. Most of all he loved being with his family for visits and holidays and being with his extended family at Peppertree Crossing. 

In the final weeks of his life, Buzz continued to uplift and encourage those around him. He had an extraordinary way of making people feel seen and loved. His last interactions were filled with moments of looking friends in the eyes and telling them, “I want you to know that I love you.” It was as if he knew his time was coming to an end. Buzz loved others well right up to the end of his life. 

Rev. Jesse "Buzz" Yarborough was indeed larger than life, but now, he has entered eternal life with his Savior. As we mourn his physical absence, we are comforted by the truth that he is now rejoicing in the eternal glory of Jesus Christ. Buzz is truly at home in heaven. A Celebration of Life service to honor Fr. Buzz will be held Friday, September 22 at 11 AM at Community Church, St. Simons, 2700 Frederica Rd., St. Simons Island, GA. The family requests that in lieu of flowers, donations can be sent to the Community Church (2700 Frederica Rd., St. Simons Island, GA 31522) designated to the Benevolence Fund, or to Church on the Hill (P.O. Box 62, Dalton, GA 30722) designated to the Jesus Offering Fund. Both of these funds go to help others in need, which was so close to Buzz’s heart.