H. Carl Currie, Missionary Pioneer
and Union President, Dies
he Seventh-day Adventist who was the first president of the Taiwan Union Mission and who led the then-Zambesi Union in Africa when the former British colony of Rhodesia became the independent state of Zimbabwe has passed to his rest. H. Carl Currie, age 90, died on Sabbath, January 3, 2009, from complications following hip surgery. Since 2000, he and his wife had resided in Yuciapa, California.
Currie, who until recently had served as an associate pastor of the Calimesa Seventh-day Adventist Church, has lived near his daughter and son-in-law, both employed by Loma Linda University. During his 50 years of denominational employment, he served the Seventh-day Adventist Church on four continents.
MISSIONARY LEADER: H. Carl Currie, died January 3, 2009 at the age of 90, having spent 47.5 of his 50 years of denominational service overseas. [Photo: Don A. Roth]
Most of Currie’s service was in China, but he also served in the United States, Bermuda, Singapore, and Africa. The majority of his time was spent in church administration. In China he did pioneer missionary work in the early days of his overseas service.
He was born in Washburn, Maine, in December, 1918. As a theology student at Atlantic Union College, Carl met, dated, and married Eva Longway, a daughter of Adventist missionaries to China. After graduation from college he was immediately chosen by the church's mission board to go to China. In 1940, when Carl and Eva were 21, they sailed from San Francisco to Shanghai. Currie's time in China included pioneer missionary work in some areas, and administrative work in others. He spent his first seven-year term of service in China during WWII moving 10 times between 1941 and 1948, often evacuating just ahead of Japanese advances into China.
From 1949 to 1954, and again from 1960 to 1966, Currie was president of the Taiwan Mission, with his service interrupted by graduate studies at the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary, then in Takoma Park, Maryland, and a stint as president of the Southeast Asia Union Mission in Singapore. During his later years of service in Taiwan Carl led out in the establishment of an Adventist hospital and college.
Following a year as a pastor in Connecticut, Currie was called to Bermuda, where he served as president of the church's Bermuda Mission for two and a half years. He then was called to the Zambesi Union, with headquarters in Bulawayo, Rhodesia. During his 14 years in Africa Carl endured another war, leading the church through the tumultuous years of the countries struggle for independence transitioning from Rhodesia to Zimbabwe. This was followed by five years as chair of the East Asia Administrative Committee in Hong Kong before his retirement in 1990.
In retirement, Currie moved to Collegedale, Tennessee, where he served as an assistant pastor of the Collegedale church and was called to revitalize a small church in Summerville Georgia. In four years, he more than quadrupled its membership, from 8 to 35 members.
Survivors include his wife, Eva; his daughters, Laura Nyirady and Ruth Soule; son, David Currie; 11 grandchildren, 14 great-grandchildren.
--Reported by Don A. Roth, Yucaipa, California