Elly Economou, Andrews University Professor, Passes
Started Hellenic Adventist group; translated Ellen White books into Greek (Posted Mar. 15, 2012)
BY ADVENTIST REVIEW Staff
Elly Helen Economou, 83, a longtime professor of Greek at Andrews University in Berrien Springs, Michigan, passed away Thursday, February 9, 2012, at the Lakeland Regional Medical Center in St. Joseph, Michigan.
A private burial was held February 16; a memorial service is slated for Saturday, March 24, at 4:00 p.m. in Pioneer Memorial church on the Andrews campus.
Born May 6, 1928, in Thessalonica, Greece, she began higher education at the Anatolia Greek-American College and finished with honors. Economou came to the United States in 1962, earning a B.A. in 1966 from Pacific Union College, Angwin, California, majoring in biblical and modern languages.
Economou chose Andrews for graduate studies, earning a master’s degree in biblical languages in 1967. In 1972 she began postgraduate work at the University of Strasbourg, France, where she deciphered a number of papyri dating back to approximately 300 B.C. for the National Library of Strasbourg. She was awarded a doctorate in 1975.
Economou was fluent in English, French, German, Italian, and Spanish, as well as modern Greek. She also had knowledge of 10 other modern and ancient languages. In 1967 she began her teaching duties at Andrews as an instructor in the University’s Modern Languages Department and joined the Department of Religion & Biblical Languages in 1976. After retirement in 1999, Economou spent five years as a part-time instructor, for a total of 37 years’ service at Andrews.
As a member of the Seventh-day Adventist church of her native Thessalonica, Economou served as an interpreter, youth leader, secretary, treasurer, and writer. She translated 18 books by Ellen G. White into Greek, including the Conflict of the Ages Series.
“Her life was dedicated to the church,” said Karnik Doukmetzian, a longtime friend and Adventist world church general counsel. Translating Mrs. White’s books “was the major effort of her life. It has blessed and benefited the Greeks all around the world,” he added.
Economou was “a very giving person who hosted many events at her home and instrumental in starting the Hellenic Adventist Fellowship, which annually gathered at her home,” Doukmetzian said.