March 21, 2012

08CN: Former AR Assoc. Editor Leo Van Dolson Dies

Former Adventist Review
Associate Editor Dies

(Posted Mar. 16, 2012)

BY CARLOS MEDLEY, online editor

Leo Ray Van Dolson, who served as an associate editor of the Adventist Review for nearly three years, died March 11, 2012, in Chattanooga, Tennessee. He was 86 years old.

Van Dolson, a native of San Francisco, California, was a noted pastor, missionary, educator, and journalist, serving the Adventist Church in Asia and North America. He preached on six continents and published dozens of books and scores of articles.

2012 1508NewsVanDolson

MAN OF IDEAS: Leo R. Van Dolson died on March 11, 2012. [AR File Photo]

Van Dolson was known as a person who liked to keep busy. The late Kenneth Wood, a former Adventist Review editor, once called Van Dolson an “idea” person who made many contributions to the magazine. Despite his heavy workload he eagerly helped fellow staff members, Wood once wrote. 

“Leo and I worked together for about a year on the staff of the Adventist Review, both as associate editors at the time,” says former Adventist Review editor-in-chief William Johnsson. “ I knew him well as a reult of multiple contacts over the years. He was a pleasant person to work with and a fine editor. An abiding passion of his was the integration of Adventist health principles in the lives of clergy and lay people. I think he made an important contribution to our church through writing and editing.”

After graduating from Pacific Union College, Van Dolson began his ministry in the Washington Conference. He later pastored in the Oregon Conference, where he was ordained.

A veteran of World War II, Van Dolson served as a missionary in Japan after the war for nearly 10 years, holding positions as pastor, chaplain, and evangelist. While on furlough, he completed a Master of Arts degree from the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary in Washington, D.C. He later earned a Bachelor of Divinity degree.

Upon his return from Japan, Van Dolson taught religion at Pacific Union College, La Sierra College (now La Sierra University), Loma Linda University, and Southern College (now Southern Adventist University). During these years he completed a Master of Public Health degree at Loma Linda University and his Ph.D. from Claremont University.

In 1973 Van Dolson joined the staff of the General Conference Ministerial Association as an assistant secretary and executive editor of Ministry magazine. Later he became editor of Life and Health magazine (now called Vibrant Life) before joining the Adventist Review staff as associate editor in 1979.

In 1982 Van Dolson joined the General Conference Sabbath School Department as associate director. He retired from denominational service in 1987.

Even with his heavy workload of writing, editing, preaching, and teaching, Van Dolson still found time to become a self-taught artist.

Survivors include Bobby Jane, his wife of 66 years; sons Leo, Jr., and Randall; six grandchildren; and seven great-grandchildren.