, news editor, Adventist Review
Alcyon Fleck, a Seventh-day Adventist pioneer in orphan care who co-established International Children’s Care, has died at the age of 93.
Fleck, lovingly known to many children as “Mommy Fleck,” flew to Guatemala with her husband, pastor Kenneth Fleck, to open an orphanage after a devastating earthquake killed thousands of people in Guatemala City in 1976 and left many children homeless.
Robert Folkenberg Sr., then-president of the Adventist Church's Central American Union and later General Conference president, had asked the Flecks if they would be willing to open the orphanage with seed money from La Liga, a Christian group of volunteer physicians in southern California.
The Flecks, based at the time in the U.S. state of Oregon, had lived as missionaries for many years in Central America, and Alcyon Fleck had long expressed an interest in assisting orphans there.
“There were so many starving, lonely children,” Alcyon Fleck said in recalling the invitation to work in Guatemala, according to a statement published on the website of International Children’s Care. “I just couldn't leave them all there with no hope for the future.”
The Flecks’ work in Guatemala led to the establishment of International Children’s Care in 1978. The charity’s board of trustees asked the Flecks to administrate the organization.
International Children’s Care has raised thousands of children over the years, and its orphanages have been modeled after the first one in Guatemala.
“From the start, Alcyon was determined that the orphans should receive a lot of love and individual attention,” International Children’s Care said. “So when the first orphanage was started in Guatemala, 10 cottages were built to house the children. Christian house parents were brought in for each cottage, so that each home became a family unit with 10-12 children and a national mother and father.”
Folkenberg paid tribute to Fleck on his Facebook page.
“Some people are destined for greatness. Others are merely destined to have big footsteps! Among the biggest to be found in the kingdom will be those of Alcyon Fleck,” he said.
“Oh, how I wept today at the news of her passing,” he said. “But those tears of sorrow changed to scenes of incredible joy when I considered the day Jesus again introduces ‘Mommy Fleck’ to those children and their respective families! What a glorious day that will be!”
Fleck died on May 25 in Walla Walla, Washington, and was buried next to her husband, Kenneth, at a family graveside service. A memorial service will be held on Sept. 5 at the Meadow Glade Adventist Church near Vancouver, Washington, where International Children’s Care is based. Further details will be posted on the International Children’s Care website.
Fleck also was a prolific author, writing the books Child of the Crossfire and A Leap of Faith, published by the Review and Herald; A Brand from the Burning, published by Pacific Press; and Whither Thou Goest and Beyond Our Dreams, published by Teach Services.