Former Leader of Adventist Church in South America Dead at 75

Ruy Nagel steered the South American Division though regional financial turmoil.

Former Leader of Adventist Church in South America Dead at 75

, SAD, and

Ruy Nagel, a former president of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in South America who steered the church through regional financial turmoil, has died at the age of 75.

Nagel died of a heart attack on May 1 in Porto-Alegre, Brazil. 

Nagel led the South American Division as treasurer and president during a period of great economic instability in the region. Brazil, before the stabilization of its real currency in 1994, experienced intense price inflation and financial mishandling.Former South American Division president Ruy Nagel. (ANN)

Despite the turmoil, the Adventist Church saw satisfactory growth during that period, said South American Division treasurer Marlon Lopes.

“Pastor Nagel was not afraid of making even unpopular decisions to keep the church on solid ground,” Lopes said.

Marino de Oliveira, a former division treasurer, described Nagel as a dedicated church administrator.

“He had a very clear focus on mission and appreciation of people — rather, the right people in the right places,” he said.

Nagel was born on Sept. 27, 1939, in the southern Brazilian city of Jaguari to parents Arthur and Ida Heinrich Nagal. He married Evelin, a former women’s ministries director for the South American Division, on Dec. 19, 1961. The couple did not have any children.

Nagel graduated in 1961 from the Cruzeiro do Sul Adventist Institute, located in Taquara, Brazil, and studied theology in the former Adventist Institute of Ensino. He began his ministry in 1962 as a district pastor in the territory now known as South Rio Grande Conference. He was ordained to the ministry on Jan. 18, 1967.

Nagel worked as a treasurer in the South Rio Grande Conference (Rio Grande do Sul), Central Brazil Conference (Goiás and DF), North Brazil Union, and Silvestre Adventist Hospital (Rio de Janeiro) before being elected treasurer of the South American Division, based in Brasilia, in June 1980. He held the position until 1995, when he was elected president of the South American Division. He was succeeded by the current division president, Erton Köhler, who assumed the role in 2007.

Köhler said Nagel “completed faithfully and worthily the mission that he received from the Lord.”

“Today I have the privilege of building on the foundation that he left and the vision of seriousness and commitment for mission that he so persistently reinforced,” he said. “His work was so strong that it will continue long beyond his days.”

Additional reporting from Andréia Silva