, news editor, Adventist Review
The founder of the second-largest hotel chain in the world, and a surgeon who forever changed the game of baseball.
The first female professor at the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary, and a well-known Ellen G. White lookalike.
The first missionary to Okinawa, a trailblazing lawyer in defending Sabbath rights, and a federal appointee under former U.S. President Jimmy Carter.
These are some of the Adventists who died in 2014. Their voices may have fallen silent as they wait for Jesus' return, but "by faith they still speak, even though they are dead" (Heb. 11:4, NIV).
Alma Tucker, a fixture on the staff and board of Quiet Hour Ministries, a Seventh-day Adventist Church-supporting broadcast outreach, died on Jan. 10 at the age of 90.
Tucker was a part of Quiet Hour Ministries since the 1940s, when she married LaVerne Tucker, son of the organization’s founder, J.L. Tucker.
Alma Tucker had several roles within the ministry: singing in the radio and TV show quartet, speaking and singing at international evangelistic meetings, working as an employee and serving on the board of directors.
In the 1950s, Alma and LaVerne Tucker, an Adventist pastor, served as missionaries in the Philippines. Afterward they expanded Quiet Hour Ministries’ international reach to include mission projects and evangelistic meetings. This laid the groundwork for the ministry’s focus today on international evangelism mission trips.
Don Gray, a longtime Seventh-day Adventist evangelist and pioneer in using multimedia to share Jesus, died Jan. 11 at the age of 87.
Gray and his wife of 65 years, Marjorie, wrote seven books on witnessing and the message of salvation through Jesus Christ. The development of their most effective tool, however, took place in the early 1960s when they wrote a set of 24 Bible lessons. During the next few decades those lessons were translated into more than 76 languages, eventually produced as CDs and DVDs with animation and graphic illustrations, and distributed worldwide.
Gray first served as pastor of several small churches in rural Oregon. He then began holding evangelistic meetings in tents, and incorporating visual media with his sermons—a method he found to be effective in sharing the gospel message. That led him to become a pioneer in the multimedia approach to communication and witnessing, and for a while he oversaw the It Is Written Advent Digital Media project that produced cutting-edge evangelistic graphics.
He and his wife traveled to Russia, China, and throughout Europe to promote evangelism, and worked closely with It Is Written, The Voice of Prophecy, Pacific Press Publishing Association, and other church organizations.
Leona Glidden Running, 97, professor emerita of biblical languages at Andrews University, died on Jan. 22 after nearly six decades of service to the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary and Andrews University.
Running was a trailblazer in Adventism as the first female professor at the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary in Takoma Park, Maryland, and later at Andrews. She also was the first Adventist woman to earn a doctorate in ancient Near Eastern studies, with a specialization in ancient Syriac texts.
Interestingly, Running showed an early attraction to languages. Her mother, a teacher, began coaching her in reading skills when she was 3 or 4, and she entered the fourth grade at the age of 8.
William Shea, a close friend, said Running assisted more students in writing doctoral dissertations than any other faculty member at Andrews University.
”She has probably touched the educational lives of more Seventh-day Adventist ministers than any other woman except Ellen White,” Shea said.
Rita Hoshino, known to many Adventists for her uncanny portrayal of Ellen G. White, died unexpectedly from complications of kidney disease and pneumonia on Feb. 10. She was 58.
Hoshino, who was born in California and lived there her entire life, worked for 23 years as assistant to the dean of students at Pacific Union College. She had a vivid memory and remembered names and details about everyone she met, earning her the nickname “Rita Rolodex.”
Following her career at the college, Hoshino worked as the alumni/advancement director at Mountain View Academy.
It was after this that Hoshino began investing in what had previously been only a hobby: portraying Ellen G. White.
Because of her resemblance to the Seventh-day Adventist Church co-founder, Hoshino had often been asked to portray Ellen White at various functions. The first invitation was during her teenage years, when Hoshino was asked to play a young Ellen at an event for Pacific Press Publishing Association, where her father was employed. She eventually created The Ellen White Legacy, a ministry devoted to sharing White’s work through dramatic enactments.
Hohinso’s portrayal of Ellen White took her across the nation, bringing “Ellen” back to life for such events as St. Helena Hospital’s 125th anniversary celebration, the Hiram Edson Farm dedication, Loma Linda University Hospital’s centennial anniversary, and the 2010 General Conference session in Atlanta, Georgia.
Stewart Bainum, founder of Choice Hotels International, the second-largest hotel chain in the world, died on Feb. 12 following complications with pneumonia. He was 94.
But Bainum wasn’t known only for his business acumen. A member of Sligo Adventist Church in Takoma Park, Maryland, Bainum was also known for his commitment to Seventh-day Adventist education.
For more than 40 years, the Bainum family has operated the Commonweal Foundation, donating millions of dollars every year to support programs and projects that help disadvantaged youth across the country succeed academically.
“One of our core beliefs at Commonweal Foundation is that, if you want to go far, you have to have an education. We believe that each individual has value and potential and deserves a quality learning environment. Our goal is to provide them with that,” Bainum said in an interview with the Columbia Union Visitor magazine in 2011.
Charles Richard Taylor, a career Adventist Church official who was instrumental in the founding of Adventist Mission, died on Feb. 18 at the age of 92.
Born to missionary parents in Brazil, Taylor worked for 32 years in the church’s Inter-American Division as teacher, youth leader, school administrator and division education secretary. He received a doctorate in education from the University of Maryland in 1965.
In 1975, he moved to the General Conference’s headquarters after being elected as associate secretary of the education department. He later served as head of the department and as assistant to Neal Wilson, then the president of the General Conference.
It was at the General Conference that he helped create Global Mission (now Adventist Mission), which supports hundreds of missionaries around the world.
Owen Troy, who served as the communication director of the North Amer8ican Division from 1980 until his retirement in 1995, died on March 2 after suffering multiple injuries from a fall in his home the previous week.
Born at the White Memorial Medical Center in Los Angeles, California, Troy grew up in Pasadena, California, where his father worked as a pastor. After receiving his master of religious communication degree from Andrews University, Troy served as a missionary in Sierra Leone and Ghana from 1964 to 1966, and in Trinidad and Tobago from 1971 to 1977.
In 1980, Troy was elected as the first communication director of the North American Division, where he was instrumental in the creation of the department and the role that it played in the internal and external communications of the church.
“Owen was a visionary who took communication in new directions for the Seventh-day Adventist Church,” said Kermit Netteburg, who followed Troy as assistant to the NAD president for communication in 1995. “He helped the church return to a focus on public audiences and away from one that was more internally focused. He was truly the first communication director in the division and initiated much of the church’s first Internet-based communications.”
Troy, 86, also served on the board of 3ABN television, a position he held for 17 years.
Frank W. Jobe, a legend in the annals of sports medicine as the creator of the “Tommy John” surgery for baseball pitchers, died on March 6 at the age of 88.
Jobe’s groundbreaking surgery has prolonged or saved the careers of scores of baseball players, an achievement recognized by the National Baseball Hall of Fame in July 2013.
A longtime Adventist, Jobe held degrees from La Sierra University and Loma Linda University.
Jobe changed the game of baseball on Sept. 25, 1974, when he performed the first ulnar collateral ligament reconstruction surgery on the left elbow of a Los Angeles Dodger pitcher Tommy John. The procedure, now known as “Tommy John” surgery, involved grafting a tendon from John’s forearm into his elbow to replace the ligament. John recovered and took his baseball career to new heights.
Jobe went on to perform more than 1,000 Tommy John surgeries on pitchers of varying levels and abilities. He later developed another revolutionary procedure, a shoulder reconstruction surgery that was first used to save the career of Dodger great Orel Hershiser.
Hundreds of family, friends and colleagues gathered at Dodger Stadium on April 7 to celebrate Jobe’s life.
Gary G. Land, 69, a long-serving history professor at Andrews University, died on April 26 after an extended battle with cancer.
Land joined Andrews University as a teacher in the Department of History and Political Science in 1970 and served as department chair for more than two decades.
Service was very important to Land. He was a member of the Berrien County Historical Association board of directors and served the group since 1983. He was active in the church as a Sabbath School teacher, leader and director, among other service activities. Land was also a member of the organizing committee for the Ellen White Project as well as the Spectrum editorial board.
Throughout his years at Andrews University, he served as an instructor in history, and an assistant and associate professor of history. He also worked in administration and served as a graduate programs director and assistant dean to the College of Arts & Sciences. He became chair of the Department of History and Political Science in 1988.
Ejler Jensen, the first Adventist missionary to Okinawa who planted a vibrant church community on the Japanese island after World War II, died of natural causes on Aug. 27 at the age of 102.
His two daughters said they would remember him for dedicating his life to serving others as a pastor and hospital administrator in Japan and Malaysia.
But if Jensen had his way, he probably would rather be remembered for one of his many stories of faith, such as a favorite that he told about getting caught in a snow squall with a bush pilot when he served as president of the Alaska Mission in the 1940s.
The pilot made an emergency landing on an isolated inlet, and he and Jensen waded to shore. Disoriented, wet, and freezing, Jensen began to pray fervently.
Suddenly, out of the blowing snow, a figure appeared. An old Eskimo, dressed in solid white, waved at the lost pair to follow him. He led them through the storm to a small settlement, where villagers gave them shelter until the storm passed.
When Jensen asked the villagers for the rescuer’s name in order to thank him, the villagers replied that no such person lived in the area.
“Dad was certain that his guardian angel had appeared to save him that day,” his daughter Linda Jensen said.
William A. Loveless, who died of a stroke on Sept. 15, served as pastor of two of the largest Adventist churches in the U.S.—the Loma Linda University Church and the Sligo Adventist Church—and as president of Columbia Union College, now Washington Adventist University.
His influence also paved the way for the establishment of student mission programs that are now a staple of Adventist education in North America and other parts of the world.
But perhaps his sermons will remain his most lasting legacy.
Loveless, known to friends as “Bill,” was one of the first Adventist pastors to stop preaching from the traditional spot behind the pulpit, creating a worship experience that listeners called dynamic, relevant and thought-provoking.
“His speaking style would be conversational. He would take a biblical story, and he would talk you through it as if it was just now occurring,” said William Coffman, a life-long friend and racquetball partner.
“If he was speaking about David, you could imagine reading it in today’s paper,” Coffman said. “No one ever heard Bill Loveless and said they were bored.”
Lee Boothby, one of the first Adventist lawyers and a trailblazer in defending Sabbath rights, died on Nov. 4 at the age of 81.
Boothby championed the workplace rights of Adventists and other believers in the 1960s and ’70s, fleshing out the legal definition of religious accommodation in the workplace.
“On the national level, if there was anyone who developed the concept of religious accommodation in the workplace, it was Lee Boothby,” said a close friend, Robert Nixon, who began working with Boothby as a young lawyer in 1974 and argued with him before the U.S. Supreme Court.
Boothby began taking on cases of religious accommodation in the workplace before the General Conference, the administrative body of the Adventist world church, appointed an associate general counsel to assist in religious liberty issues. Boothby briefly held that position at the General Conference.
Boothby died in an assisted living facility in Berrien Springs, Michigan. He had suffered a massive stroke in 2013 in Washington, where he worked most of his career and maintained a law office until his illness.
Heriberto C. Müller, an Argentine farmer’s son who spent a large portion of his adult life traveling without a permanent home as he worked for the Adventist Development and Relief Agency on four continents, died on Dec. 5 after a three-year battle with brain cancer.
In a telling sign of his character, Müller chose an Adventist education over a much-needed pickup truck for the family farm when he was 15, said Guillermo E. Biaggi, a close friend and the president of the Adventist Church’s Euro-Asia Division.
Müller’s father managed to save enough money to buy the dilapidated pickup for the farm. But before acquiring the truck, the father gave the teen the option of using the money to attend River Plate Adventist College (now River Plate Adventist University) if he promised to get high marks in his classes.
“Heriberto decided to accept the challenge and to study hard, and his Dad decided to invest in his future,” Biaggi said.
The education paid off. Müller went on to lead ADRA’s operations in Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay, Peru, Bolivia, Cambodia, India, and 12 countries of the former Soviet Union.
Børge Schantz, one of the Adventist Church’s top theologians in Europe, saw a passion for Muslims and mission service unexpectedly converge in Denmark in the months before his death on Dec. 12 when he was reunited with an Ethiopian man whom he had saved from certain death nearly 40 years earlier.
Schantz’ reunion with Hassen Anbesse, who was abandoned by his Muslim parents after a hyena bit off much of his face, gave the Adventist Church prominent coverage in Denmark’s biggest newspaper, the BT, on July 20.
Schantz, who subsequently baptized Anbesse’s family, pushed hard to give more visibility to the church’s activities. He was working on a story about Anbesse with the Adventist Review when he died unexpectedly at home in Denmark.
Schantz, who worked a missionary in Africa and the Middle East, also served as dean of theology at Britain’s Newbold College and the founding director of the Seventh-day Adventist Global Center for Islamic Studies at the college.
Herbert E. Douglass, a leading Adventist theologian, administrator, and prolific author, died on Dec. 15 after a long illness.
To some, Douglass will be remembered as president of Atlantic Union College (1967-70), president of Weimar Institute (1985-92), or an associate editor of what is today the Adventist Review (1970-76).
Others may associate him with his more than 25 books and scores of magazine articles.
But Douglass, whose eloquent advocacy of historic Adventist theology prompted many lively discussions throughout the church, confided to a friend shortly before his death that he wanted most of all to be remembered as a kind person.
“He told me that he would like to be remembered as someone who was kind,” said Don Mackintosh, chaplain at Weimar Institute who spent hours at Douglass’ bedside at a California hospital.
Douglass, 87, will no doubt be remembered as he wished. No matter what people thought of his theological reasoning, they agreed that he was always considerate, respectful, and eager to offer encouragement.
Dolores E. Slikkers, a co-founder of Maranatha Volunteers International and philanthropist who helped shape Seventh-day Adventist Church policy, died in a car crash on Dec. 18 in her hometown of Holland, Michigan.
Slikkers played an active role in Adventist leadership over the decades, including as a member of the Executive Committee of the General Conference, the top governing body of the Adventist world church. She was serving as a member of both the Andrews University board of trustees and the executive committee of its Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary at the time of her death.
“Dolores Slikkers was strongly committed to Seventh-day Adventist beliefs and values,” said Benjamin D. Schoun, general vice president of the General Conference and chair of the Andrews University board of trustees.
Slikkers and her husband, Leon, also contributed financially to many church projects from revenues made at their successful boating manufacturer S2 Yachts, Schoun said.
Slikkers, 85, also had a fondness for celebrating birthdays. She sent out more than 2,000 birthday cards every year.
W. Augustus Cheatham, 72, an education official in the administration of U.S. President Jimmy Carter who went on to become the longest-serving vice president at Linda University Adventist Health Sciences Center, the parent company of the university, died on Dec. 22 after an eight-year battle with brain cancer.
Cheatham, who served for 22 years as vice president at Loma Linda University, left a lasting legacy on the university’s methods of communication.
“His professional legacy includes an institutional brand identity that applies to all forms of university communication—print and electronic; and a notable model of university special-events planning and execution,” the university said in a statement shortly before ill health prompted him to retire in 2007.
Before Loma Linda University, Cheatham worked in the U.S. federal government for 16 years, including as deputy assistant secretary of the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare and deputy director of its Office for Civil Rights—a position for which he was approved by President Jimmy Carter.
“Having the oath of office administered by associate Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall was one of Mr. Cheatham’s most memorable experiences,” Loma Linda University said.