Adventist Union President for
North Pacific Region Dies at 61
BY STEVE VISTAUNET with ANN and Adventist Review Staff
ere D. Patzer, North Pacific Union Conference president since 1996, died October 26 following a lengthy battle with non-Hodgkins lymphoma. He was 61.
Patzer was known for his commitment to evangelism -- the veteran church leader personally conducted major outreach efforts on nearly every continent.
Patzer was an "inspiring leader" whose "words and actions were the same," said Don C. Schneider, president for the Seventh-day Adventist Church in North America. "He told people that they ought to tell people about Jesus, and then he led by example."
Born in Bozeman, Montana in 1946, Patzer graduated from Atlantic Union College in 1969 with degrees in business administration and religion. He pastored in New York and Pennsylvania before moving into conference leadership, directing youth ministries for the Pennsylvania, Oregon and North Pacific Union Conferences.
Jere Patzer was 61.
In 1982 Patzer moved to the Upper Columbia Conference headquartered in Spokane, Washington, where he served as executive secretary for three years. He was elected president of that conference in 1985, a position he held until 1996, when he accepted the presidency of the North Pacific Union, the Seventh-day Adventist Church's administrative headquarters in the Northwest United States.
Patzer later earned a master's degree in Business Administration and a doctorate degree in Ministry. He authored four books and, at the time of his death, was serving as chair of the Adventist Health board of directors and the Walla Walla University board.
Adventist Review editor Bill Knott has known Patzer for more than 20 years and worked closely with him in the mid-1990s as senior pastor of the Walla Walla College Church.
“We’re all stunned and deeply saddened to learn of Elder Patzer’s death,” Knott says. “He was a visionary leader who also had the common touch, equally at home discussing major evangelistic initiatives or the challenges of raising teenagers. His own deep experience of Christ shone through to all of us who had the privilege of serving with him, and his encouraging notes and phone calls buoyed all of us up.”
“Most of all, I’ll remember a man of conviction who faced difficult circumstances with a God-given optimism and faith I found remarkable,” Knott adds. “Adventists in the Northwest and around the world church have lost of the church’s most gifted leaders.”
Patzer is survived by his wife, Sue, who serves as the director of Women's Ministries for the region, son, Darin, manager of KEEH radio in Spokane, Washington; son, Troy, principal of Upper Columbia Academy in Spangle, Washington, daughter, Carissa, of Boise, Idaho, and father, Arthur, a retired church administrator, of College Place, Washington. Funeral arrangements are pending.