Neville Harcombe, 71, Columbia Union Conference Executive, Dies
Served church for 45 years, was reelected to his post in April

,  Columbia Union

J Neville Harcombe, executive secretary of the Columbia Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, passed away in his sleep early in the morning of May 11, 2011. He was 71.

“The Columbia Union family is experiencing indescribable loss and sorrow in the sudden passing of a dedicated, passionate, soul-winning administrator for Christ,” said Dave Weigley, Columbia Union Conference president.

"Neville was a man who had a keen interest in each aspect of God’s work. His love for God and his enthusiasm for God’s church will be sorely missed," said Dan Jackson, president of the North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists.

UNION ADMINISTRATOR: J. Neville Harcombe, executive secretary of the Columbia Union Conference in Columbia, Maryland, died May 11, 2011, less than one month after being reelected to his job. Harcombe was 71, and had served the Seventh-day Adventist Church for 45 years. [PHOTO: Columbia Union Visitor
Harcombe, who served the denomination for almost 45 years as an ordained minister, departmental director, and administrator, was a pastor at heart. “I love to preach, I love to go to camp meetings, and I love conducting evangelism series,” he told the Columbia Union Visitor magazine, after joining the union team in January 2006.

The son of missionary parents, he spent his childhood in South, East, and Central Africa. He was educated in South Africa’s Helderberg College and earned a Bachelor of Arts in Theology from what is now known as Southern Adventist University in Collegedale, Tennessee.

Early in his ministry, Harcombe and his wife, Cindy, worked as singing evangelists. He pastored five church districts in the Southwestern Union before serving in the Oklahoma, Potomac and Chesapeake conferences as a departmental director and executive secretary. In November 1995 he was elected president of the Chesapeake Conference, where he encouraged constituents and employees to personally engage in the global mission efforts of the church through mission trips. When he came to the Columbia Union Conference in 2006 as executive secretary, he continued that emphasis supporting projects in Africa and South America.

Harcombe, who was unanimously re-elected April 16, served on many of the union’s boards and committees, and as vice chair of the Washington Adventist University Board of Trustees and president and chair of the university’s radio station, WGTS 91.9 FM., both based in Takoma Park, Maryland. There again, he emphasized mission and evangelism, helping to launch the station’s chaplaincy program and engaging listeners in overseas mission trips.

The Harcombes, longtime members of Chesapeake’s Spencerville Seventh-day Adventist Church in Silver Spring, Maryland., have two adult children, Denita and Douglas, and four grandchildren—Abbey, Olivia, Karissa and Luke. One of Neville’s greatest joys was baptizing two of his grandchildren last December.

Details about funeral arrangements will be posted online at

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