Compiled by C White

version 3.2  24 March 2005



[should the reader be able to fill in further details, do not hesitate to let me know. There is no doubt further information about these men in the Worldwide News, Pastor-General’s Report, In Transition and The Journal publications.


For a list of early Ambassador College graduates, please go to




First Name

Current CoG or at death

Year joined AC/WCG

If Deceased, date

Key contributions/office/short biographies











15 Nov 1998

RD (Canada; Phillippines)












ACE. Evangelist






GTA’s brother-in-law (married Molly, Shirley Armstrong’s sister)






ACE. FLD (French); ACE; Evangelist. Mr. Apartian, for example, came as an employee with no ties to WCG, so the date shown is the year he joined the AC faculty. He was baptized months or years later.






Authored the Bible Hymnal. There is a WN article about him.


Garner Ted



15 Sept 2003

Deputy to HWA


Herbert W



16 Jan 1986 (6 Shebat)

Human founder [NB: Loma Armstrong dies in mid-1967 – so HWA died in the 19th year since his wife’s death]


Richard D



30 July 1958

Second in line after HWA in the 1950s. Died in a tragic motor car accident.






He was ordained into the ministry, along with Leroy Neff, Allan Manteufel, Bryce Clark, on June 7, 1958 by Mr. Armstrong and other evangelists joining him on stage.

He was ordained a deacon the previous year.






ACE. Evangelist (his library was procured by UCG – apparently he had ever book ever published on the Waldensians)






RD (Britain)












Married Dick Armstrong’s wife


C Wayne




Evangelist. Associated with Big Sandy CoG


Raymond C






















Not a minister but another long-time employee and manager who knew HWA well


Walter E




HWA’s brother-in-law






FLD (Spanish). “Also in 1953, Charles Dorothy, my "brother," left the University of Washington and his ROTC status and came to AC for the Fall term. He began his AC course and it soon became clear that he had a facility for languages and research. He studied and later taught Greek. He added to his Spanish toward a PhD degree, and took up Hebrew -- a glutton for punishment!”(

What became of his library?






Dean of Students from early 1950s. Wrote a booklet about Masonry.


“In February, 1953, Mr. Jack R. Elliott, then dean of students, asked me if I would go with him as a guest to visit a businessman's "Toastmasters' Club." These clubs are, I believe, worldwide. They are evening dinner speech clubs. First, several men are called on without advance notice to stand and discuss, in one or two minutes, some topic assigned by the "table topics chairman." Later there are a number of prepared speeches, usually limited to about six minutes.


“Mr. Elliott wanted to introduce speech clubs into Ambassador College activities, patterned after these clubs, but with a few variations adapted to our needs. We saw at once the value of such an activity at Ambassador.


In February, 1953, the first of these clubs was organized and under way. Our adaptation was called the Ambassador Club. Soon there were two such clubs on the Pasadena campus, then three, then four. In 1954, there were seven at the Pasadena campus.” (The Autobiography, Vol 2, ch.60).






Evangelist. PA to HWA and RD (S Africa; NZ)





15 Nov 2003

Elder. “In 1953 donated the original 20-25 acres of property that became the core of the Ambassador College campus near Big Sandy” (The Journal, Nov 2003 – see below for further details)






Legal Aide






Kenneth Herrmann was one of the early students of Ambassador College in Pasadena , registrar, head of the student admissions committee and a teacher of astronomy and geology at the Pasadena Campus until 1972 . In the early years of the church Mr. Herrmann was the editor of the Ambassador College yearbook "The Envoy and he also was a programmer for the punch card addressing system used by the then Radio Church of God to send out the Plain Truth and other correspondence.


In 1972 Mr. Herrmann was put on extended Sabbatical leave due to political problems in the Pasadena administration and transferred to the Big Sandy area where he and his family have lived since that time. He contributed to various teaching needs at the Big Sandy campus until the campus closed .


Mr. Herrmann first heard the World Tomorrow program while he was working as a farmhand in Nebraska. He drove out to Pasadena in 1948 thinking that if Mr. Armstrong was telling the truth " it would be worthwhile to go out and check this man out" He ended up enrolling in Ambassador as the only new student to arrive in time for the second year of the college. Later that year Raymond McNair and his brother  enrolled also.


In 1952 Mr. Herrmann married an Ambassador coed who was from the Little Rock area of Arkansas -- Elise Bernard ( who died in 1997 ) He was born on a dairy farm in a German speaking community in the Colby Wisconsin area in 1924 . His parents were children of German immigrants and he spoke German as a child.


Mr. Herrmann wrote articles for the early Plain Truth and Good News issues including " How long were the 'days' of Creation?", "Should Christians Celebrate Birthdays?" , "Beautiful in it's simplicity, A calendar Based solely on Biblical Principles", "God's Sacred Calendar" His 1967 Master of Arts Thesis  was titled "Calendar and Eclipse Interrelationships".


In the 1940 GOOD NEWS letter by HWA, the foundation was laid for our understanding of the Hebrew Calendar. Later, Herrmann wrote an article on the subject in the March 1953 GOOD NEWS. The article was republished in the February 1957 GOOD NEWS (with small changes) – this research has continued as the foundation for Church of God calendar research.


David Jon



24 Nov 2003

Page 6 of the November 2003 issue of The Journal contains an article by Brian Knowles about him ( For a short autobiography go to


Herman L


8 Oct 1947

21 Nov 2004

Having heard HWA over the radio, he knew immediately that he was God’s man. He was also, by then, a Bible student (I heard that he was also a sabbatarian at that time, but not sure).


Gave closing speech at AC, Big Sandy. Gave eulogy at HWA’s funeral.


Evangelist; researcher; first pioneer after HWA. First AC class and also first student graduate (1951). In mid-1985 HWA called him as one of the first to be contacted re succession. Not to offer him the job, but to get advice from him as to who could possibly succeed him. During the conversation Hoeh volunteered that he was not interested in the job, and it is said that HWA was possibly not going to offer it to him anyhow.  We know that he was offered to do some World Tomorrow programs and he turned that down. Indeed, HWA asked him to guide Tkach and “to show him the ropes” during the first stages of his leadership. Various myths include: he was ‘into’ Buddhism (in fact, he was interested in their historical records about Christ that were extant in Tibet until just after WW2 but disappeared after it);  that he owned ranches and was rich (but he and his wife lived a humble and contrite life);  not true; that he accepted the changes and the Trinity – no way!


He brought many new truths into the Church including far more details for various doctrines, historical understanding and how it relates to prophecy; Assyrian origin of Germany; HWA was an Apostle; Church governance etc, etc. He was very influential in a number of other areas such as the Ambassador Foundation.




NB: he died in the 19th year since the death of HWA.


Further articles about him may be found in the December 2004 The Journal.









CoG, aic



ACE. Evangelist


Charles F










ACE. Evangelist






ACE. Evangelist






Pioneered relationships with CoGs in eastern Europe






ACE. Evangelist






ACE. Evangelist. RD (Australia)





Early 2003







HWA's son-in-law who served as Business Manager in the 1950s and early 1960s






Not a minister but a long-time manager in Mail Processing in Pasadena






ACE. Evangelist. RD in UK, Canada, South Africa. AC Vice Chancellor




















Raymond F

CoG, 21st Century



ACE. Evangelist


C Paul




Uncle of R C Meredith. Author of ‘Satan’s Great Deception’


Roderick C




ACE. Evangelist






Evangelist. Mr Neff and his wife started Church attendance in August 1951 in Portland, Oregon. Entered Ambassador and employed in 1955. BA degree from Ambassador 1959, MA degree in 1962. Instructor at Ambassador in Pasadena and Big Sandy. Ordained elder 1958, pastored several churches. Served in various capacities in administration. Treasurer 1981-1990. Member Advisory Council of Elders (ACE), board member, and secretary of the board. Writer for Church publications. Retired 1995.






Mr Paige died from cancer at age 51. In addition to an M.A. in history from New York University, Richard had a B.A. from Ambassador College (Pasadena class of 1970) and a bachelor's degree in medical technology. In recent years the former Ambassador professor of history and archaeology worked as a medical technician at Mother Francis Hospital in Tyler, Texas. He is survived by his wife Deanne and children Michael and Shoshan (WN, 8/9/94, p. 11).


















No one seems to know when Benjamin Rea joined AC or the church. It must have been in the 1950s because he was sent to help open the Bricket Wood campus in 1960 but the precise year eludes is unknown. He died before WCG computerized the employment records in the early 1970s.





5 July 2003

ACE. Evangelist












RD (Germany)






Wrote a thesis on the first 2,500 years of man (much now known not to be completely accurate, but useful and makes one think). What happened to his library?






Agricultural expert. What became of all his research after his death?






ACE. Evangelist.

Tkach, Sr




23 Sept 1995

ACE. Evangelist. Pastor-General 16 January 1986 – 23 Sept 1995. Pushed the Church into apostasy. [many Big Sandy AC books were bought by UCG I believe]





25 Sept 2004

Famous for his article and sermon on his captivity in the hands of the Japanese and how captivity to the House of Israel is coming again.(further details below)






ACE. Evangelist






Evangelist. AC Chancellor





4 Sept 2002

Evangelist (see The Journal, Sept 2002, p.4 – see below for further details)





11 Jan 2005

Mr. Wilson first came to Ambassador College in 1958. He served as Regional Director in Canada and Australia for many years, as well as in the field ministry in the U.S. He became affiliated with the United Church of God in 1995. He died at the age of 75.






Famous for his graphic representations of the Tribulation and Day of the Lord




ACE  =  member of Advisory Council of Elders

FLD  =  Foreign Language Director

PA  =  Personal Assistant

RD  =  Regional Director



List of the first ministers – year ordained


1    Herbert Armstrong     
2    Herman L. Hoeh         
3    Raymond Cole           
4    Richard D. Armstrong
5    Roderick C. Meredith
6    Dr. C. Paul Meredith
7    Raymond F. McNair
8    Norman A. Smith
9    Herbert Burk McNair 
10  George A. Meeker, Jr.
11  Dean C. Blackwell
12  C. Wayne Cole
13  Jimmy L. Friddle, Jr.
14  David Jon Hill
15  Garner Ted Armstrong
16  Gerald D. Waterhouse
Radio Church of God congregations by 1958
San Diego                          
St. Louis
Corpus Christi
San Antonio                        
Minden (La)
Lyons (Co)
Garden City


Various Senior Men


From Church of God News, January 2003:


Fifty Years Ago


On December 20, 1952, four young men and one older man were ordained as evange­lists by Herbert W. Armstrong: his son, Richard David Armstrong (died 1958), Raymond C. Cole (died, 2001), Herman L. Hoeh, Roderick C. Meredith, and his uncle, Dr. C. Paul Meredith (deceased). Of these, only Roderick C. Meredith is still active in the ministry, heading the Living Church of God (LCG).


Other early Church elders were ordained as follows: Basil Wolverton, August 3, 1942; James F. Friddle, Jr., January 28, 1956; Marion McNair, Raymond F. McNair, June, 1953; Dean Blackwell, C. Wayne Cole, George Meeker, and Burk McNair, January 22, 1955; Garner Ted Armstrong, Norman A. Smith, and Alton B. Billingsley, January 19, 1957; Richard Prince, Jr., March 23, 1957; David Jon Hill, April 18, 1957; Gerald Waterhouse (died 2002), September 20, 1957; Carlton Smith, and Kenneth Swisher, October 6, 1957. Of these, Burk McNair, Garner Ted Armstrong, Alton B. Billingsley, and Raymond F. McNair, are still active in ministerial work.


The Journal, August 2002 (


The second installment of John Warren's oral history of the Radio/Worldwide Church of God in East Texas includes interviews with Dorothy Williams, Ken Swisher, Minnie Humphreys, Myra Cole and Buck Hammer. The print version of The Journal includes the history as well as photos of early Feast of Tabernacles observances, a 1949 Bible class at Ambassador, Eddie Eckert and Eva Armstrong (Herbert and Dwight Armstrong's mother), Dwight Armstrong, Wayne and Doris Cole and a candid shot of three young freshmen at the AC faculty reception in 1953: David Jon Hill, Garner Ted Armstrong and Norman Smith.


Herman L Hoeh


From the Autobiography of HWA (chapter 56):


College Finally Opens


Ambassador College did finally swing open its big front door to students October 8, 1947. But by that time nearly all applicants had gone elsewhere. Besides our son Dick (Richard David), there was only Raymond C. Cole, who came down from Oregon where his family had been in the Church for years; Herman L. Hoeh, who came from Santa Rosa, California; and Miss Betty Bates from Tulsa, Oklahoma -- four pioneer students -- with a faculty of eight.


Coworker Letter, 21 February 1952:


“Plans are being laid to send two of our graduate students to England, Europe, and the Holy Land this summer, to lay advance plans, and to obtain necessary information.  They are Herman Hoeh, executive editor of The GOOD NEWS, whose many splendid articles you have read, and my son Richard David Armstrong.  Dick, as we call him, has studied French eight years and speaks it like a native Frenchman.  Mr. Hoeh speaks and teaches, German; and he also speaks both Spanish and French. These are both talented and able men, now college graduates, and Mr. Hoeh will have earned his Masters' degree before leaving … My son has my radio voice.  You'll be hearing him on the program a little later.  Mr. Hoeh has already had experience preaching over the radio, and he, too, will soon begin to appear with me on The WORLD TOMORROW program.


Coworker Letter, 28 May 1971:


  Now, "Coincidence" #2:  In September, 1968, Dr. Ernest Martin, Dean of the faculty at our English campus, and Dr. Herman L. Hoeh, Dean of Faculties at Pasadena, wanted Ambassador College to conduct an archaeological project at a location in Israel, some miles north of Jerusalem.  I was personally not interested in such a project. But I consented to their visiting Jerusalem to see whether permission could be granted from the government authorities.
     Dr. Hoeh happened to be acquainted with Dr. Benjamin Mazar, archaeologist, and former President of Hebrew University.  He found Dr. Mazar at the time in charge of the most important "dig" so far undertaken, starting from the south wall of the Temple Mount. Three major United States universities had sought participation in this outstanding project.  All had been rejected.  But Professor Mazar offered a 50-50 joint participation to Ambassador College!
     This was a far more important project than Drs. Hoeh and Martin had envisioned.  They were elated, and telexed me the news, requesting that I fly to Jerusalem to inspect this opportunity.  I didn't share their enthusiasm, and was unable to go to Jerusalem at the time.
     However, about mid-October (1968) I did fly to Jerusalem to look over this project.  The "dig" had been begun a few months before.  I met Prof. Mazar and inspected the project.

     It was much more impressive than I had expected.
     I began to realize the scientific and educational value to Ambassador College.  A luncheon was held in a private dining room in the Knesset -- the government's capitol building.  Present at the luncheon were five high-ranking officials of both the university and the government.  And also, with me, were Dr. Hoeh, Mr. Charles F. Hunting, one of Ambassador's Vice Presidents in charge of finances for Britain, Europe and the Middle East, and Mr. Stanley R. Rader, our chief counsel.
     It was a most memorable luncheon.  The favor we were given in their eyes -- the warmth of their attitude toward us -- was inspiring, astonishing, and most unusual.  The Israeli Minister of Tourism and Development, Mr. Moshe Kol, proposed that we build an iron bridge that could never be broken between Ambassador College and Hebrew University.  After 2 1/2 years that "iron bridge" has been greatly strengthened.
     I did not make final decision, however, at that time.  We agreed to meet again in Jerusalem on December 1st, for final decision.  Meanwhile, Dr. Mazar, with Dr. Aviram, Dean of the College of Humanities at the university, came to Pasadena, and visited also the Texas campus, to look us over.  They liked what they saw.  And on December l, at the official residence of Israel's President, Zalman Shazar, we made the joint participation official.
     I did not learn until later that we were actually clearing away the decay, rubble and debris -- some 50-60 feet high -- over the very spot where prophecy says the returning Messiah -- Jesus Christ -- is to RULE THE WHOLE WORLD. Tremendous things have happened in this relationship since.
     So that is the manner in which this VITALLY IMPORTANT leap forward in the Work was started.  We have been given VERY GREAT favor in the eyes of both government and university chiefs in Jerusalem!


“Family and friends mourn loss of Herman Hoeh, pioneer at AC and Worldwide Church of God”, The Journal, 30 November 2004, p.1:

TUJUNGA, Calif.—Herman L. Hoeh, 75, an evangelist-ranked minister of the Worldwide Church of God and a pioneer Ambassador College student, died unexpectedly at his home in Tujunga Nov. 21.

Dr. Hoeh, originally from Santa Rosa, Calif., came to AC in 1947 as one of the first four students to attend the college. He was one of its first graduates in 1951.

He was a member of the board of directors of the church at the time of his death and had served on the boards of the college and Ambassador Foundation before his retirement in 1996.

He wrote for and edited church publications, including the WCG’s flagship magazine, The Plain Truth. He was also known for his two-volume Compendium of World History, first published in 1963 as the dissertation for his Ph.D., which he earned at AC.

Dr. Hoeh was widely respected in the WCG as well as in its many splits. He was considered by many to be an intelligent and lovable, as at home tending goats on his property as he had been teaching classes and writing articles back in the glory days of the Radio/Worldwide Church of God.

Dr. Hoeh also had ties for years to Buddhists in Southern California and Thailand. At his memorial service members of the Wat Thai temple eulogized him, along with other speakers.

Conducting the service was Rand Holm, pastor of the WCG congregation Dr. Hoeh attended in Chatsworth, Calif.

Dr. Hoeh is survived by his wife of 52 years, Isabell; a son, Manfred Hoeh; three daughters, Karline Ellis, Anneliese Roemer and Gilda Brockmeier; and nine grandchildren.

Mrs. Hoeh receives mail at 10530 Commerce Ave., Tujunga, Calif. 91042 , U.S.A.

Herman L Hoeh, Raymond McNair, Kenneth Herrmann


What about God - Revealed Knowledge? by HWA:


Ambassador College started with only FOUR students. The three male students were Herman Hoeh (now Dr. Hoeh), Raymond Cole (now District Superintendent of the New York District), and my elder son Richard David. The second year there were added Raymond McNair (now Deputy Chancellor of Ambassador College in England, and Director over the Work in Britain), his brother Marion, and Kenneth Herrmann (now Registrar of Ambassador College, Pasadena campus).


Kenneth C Herrmann, Raymond McNair


From the Autobiography of HWA (chapter 57):


Three New Students Arrive


No effort had been made to recruit any additional students, due to this situation. However, one student showed up -- a fellow from Wisconsin, named Kenneth C. Herrmann.


A very few weeks after the 1948-49 school year had started, the front doorbell of our home rang one morning while I was shaving. My wife told me that two young radio listeners from Arkansas were there to see me. I hurried down.


They introduced themselves as Marion and Raymond McNair. They had been working in the apple harvest up in Washington, but wanted to swing by Pasadena and see me on the way home.


We had a nice talk, and I was surprised to learn how much they knew about the Bible. I was intensely interested in hearing of their experience leading to this biblical knowledge, and how they came to listen to The World Tomorrow.


These boys had not had Sunday school or other religious training. They had never been taught anything about immortal souls, or going to heaven when one dies. Their very first religious training began with the Bible. They studied it daily before they were teenagers.


Some years later, they happened to hear a religious broadcast on the radio. "Why," they exclaimed in surprise, "that fellow is not preaching what's in the Bible! He's telling people just the opposite of what the Bible says!"


This aroused them to tune to other religious programs on their radio set. They were astonished and disillusioned! It seemed that all the "radio preachers" were preaching a "Christianity" that was very contrary to the Christianity of Christ, of Paul, and of the apostles which they had been receiving out of their Bible!


Then one day they heard a program coming in from a Mexican station. They were startled in happy surprise.


"Why," they exclaimed, "that fellow is preaching exactly what we have been getting out of the Bible!" That program was The World Tomorrow! They became steady listeners.


This experience was just one more example of what I have always said: Give a Bible to someone who has never had any religious teaching, and let him study it diligently, without any of the popular teachings of "Christianity," and he will believe precisely what is proclaimed on The World Tomorrow. Yet those who do believe and proclaim the PLAIN TRUTHS of the BIBLE will be branded today as "false prophets."


"Well, I hope you boys will come to Ambassador College when you've finished high school," I said.


"Oh, we're older than we look!" came the quick answer. "We've already graduated from high school."


"Well, how does it happen you're not in Ambassador College, then?" I asked.


"Well, we supposed we couldn't afford it," they replied.


"Well, look!" I said. "This is Friday morning. Can you boys find a part-time job before tonight?" I explained that college was in session only three days a week.


"Yes, Sir, we can," came the immediate and decisive answer.


"Well, you go find that job, and report to Ambassador College Monday morning," I said.


They left. And they did find jobs.


Today Mr. Raymond F. McNair is an ordained minister and Deputy Chancellor of the Pasadena campus of Ambassador College.


Roderick C Meredith


From the Autobiography of HWA (chapter 58):


Our Second Land Purchase


During those first two school years of the college we had no dormitory facilities. The seven students enrolled that second year -- 1948-49 -- were obliged to rent rooms around town. But in May, 1949, the first addition to the original two and one-quarter-acre campus came our way.


Adjoining this original bit of campus grounds, on the north, was the stately 28-room Tudor-style building called "Mayfair," with 200 feet of frontage on Terrace Drive. It added about one and three-quarters acres, giving us a campus of four acres, with magnificently landscaped grounds.


The Mayfair grounds were not in the most desirable condition. Soon after acquiring them, we completely relandscaped them. Most of the work was done by our students, using a rented bulldozer to completely recontour the sloping grounds, bringing them into harmony with the original plot.


For some two years Mayfair had been used as a rooming house. Most of the tenants had leases running another year. We were able to obtain only partial possession during 1949.


But by that autumn, after two years of rooming off campus, our students were able to take up residence ON CAMPUS! We began to feel like a real college!


That autumn the student enrollment increased to TWELVE. I have said quite a little heretofore, about TWELVE being the number of organized BEGINNINGS. For one thing, that was the first year the college had an organized student council. The first student body president of Ambassador College was my son Richard David (Dick).


Among the five new students that fall was Roderick C. Meredith. Although he was a new student with us, he was a transfer from a college in Missouri, and consequently rated as a sophomore.


Our men students took up residence on third floor Mayfair in September, 1949. We were not yet prepared to feed students. During that school year the men really "roughed it," preparing their own meals in a dark, depressing, foreboding basement room in Mayfair. It had been painted in a conglomeration of deep yellow, dark green, red, and black. In a later year, that room was modernized into a new-looking office, and served as an editorial room for The Plain Truth for some years.


Buck Hammer


The Journal November 2003:


Front page: Donor of original Texas property succumbs at 81


GLADEWATER, Texas--Buck Hammer, who in 1953 donated the original 20-25 acres of property that became the core of the Ambassador College campus near Big Sandy, died in a Longview, Texas, hospital early Saturday, Nov. 15, after a heart attack.


Mr. Hammer, 81, had complained on Friday of feeling ill. Later, at the residence of son and daughter-in-law Scott and Terrie Hammer of Gladewater, his condition worsened, so Scott called an ambulance.


Mr. Hammer died shortly after midnight in a Longview hospital.


Mr. Hammer, along with Scott, was a founder and owner of the Vital Earth Resources and Carl Pool companies, based in Gladewater. Vital Earth Resources operates the "digester," the huge metal cylinder once owned by the Worldwide Church of God and Ambassador College that processes organic waste and other materials into fertilizer and soil conditioners.


Mr. Hammer had served as an elder in the Radio/Worldwide Church of God and, more recently, the United Church of God. For several years during the operation of Ambassador College, he was its director of buildings and grounds. He was one of the WCG's first deacons, ordained in the 1950s.


"Buck was friendly to all and as a result had many, many friends," said his brother-in-law, David Antion of Pasadena, Calif.


"He was fair in his dealings and honest in his practices. He never beat around the bush, and when he had something to say to a person he said it straight out. He could say things to people in authority that most people would never dare say, and they still loved him and didn't take offense." He was "one of the stalwarts in the Church of God, and he will be sorely missed. Another era has passed with his passing."


Over the years Mr. Hammer, born in Kiefer, Okla., in 1922, had operated several businesses in the Big Sandy area, including a skating rink and several barbecue restaurants.


He is survived by two sons, Scott Hammer and Kerry Buck Hammer of Gladewater, and four daughters, Toni Cox and Barbara Husbands of Las Vegas, Nev., Becky Simpson of Longview, and Robin Johnson of Lake Arrowhead, Calif.; a brother, John David "Tony" Hammer of Dallas, Texas; and three sisters, Shirley Armstrong of Bullard, Texas, Jackie Carnes of Tyler, Texas, and Molly Antion of Pasadena.


Funeral services were Nov. 18 at a funeral home in Gladewater, with Ken Giese of Houston, Texas, officiating. Burial was in Gladewater Memorial Park, between Gladewater and Big Sandy, where two months earlier Mr. Hammer's brother-in-law, Garner Ted Armstrong, was laid to rest.


After the service was a memorial meal in the building owned by the Church of God Big Sandy.


The Hammer family receives mail at P.O. Box 401, Big Sandy, Texas 75755, U.S.A. Memorials in Mr. Hammer's honor may be made to the United Church of God East Texas Building Fund at the same address.


For recent JOURNAL articles that include interviews with Mr. Hammer, see "Feasts in Oregon and East Texas Set Pace for Early RCG," Aug. 30, 2002, and "Third Ambassador Campus Came to Big Sandy, Texas, in 1964," Sept. 30, 2002.


United Church News (


Tribute: Buck Hammer


Roy Buck Hammer, 81, an elder in God's Church for almost 30 years, who was instrumental in the design and development of the Ambassador College campus in Big Sandy, Texas, suffered a major heart attack and died early Saturday morning, Nov. 15, 2003. Funeral services were conducted on Tuesday, Nov. 18, at Croley Funeral Home in Gladewater, Texas.


Buck, as he was affectionately called, is survived by two sons and daughters-in-law, Scott and Terrie Hammer and Kerry Buck and April Hammer, all of Gladewater; four daughters and two sons-in-law, Toni Cox of Las Vegas, Nevada, Becky Simpson of Longview, Texas, Barbara and Richard Husbands of Las Vegas, and Robin and Rich Johnson of Lake Arrowhead, Californa; six grandchildren; two great-grandchildren; one brother, John David Hammer of Dallas, Texas; three sisters, Jackie Carnes of Tyler, Texas, Shirley Armstrong of Bullard, Texas, and Molly Antion of Pasadena, California. He was preceded in death by his wife of 47 years, Jeanne Hammer.


Buck Hammer was born in Keifer, Oklahoma, but spent most of his life in Texas. He was among the first deacons to be ordained in the early 1950s. He and his parents, Roy and Pearl Hammer, were instrumental in the establishment of one of the first congregations of the Church outside of Pasadena, having donated property to the Church that eventually became the Ambassador College campus in Big Sandy. Buck was instrumental in landscaping on campus, envisioning a lake and a golf course as focal points of the grounds—a vision that became reality.


Early church services and festivals were held in his parents' home in Gladewater and later, as the property was developed, in buildings that became a part of the college campus.


Buck had an interest in organic farming and was instrumental in the development of "the digester," which transformed waste into useful organic material. Working with his son Scott, he developed a company called Vital Earth Resources that continues to market organic fertilizers and soils.


Buck impacted the lives of thousands of people over the years while they were students at Ambassador or attending the Feast at Big Sandy. He was loved and respected in the Church and his community as evidenced by the over 350 people who attended his memorial service.


Gerald Waterhouse


United News, Nov 2002 (


Tribute: Gerald Waterhouse


It is doubtful that any minister has had more impact on God’s people during this age of the Church of God than Gerald Waterhouse. No minister was known personally by more brethren around the world than was Gerald. He developed close and enduring friendships wherever he traveled in God’s service. He deeply valued his close friendship with Herbert W. Armstrong.


Gerald was born Aug. 9, 1926, in the West Texas town of San Angelo, the second of five children, to Luther Isaac (Ted) and Ruth Waterhouse. His oldest brother, Roy, and his youngest brother, Van, live in San Angelo. His younger sister, Annece Havlik, lives in Crane, Texas. His brother, Don, pastors the UCG congregations in Columbia and Florence, South Carolina, and Augusta, Georgia.


Early on Gerald’s interest turned to golf. As a youngster he caddied and played golf. At North Texas State Teachers College in Denton, Texas, he played on the golf team and traveled to golf competitions. His golfing experiences led to friendships with numerous well-known golfers. Several went on to play in the Seniors PGA even to this day.


He served in the Navy on various ships and carriers during both World War II and the Korean War. While in the Navy he married, but the marriage didn’t survive his naval duty. Gerald remained unmarried the remainder of his life. Although he didn’t have children of his own, he loved his many brothers and sisters in the faith all over the world.


The World Tomorrow


Gerald first heard the World Tomorrow on radio in 1949. He was visiting his family in Mountain Home, Texas, where they were living on a subsistence income cutting cedar posts. His father, Ted, had been listening to the broadcast, yet had no interest in religion. Gerald was drawn to the voice and message of Herbert W. Armstrong. He subscribed to the literature of the Radio Church of God and soon realized he must change his life. He attended the Days of Unleavened Bread in Big Sandy, Texas, in 1953 where he was baptized. Little did he know the route his life would take from there.


Gerald entered Ambassador College in 1953 and graduated in 1956. He gave his first sermonette in November 1953 and his first sermon in 1954. He traveled throughout the United States on baptizing tours in 1954, 1955, 1956, 1958 and 1959. Mr. Armstrong ordained Gerald a preaching elder in 1956, a pastor in 1959 and an evangelist in 1963.


Around the World


Gerald served in four international offices. He replaced Richard Armstrong in London, England, in 1957. He expanded that regional office and pastored the London church, the first international congregation. Eighteen months later he opened the office in Sydney, Australia, served as regional director and pastored the churches in Sydney and Brisbane until December 1961. In 1962 he established the office in Manila, Philippines, represented the Church as regional director and pastored the church. His last overseas assignment was opening the office in Johannesburg, South Africa, as regional director and pastoring the congregation in Johannesburg.


In 1965 Gerald returned to the Church’s headquarters in Pasadena, California. Soon thereafter Mr. Armstrong assigned him to travel and speak to the churches. His first tour began Jan. 13, 1966. Over a span of 25 years he conducted 11 worldwide tours. Including his travels to open international offices, speak in the churches and speak at Feast of Tabernacles sites, Gerald circled the globe 15 times. His personal contact with most of God’s people around the world built a respect and love that remains to this day.


His first pastorate in the United States was in St. Louis and Springfield, Missouri. He also served as pastor in Denver and Pueblo, Colorado; Garden City, Kansas; Birmingham and Opp, Alabama; and San Angelo and Abilene, Texas. His last pastorate was in Miami, Florida 1977-1978. He also worked for two short periods in the Church Administration Department in Pasadena in 1975-76 and 1991-92.


Retirement and Failing Health


The Worldwide Church of God retired Gerald in August 1992 after more than 36 years of faithful service to God’s Church. He moved to the Atlantic coastal city of Port St. Lucie, Florida, bought a home and settled down to enjoy his retirement, play golf and occasionally visit the churches. He also assisted the pastor in the local congregation. Retirement had its advantages, but Gerald never lost hope that one day soon he would return to traveling and speaking to the churches around the world.


In 1997 Gerald began to suffer health problems including a swollen prostate, collapsed bladder and extreme toxemia. On death’s door, he was hospitalized at that time and his health never recovered. His condition deteriorated to the point that he was moved to an assisted living facility near his brother, Don, in Tampa, Florida.


Gerald was moved to a new assisted living facility in Columbia, South Carolina, when Don was transferred to South Carolina in June 2002. As the first resident in this facility, he received undivided care. He was doing well, had a good appetite and enjoyed where he was living even though his health was tenuous. His mobility deteriorated to the point that he used a walker or wheelchair. He could no longer attend Sabbath services.


Gerald was highly respected where he lived and developed a close relationship with several staff members. Joking with staff members and giving "thumbs up" built a short but endearing bond.


Sept. 3, 2002, Gerald enjoyed his lunch, laid down to rest as he was in the habit of doing. He called for an attendant and complained that he couldn’t get his breath. The on-duty nurse and attendant helped him as much as they were able. At the age of 76 he went to "sleep" without suffering. As several members have remarked, "Gerald is now in his place of safety." Burk McNair and Richard Pinelli officiated at his graveside service and burial at the National Cemetery in Florence, South Carolina, on Sept. 9, 2002.


Much Remembered


Gerald will be remembered for his sermons which were sincere, single-minded, dynamic and filled with colorful word pictures of the Kingdom of God. Many brethren appreciated his ability to make the promises of the world tomorrow come alive. Most everyone remembers him punctuating his sermons with the question, "Get the point?"

Serving the brethren worldwide was his most fulfilling experience and one he wouldn’t trade for any other job in the Church. He thoroughly loved what he did which was clearly reflected by his zeal, dedication, conviction and warmth.


His whole heart was focused on God’s Kingdom and the part each of us will have in that government. His messages concentrated on God, Christ and their plan to solve mankind’s ills at Christ’s second coming. He never faltered nor wavered from this vision. He clearly sought God’s Kingdom first!

Don Waterhouse


The Journal, Sept 2002:

Your life's masterpiece

In memory of Gerald D. Waterhouse (deceased Sept. 4, 2002), written by the first person Mr. Waterhouse employed in the Johannesburg office of the Radio Church of God, April 18, 1963:

Your priceless painting hangs in God's Temple eternally,

More costly than a Van Gogh, Turner, or Picasso,

So much more exquisite than diamonds or gold filigree:

Your life's masterpiece, "The Wonderful World Tomorrow."

At its center stands the King of kings, and Lord of lords,

Jesus Christ gloriously reigning Earth from Zion,

Lion of Judah--holding the Father's Word and Sword,

With the immortal saints--He rules with a rod of iron.

There's Christ's advisers, Abraham, Israel and Isaac;

There's Elijah over Education, Moses heads Law;

All nations worldwide have been healed of ev'ryone sick;

There's no more disease, no famine, pollution, no more war.

There's King David and the Apostles ruling Israel;

There's Daniel and Paul governing over all others;

Mothers, there's Job building Jerusalem to perfect scale;

At last, all the nations are peaceful, loving brothers.

There's Joseph directing the world's healthy economy;

For ev'ry problem, Christ provides the perfect solution.

There's global Restitution--there's resurrected you and me,

The whole Earth worshiping God with heartfelt adoration.

You painted with the intensity of Jeremiah,

Your brush strokes bristled with Ezekiel's warning,

But the adorning colors of the vision of Isaiah

Were the prominent hues of your Millennium's dawning.

You were the Kingdom of God's Ambassador worldwide.

You were the envoy of God's faithful end-time Apostle.

A loss to all, the Government of God you solidified;

Your contribution to the Church of God was colossal.

Geoffrey R. Neilson
Cape Town, South Africa


Herman Hoeh, Norman Smith, Dean Blackwell


The Worldwide News, 16 April 1996:


Herman Hoeh, Norman Smith, Dean Blackwell retire

By Thomas C. Hanson


Herman Hoeh, 67, retired from Media Operations, and Dean Blackwell, 64, and Norman Smith, 66, retired from Church Administration in April.


Herman L. Hoeh

Herman Hoeh was born in 1928. He entered Ambassador College in 1947 and was a member of the first graduating class in 1951.


Dr. Hoeh continues to serve on the boards of directors of the Worldwide Church of God, Ambassador University and Ambassador Foundation.


Pastor General Joseph Tkach said: "Retirement does not mean that a person no longer serves or that one stops working in the service of advancing the kingdom of God. Over the many years, Dr. Hoeh has been a blessing to our family. I am delighted that he will continue to serve on the church board of directors, as well as the board of regents for Ambassador University."


Norman Smith

Norman A. Smith was born Feb. 18, 1930, in Burnt Prairie, Illinois. He heard The World Tomorrow as a teenager there in 1946.


Career begins


He enrolled in Ambassador in 1950. In November 1951 Dick Armstrong, Mr. Armstrong's son, hired Mr. Smith to work in the radio studio recording the World Tomorrow broadcast. He became manager of the radio studio when Dick Armstrong went to England to open an office there.


"When Mr. Armstrong needed to do a broadcast, I had to be available even if it meant leaving a class," Mr. Smith said. "That happened countless times and all the professors were accustomed to my missing classes."


Mr. Armstrong did a local, daily broadcast that was shipped to all the stations that aired the program daily, and usually his schedule was to do a Sunday broadcast on Friday evening.


The editing, duplicating, addressing of labels, packaging the tapes and taking them to Los Angeles International Airport had to be done that same Friday night. By the time Mr. Smith returned from the airport it would be 3 or 4 in the morning.


"As some time passed, other men joined me in this responsibility and I had the opportunity to work with some fine men: Paul B. Smith, Edmund C. Smith and Ken Swisher to mention a few," Mr. Smith said.




Mr. Smith married fellow student Charlene Glover of Holland, Arkansas, Oct. 1, 1953, at the Feast in Big Sandy. Herman Hoeh and Isabell Kunkel were married in the morning, and the Smiths in the afternoon of the last day of the Feast of Tabernacles.


Mr. and Mrs. Smith graduated in 1954. Mr. Smith was ordained into the ministry in January 1955. He was ordained an evangelist in 1957.


The Smiths remained in Pasadena after graduation where Mr. Smith continued working in the radio studio. During the early years Mr. Smith occasionally drove to San Diego, California, to give sermons and then to Fresno, California, when that church was started. In addition to his broadcast studio responsibilities, he was the first pastor of the Redlands church; pastor of the church in Sherman Oaks when it began; and then pastor of the El Monte church.


Mr. Smith was instrumental in designing and installing the television studio on the Pasadena campus. He became director of the Television Department when it was formed in 1967. Mr. Smith served in the Radio and Television departments for 25 years. He received a master's degree in management science from West Coast University in 1976.


"In the early '70s, our department personnel were instrumental in helping me to direct my actions away from the workaholic, sacrifice-the-human-needs, get-the-work-done approach to one of listen to the cry of the people," Mr. Smith said.


"Although I had willingly spent an excessive number of hours in technical and managerial responsibilities, these kept me from becoming familiar with the employees' and church members' mental and spiritual problems."


In 1976 the Smiths were sent into the field ministry to pastor the Chico, California, church and serve as area coordinator for the church's Northwest region.


"It was a rewarding experience to be involved so personally in people's lives," Mrs. Smith said. "From this involvement began a desire to become more knowledgeable and better equipped to help people."


In 1979 Mr. Smith was transferred to the San Diego church, where he served for 71/2 years. During this time, he taught marriage communication classes, marital preparation classes, started a church support group for alcohol and drug recovery and taught child-rearing sessions as well as communications in a group format within the church.


In 1986 Mr. Smith was transferred to the San Bernardino and Banning, California, churches. There, he offered information, help and encouragement to those who had endured any type of abuse in childhood whether it had been verbal, emotional, physical or sexual. As one person said, "You not only threw me a life raft, you sent a whole battalion of ships to my rescue."


Mr. Smith completed a master's counseling program at California State University in San Bernardino in June 1993. The Smiths moved to Texas and he was accepted at East Texas State University in 1994 to work on a doctorate in counseling and guidance.


During this time of taking classes, he has also been available to speak in the Dallas area churches and to do some individual counseling with church members.


Mr. Smith expressed his full support to Mr. Tkach Sr. from the first sermon he gave on the new covenant and has encouraged people to remain with the church.


"The emphasis on Jesus Christ as our Savior, his free gift of salvation, his grace, and unconditional love will inspire us all to respond to him with gratitude and a desire to reach out with this knowledge to a needy world," Mr. Smith said.


Mr. Smith offered encouragement to Mr. Tkach Sr. and continues to offer it to his son.


Plans for retirement


The Smiths plan to relocate to Oregon.


"After the call from Richard Rice [assistant director of Church Administration for the United States] about retirement, Charlene and I have done a lot of talking and praying about the decisions we need to make.


"I developed a health problem about eight months ago, which is not resolved yet. Charlene is concerned that I need to take time to work on my health. "I have worked for the church for 44 years. We have three adult children, Deborah, who lives in Escondido, California; Kyle in San Jose, California; and Kevan in Portland, Oregon.

"Most of Charlene's immediate family live in Oregon. We have two grandchildren who need us to be more involved in their lives," Mr. Smith said. "We look to Jesus Christ for guidance regarding how we can best serve the church in the future."


Secure relationship in Christ


"I try to be aware of Satan's schemes to prevent members from having a trusting, secure relationship with Jesus Christ," Mr. Smith said. "It is rewarding to see people change and grow as they are offered acceptance, love and empathic concern. The new programs of the church to serve the needs of the members are rewarding and encouraging.


"I attempt to look at both the great progress the church has made since I have been a part of it and also admit the mistakes that have seriously hindered some people's ability to see the love of Jesus Christ.


"Admitting the mistakes does not mean to dwell on them. But, admitting the mistakes is a form of reaching out to those who have been hindered and have faltered. Focusing on the foundation that has been laid and actively participating in the innovative programs of reflecting the love and mercy of Jesus Christ is the task that will bring great rewards.


"I hope to give more attention to the needs of my family and serve in whatever way Jesus Christ leads me."


Mr. Tkach said: "Norman Smith is a gifted man who has always had a heart for the people he served. He continues to take classes toward completing a graduate degree program and I know that he and Charlene will be of continuing service to the church and perhaps the university as well. While they are entering their retirement years, I know they will continue to serve as God gives them the talent and gifts to do so."


Dean Blackwell

Dean Blackwell has served in a variety of positions in more than 43 years in the ministry.


Mr. Tkach said: "Mr. Blackwell has a special gift of encouragement. He has developed this talent in learning from many and varied experiences while serving in the ministry.


"He has long been a loving inspiration to me, and I have known him as `Uncle Dean' for many years. His family has always been a part of our family and always will be.


"His energy to grow and never stop learning has left a lasting impression on me. Even now, in retirement, he is working on a graduate degree in theology. I believe that in many ways, his greatest ministerial work lies ahead of him, even in retirement."


Roots in Texas

Dean Blackwell was born Oct. 12, 1931, in Longview, Texas. He graduated from Kilgore, Texas, High School in 1949. His wife graduated from Sabine, Texas, High School in 1953.


Mr. Blackwell wrote to church headquarters in 1952 during his junior year at Texas A&M after hearing the World Tomorrow broadcast.


He was baptized in 1952 and began attending Ambassador College in Pasadena in 1952.


On June 1, 1953, at the end of his first year at Ambassador, Mr. Blackwell was ordained into the ministry.


He returned home to Kilgore that summer and married Maxine Tankersley June 16, 1953, in the Redwood Building, which is now the library of Ambassador University. They started a church that summer, which met in the Redwood Building.


Since there was no salary for being the pastor, Mr. Blackwell worked in the oil fields during the day.


The Blackwells returned to Pasadena in the fall as married students.


Mr. Blackwell graduated in 1954. He was the 11th to graduate from the college since it started in 1947.


After graduation the Blackwells were sent to Eugene, Oregon, to pastor the church there and the one in Portland, Oregon.


In January 1955 Mr. Blackwell was ordained a pastor. The Salem, Oregon, church was added to his circuit in the summer of 1955.


In 1956 the Blackwells were transferred to pastor the Chicago, Illinois, and St. Louis, Missouri, churches. After six months, he started the Milwaukee, Wisconsin, church.


Mr. Blackwell said: "We'd leave at noon on Friday and get back at midnight on Saturday night, traveling 850 miles plus preaching about six hours.


"Sometimes I would take a train to St. Louis for Friday night church and then take an overnight train back to Chicago for Sabbath morning church, and then go to Milwaukee for afternoon church.


The Blackwells spent nine years in the Chicago area--from 1956 to 1965 with the exception of a semester of courses in Pasadena in the fall of 1957.


Mr. Blackwell was ordained an evangelist in 1964. In the fall of 1965 he went back to Pasadena for a semester of classes. Then in January 1966 they moved to Kansas City, Missouri, where they remained for 61/2 years.


Mr. Blackwell was an instructor at Ambassador College in Big Sandy from 1972 to 1977.


From 1977 to 1979 the Blackwells pastored the Midland, Abilene and San Angelo, Texas, churches, and had seven Bible studies in West Texas, and one in Hobbs, New Mexico.


After returning to Pasadena he taught homiletics to ministerial candidates and Senior Bible at the church's Imperial Schools until 1985.


From January to Dec. 31, 1985, he conducted a Ministerial Education Program for Philippine ministers in Baguio City, because most of them were unable to attend Ambassador. Upon his return to Pasadena he again taught homiletics and Senior Bible.


Mr. Blackwell also pastored the Pasadena headquarters church for a couple of years.


Current activities


When asked what he is doing now, Mr. Blackwell replied: "Studying, studying, studying." He is working on a master's degree in theology from Azusa Pacific University.


"Taking 12 hours of graduate school work is tough, tough, tough. I really love the classes and the atmosphere at Azusa Pacific."


This semester Mr. Blackwell is taking Theology II, Church History and Gospels Witness to Christ, which is taught by theologian and author Ralph Martin.


Dr. Martin, who is in his 70s, is from England, and "assigns homework as if his is the only class you're taking."


The Theology II class has a variety of students, Mr. Blackwell said: one Lutheran minister, two Korean women, a Japanese woman and young man, a minister from Ventura, California (about two hours from campus), and his assistant, who is also a lawyer, a computer guru who served as a missionary eight years in the jungles of Brazil, a Pentecostal pastor who works in southeast Los Angeles with gangs and a woman who does social work with disabled children.


"They all stated their desires to serve God wherever and in whatever way he wishes them to," Mr. Blackwell said.


"Everyone is so polite, respectful to gray hair, and the atmosphere is much like Ambassador."


When Mr. Blackwell graduates in May 1997 they will move back to East Texas.


Over the past few years he has served as a peacemaker and troubleshooter as he and his wife church sat in many congregations.


About changes in the church Mr. Blackwell said: "How nice not to be so judgmental and negative about other Christians.


"What a relief to know grace and to have the gift of righteousness and salvation from God. I still love the Sabbath and Holy Days, and they mean more than they ever did.


"Thank God for the faithful brethren who have stood behind the church with their prayers and tithes and offerings."


Children and grandchildren


Dean and Maxine Blackwell have four children: Regina Ann Martz (who died in 1992 at the age of 37), Rhonda Gail Massey, Bonnie Lynn Hackman and Jeffrey Dean Blackwell; and four grandchildren: Jordan Martz, Michelle Marie Massey and Brent and Brian Dean Hackman.


Garner Ted Armstrong (


Evangelist Garner Ted Armstrong dies


Evangelist Garner Ted Armstrong, best known for his "World Tomorrow" program, died yesterday from complications from pneumonia at a hospital near his home in Tyler, Texas. He was 73.


"I know that all of you prayed with all you had as we did here, and fully expected God's intervention," said Armstrong's son, Mark, in a statement. "We cannot fully understand why the healing we begged for was not granted. But God's thoughts are not our thoughts, and He has plans sometimes that we as mortal humans cannot see."


Armstrong had been hospitalized since late last month, and had previously shown signs of improvement, according to a spokesman.


Armstrong was founder of the Intercontinental Church of God and Garner Ted Armstrong Evangelistic Association, and son of Worldwide Church of God founder Herbert W. Armstrong, who died in 1986.


"I know that my dad fully expected that his work will continue, and we all have an enormous responsibility to make certain that his work has not been in vain, and that his voice will not be silenced," Mark Armstrong said. "His broadcasts will continue, his wisdom and his knowledge will constantly be made available to the church and to the public at large in the unique way only he has been able to explain and portray the truths of God."


"The World Tomorrow" broadcasts, which aired in the U.S. and dozens of other countries, focused on current news events in the light of biblical prophecy, as it looked toward the "coming kingdom of God."


For more than four decades, Armstrong interviewed many national and world leaders. During the height of the Cold War, he proclaimed that the Soviet Union was not the main worry to the United States, but warned that a "United States of Europe" under German leadership was the real coming threat.


He also was a strong voice against homosexuality, being precluded in recent years from broadcasting on some stations which disagreed with that message.


Regarding New York's new high school created specifically for homosexual students, Armstrong wrote on July 30:


"Can you imagine the shrieks of outrage from liberals if some group announced they were opening a new high school for 'straight kids only?' Think about it."


Armstrong wrote dozens of articles and booklets on a wide range of subjects, arguing against the theory of evolution, against world government, and he recently ripped those who keep suggesting Islam is a religion of peace and not inherently tied to terrorism.


"Only a blithering fool can deny the connection," Armstrong wrote last month. "Apparently, there are plenty of those in the U.N., and in many a national government which struggles against terrorism."


He also believed the U.S. and Britain are the leading powers in modern times because they are recipients of ancient promises made by God to the physical descendants of Israel, as he claims both countries trace their lineage back to Israel's son Joseph of the Old Testament.


His published books include "The Real Jesus" and "Peter's Story."


Armstrong's theology differed from that of much of traditional Christianity – or "churchianity" as he sometimes called it.


Among the biggest differences, Armstrong believed:


God is not a trinity, but rather a family currently consisting of two members (God the Father and Jesus Christ), with the potential of adding countless numbers of humans born into that family in a future resurrection;


Christians should observe the weekly and annual Sabbath days mentioned in the Bible; and Christians should abstain from holidays whose traditions he said were of pagan origin, including Easter and Christmas. During a December interview with WorldNetDaily on the history of the winter holiday, Armstrong stood by his long-running statement that "it is impossible to 'put Christ back in Christmas,' since He was never in Christmas in the first place!"


"It would be a sin for me [to celebrate Christmas], but it doesn't mean it's the unpardonable sin," Armstrong said, stressing he didn't feel at all threatened by the holiday.


"I have no more difficulty walking through Beijing at the Chinese New Year and seeing the dragons and fireworks. It doesn't affect me. ... [the Apostle] Paul says the idol is nothing."


Born in Portland, Ore., in 1930, Armstrong was raised in Eugene before joining the Navy, graduating from college, and embarking in a career in evangelism and analysis of current events in the mid-1950s.


According to the Tyler Morning Telegraph, "Armstrong was seen by an estimated 20 million Americans weekly on television and his radio show was broadcast in five languages to every inhabited continent on more than 300 radio stations."


ICG announcements:




Garner Ted Armstrong died on the 15th of September at 1:20 PM local Tyler, Texas time.  Following is the biographical information we sent to the various news media.


Garner Ted Armstrong is president of the Intercontinental Church of God of Tyler, Texas, and the Garner Ted Armstrong Evangelistic Association.


Born in Portland, Oregon, in 1930, his boyhood was spent in Eugene. He enlisted in the Navy in 1948 and spent four years in the service, aboard an aircraft carrier during the Korean War. He entered Ambassador Col-lege and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in 1956. He earned his M.A. in 1960, and his Ph.D. in 1966.


By 1957, Garner Ted Armstrong had become the full-time speaker on the World Tomorrow radio program. The broadcast grew to reach every inhabited continent and was rebroadcast in five languages on more than 300 radio stations.


He made his first television programs in 1955. By the early 1970's, he was seen on over 165 television stations and for many years commanded a weekly audience of approximately twenty million Americans.


Mr. Armstrong has interviewed many world leaders and national figures over the last four decades and has written dozens of articles and booklets on world, social, economic and religious conditions, and has published two books.


His speaking is always up-to-the-moment, informative, relevant, challenging, and thought-provoking. Topics of special expertise include the Middle East, Education, Criminal Justice, The Laws of Success, Child Training, Geopolitics, and current affairs in relation to biblical prophecy.


The Garner Ted Armstrong program can be seen every Monday at 5:00 a.m. central, 6:00 a.m. eastern over super-station WGN.




Following is the official announcement written by Mark Armstrong:


Dear Concerned Friends,


It is with a broken heart that I must inform all of you that my precious Dad, Garner Ted Armstrong, died today at 1:20 pm.  I know that all of you prayed with all you had as we did here, and fully expected God's interven-tion.  We cannot fully understand why the healing we begged for was not granted.  But God's thoughts are not our thoughts, and He has plans sometimes that we as mortal humans cannot see.


I know that my Dad fully expected that his work will continue, and we all have an enormous responsibility to make certain that his work has not been in vain, and that his voice will not be silenced.  His broadcasts will continue,  his wisdom and his knowledge will constantly be made available to the church and to the public at large in the unique way only he has been able to explain and portray the truths of God.


I'm in the process of contacting all of the area coordinators and leaders throughout this fine organization you all have helped my Dad build.  I will be looking to them for wisdom and council.  Thank God for the fine gentle-men who have unselfishly given of themselves during this most recent phase of my Dad's ministry. Thank you all for the generous support you've shown my Father.  He appreciated all of you and constantly thanked God for you.


Mark Armstrong


Reprinted from The Journal: News of the Churches of God, Sept. 30, 2003.

Front page: Garner Ted Armstrong's passing marks end of an era for many in the Churches of God

By Dixon Cartwright

TYLER, Texas--Many Church of God members acknowledged that the passing of Garner Ted Armstrong in September marked the end of an era for COG fellowships and ministries with roots in the Worldwide Church of God.

Mr. Armstrong died in a Tyler hospital Sept. 15 of complications from pneumonia.

For two decades, from 1957 to 1978, he was a powerful presence on AM radio, preaching a message of "the wonderful world tomorrow" to millions of listeners over hundreds of radio stations and--beginning in the 1960s--to television viewers as well.

The son of WCG founder Herbert W. Armstrong, Garner Ted, via The World Tomorrow, was the first contact thousands of Church of God members had with the Radio/Worldwide Church of God, based in Pasadena, Calif.

He served as an administrator over the college and its founding church, second in rank only to his father.

After a tumultuous separation from his father's church in 1978, the younger Mr. Armstrong was a founder of the Church of God International near Tyler.

After a painful separation from the CGI two decades later, in 1998 he founded the Intercontinental Church of God, also based near Tyler, and the current incarnation of the Garner Ted Armstrong Evangelistic Association.

While an evangelist and chief administrator for the Tyler churches, he continued broadcasting, writing and making "personal appearances" to people attracted to his ministry in the United States and other countries.

Initial statement

Mr. Armstrong's son, Mark, released a statement shortly after his father's death. He wrote:

"It is with a broken heart that I must inform all of you that my precious dad, Garner Ted Armstrong, died today at 1:20 p.m. I know that all of you prayed with all you had as we did here, and fully expected God's intervention. We cannot fully understand why the healing we begged for was not granted. But God's thoughts are not our thoughts, and He has plans sometimes that we as mortal humans cannot see . . .

"I'm in the process of contacting all of the area coordinators and leaders throughout this fine organization you all have helped my dad build. I will be looking to them for wisdom and counsel. Thank God for the fine gentlemen who have unselfishly given of themselves during this most recent phase of my dad's ministry. Thank you all for the generous support you've shown my father."

Near family members

Mr. Armstrong, 73, was laid to rest Sept. 18 in Gladewater Memorial Park, off U.S. Highway 80 between Gladewater and Big Sandy, Texas, four miles down the road from the former campus of Ambassador College.

His grave lies next to a huge old live-oak tree near the graves of members of the Roy Hammer family.

Roy Hammer was the father-in-law of Garner Ted Armstrong. Roy's son Buck (who was in attendance at the funeral and brief graveside service) was the donor in the early 1950s of the original parcel of land that became the central area of the campus of Ambassador College, which began near Big Sandy in 1964.

Mr. Armstrong's interment came after a funeral attended by an estimated more than 600 people at Croley Funeral Home in Gladewater with ICG elder George Trent of Princeton, W.Va., officiating.

Mr. Armstrong is survived by his wife, the former Shirley Hammer, sons Mark, David and Matthew, five grandchildren, and a sister, Dorothy Mattson of Sun City West, Ariz.

Pallbearers were Mr. Armstrong's three sons, Mark, David and Matthew; Mark Petkovich of Austin, Texas; Chester Roberson of Frankston, Texas; and Earl Timmons of Lexington, Ky.

The service took place in the chapel of the mortuary, which could accommodate about 200 seated persons. However, many others sat or stood in other rooms, hallways and a lobby throughout the facility, which is a former residence converted into a mortuary in the mid-'90s.

Bubba Smith, Croley Funeral Home manager, estimated as many as 700 people sat or stood in the chapel and in other areas of the building while the audio from the service could be heard everywhere in the facility.

Mark Armstrong delivered his father's eulogy, saying he was "one of the foremost teachers and professors of the misunderstood truths of God in this time."

Garner Ted, said his son, could "get people to look into their own hearts and look into their Bibles."

He said that anyone who had been "out of touch" with Mr. Armstrong over the past several years had "missed his very best work."

Mark said his father "was a wonderful dad" and "a romantic and loving husband to my sweet mother." He was "a disciplinarian, but was forgiving."

Mark Armstrong departed from his prepared text to read a message of condolence and remembrance from family friend Robert Kuhn of Pasadena, Calif. (which he also read at Sabbath services at ICG headquarters two days later).

Good-bye, friends

Mr. Trent delivered the funeral sermon, which included an outline of the plan of God as understood by many people in the congregations and ministries derived from the Worldwide Church of God.

The service--the two messages and a prayer--lasted a little less than an hour.

Mr. Trent said the "200 to 300 splinter groups" from the Worldwide Church of God owed their "core teachings" to Garner Ted Armstrong and his father, Herbert W. Armstrong.

Mark Armstrong encouraged Church of God members not to let his father's work "be in vain."

He ended his message with the words Mr. Armstrong had pronounced at the end of thousands of radio broadcasts, "Good-bye, friends."

GTA early history

Mr. Armstrong was born Feb. 9, 1930, in Portland, Ore. He served in the U.S. Navy on an aircraft carrier during the Korean War.

He entered Ambassador College in Pasadena, the school founded by his father, in 1956.

Although newspaper obituaries in the days after his death listed two books among his writings (apart from church-produced works such as The Plain Truth About Child-Rearing), Mr. Armstrong wrote at least three books published by outside publishing firms.

He wrote The Real Jesus, released in 1977, and Peter's Story: A New Gospel, in 1978, published by Sheed, Andrews and McMeel of Kansas City (the latter was revised and rereleased in 1981 under Mr. Armstrong's Emerald Enterprises label), and a novel, Churchill's Gold, published in 1988 by Tudor Communications, New York, which Mr. Armstrong wrote under the pseudonym William Talboy Wright.

No changes

Mark Armstrong and Mr. Trent also both spoke at the Sabbath service on Sept. 20 at ICG headquarters, in Flint, south of Tyler.

Mr. Armstrong said that "we here at headquarters in Tyler intend to carry this work and my father's message forward as long as God provides the strength and support. There will be no--capital N capital O--changes in doctrine or policy. The Sabbath, the holy days and the true doctrines of God's church will continue to be honored and observed."

After noting that the Armstrong family is "shocked, incredulous, stupefied" because of his father's demise, Mr. Armstrong noted that some fellow ICG members have urged him to step into his father's shoes.

But "I hope you'll understand when I say his shoes are huge and too big for me," he said. "For now I'll do my best to step up to the plate as it's required and appropriate."

Mr. Armstrong said his father's "beautiful sermons, books and television programs will always be made available" through the church and the Garner Ted Armstrong Evangelistic Association.

"My dad's sickness and now his death have brought us close to God," he said. "Now let's stay there."

Mr. Armstrong noted that the church's area coordinators and other leaders, "all of them, have pledged their loyalty to me," and "I take that very humbly and solemnly."

At one point Mr. Armstrong referred to himself "and the other ministers," then quickly corrected himself, referring instead to himself "and the ministers," an apparent indication he does not consider himself to be an elder or evangelist.

However, some in attendance at the Sabbath service said they were in the process of urging Mr. Armstrong to assume many of his father's responsibilities, including television broadcasting.

But Mr. Armstrong said the church will continue to sponsor his father's telecasts, including its airing on WGN in Chicago, Ill.

Mr. Armstrong, addressing the Sabbath-service audience, said, "I know that you respect and admire my dad greatly. How could you not?"

Making a difference

In his Sabbath sermon Mr. Trent described what he considers to be "the most endearing quality" of members of the Intercontinental Church of God.

A trait that he said "typifies" the ICG is that its members are "willing to forgive."

"They say that of the 250 to 300 fellowship groups out there, we're all the same," he said.

"We have the Sabbath. We have the holy days. We tithe.

"There may be a few differences about the place of safety and about the seven church eras.

"But I'm here to tell you that there is one very important difference.

"The Intercontinental Church of God took on the nature of its leader, and I can assure you when he breathed his last breath on that hospital bed over in Tyler, Texas, he had no animosity against any man, because he had in him the capacity to forgive."

Mr. Trent mentioned Israel's watchman, prophesied in Ezekiel 33.

"Mr. Armstrong was the watchman," he said. "Mr. Armstrong is still the watchman. Mr. Armstrong, in my eyes, will always be the watchman."

He concluded with a warning to "grievous wolves."

"This church is solid," Mr. Trent said, so "all you wolves that intend to cover yourselves up in sheep's clothing, you just forget it. The work of God will continue as it is until Jesus Christ returns because we're built on a solid foundation, and that foundation is the Rock."

Contact information

The Armstrong family receives mail at the Garner Ted Armstrong Evangelistic Association, 17444 Highway 155 S., Flint, Texas 75762, U.S.A.

E-mail messages to the family and church may be sent in care of Chris Cumming at

See also "Garner Ted Armstrong in Hospital With Pneumonia," The Journal, Aug. 31.

See also tributes to and comments about Mr. Armstrong in articles beginning on pages 3 and 5 of this issue and in letters to the editor, beginning on page 2.


Reprinted from The Journal: News of the Churches of God, Sept. 30, 2003.

Editorial: 'The Voice' was my greatest influence, The Journal

James Tabor is professor of ancient Judaism and early Christianity at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

By James Tabor

CHARLOTTE, N.C.--I am deeply saddened to hear of Ted Armstrong's death. My sympathies go out to his family and all who knew him well and loved him.

The Scriptures admonish, "Remember your Creators [Hebrew is plural] in the days of your youth," which I take to mean parents, mentors and others who have contributed to our lives in positive ways.

I can honestly say, though I know it was Herbert Armstrong in the beginning, that beginning from age 17 or so, when I used to listen to him on the radio as a senior in high school six days a week, it was through Garner Ted Armstrong that I was turned toward a biblical understanding of the God of Israel.

The most influence

I suppose, given that measure, he could be said to be the most influential person in my life.

Through that initial experience I have made lifelong and loyal friends from whom I could be separated only by death.

My academic and scholarly career was set on a course that contributed toward the recapture of the essential Hebraic roots of the early messianic movement led by Yeshua the Nazarene, John the Baptizer and James the brother.

I doubt I would have ever seen the Hebraic way of looking at things except through that work. And here I am, 40 years later, still wrestling with the great issues of God, Torah and Israel and the plans of our Creator in terms of the Kingdom of God "on earth" as it is in heaven.

I am profoundly sad to lose this talented and incredible Voice. There is no one out there who can fill these shoes.

I am also sorry that he was not able to find himself more fully, because I think he could have done much more. I am sure he felt that too the last few years.

Personal correspondence

I will miss him, though I did not know him as closely as many others. I spent some time with him face to face, but most treasured to me are some personal letters he wrote me, long letters, so they were not formalities, a decade or so after my Ph.D. experience at Chicago when I was searching so desperately for a place of faith again within the biblical tradition.

He was very gracious and understanding and incredibly encouraging.

I realize that many had other experiences and feel profoundly negative things about HWA, GTA and the whole WCG experience.

My contacts, memories and dealings were always totally positive. I know there are others who can say the same.

This is not to negate another's experience but simply to record a different one.


Ernest Martin


Biography of Dr. Ernest L. Martin

Founder, Associates For Scriptural Knowledge:


A.S.K.'s Founder, Dr. Ernest L. Martin (died January 2002), was born in Meeker, Oklahoma on April 20, 1932. He attended grade and high school in Exeter, California and graduated from the College of the Sequoias in Visalia, California (specializing in Meteorology). He was a member of United States Air Force from 1950 to 54, and was sent by the Air Force to the University of New Mexico for advanced Meteorological training. He forecasted the weather in Greenland for a year, another year at Research and Development in High Altitude studies at Lowry AFB, Denver, Colorado. He changed careers in 1955 from science to social science (Theology and History).


He attended Ambassador College (now University and accredited) for B.A. (1958), M.A. in Theology (1962), and Ph.D. in Education (1966). He was Secretary of the Board at Ambassador campus in England from 1960 to 72 and Senior Professor of History and Theology and Elementary Meteorology. He was Dean of Faculty at Ambassador campus in England from 1966 to 72.


He secured the alliance of Ambassador with Hebrew University in the largest archaeological excavation in Israel near the Western (Wailing) Wall from 1969 through 1973. He supervised 450 college students for those five years at the archaeological site in Jerusalem for the summer months and Time magazine featured his program for providing academic credits for archaeological work during that period.


Dr. Martin became Chairman of the Department of Theology at Ambassador in Pasadena, California in 1973. He left Ambassador in 1974 (and gave up his tenured professorship) and started FBR (the Foundation for Biblical Research) in Pasadena. He was Chairman of the Board of FBR from 1974 to 85. He left FBR to found the Associates for Scriptural Knowledge (A.S.K.) in 1985 and was Chairman of the Board. He was a Member of the Society of Biblical Literature and the Planetarium Society, and was listed in the (1997,'98,'99) editions of Who's Who in America, also Who's Who in Religion, Who's Who in Education, and Who's Who in Biblical Studies and Archaeology.


He authored over 200 special theological and historical studies in printed form, and over 400 cassette taped lectures on similar subjects, and appeared numerous times on Television and Radio programs in which he was interviewed. He was married to Ramona Jean Martin and had two daughters Kathryn and Phyllis and one son Samuel, and several grandchildren. His primary profession was that of advanced studies as a Research Theologian and Historian with a deep interest in the relationship between the subjects of Science and Biblical matters.


He was an ordained Christian minister in the A.S.K. ekklesia (translated as "church" in the King James Version). Dr. Martin was first ordained in London, England in January 2, 1959 by the Worldwide Church of God; then FBR in January 1974; and finally ASK in January 1985.


Presence Ministries International (


About the Author: Dr. Ernest L. Martin (1932-2002) was an independent scholar who emerged out the Worldwide Church of God. From 1969 through 1973, he worked in alliance with Hebrew University in the largest archaeological excavation in Israel near the Western Wall, during summers. He left Ambassador in 1974 (and gave up his tenured professorship) and started FBR (the Foundation for Biblical Research) in Pasadena. He was Chairman of the Board of FBR from 1974 to 85. He left FBR to found the Associates for Scriptural Knowledge <> (A.S.K.) in 1985.


He authored over 200 special theological and historical studies in printed form, and over 200 cassette taped lectures on similar subjects, and appeared numerous times on Television and Radio programs in which he was interviewed. He was best known as author of The Star that Astonished the World (1996), advancing an alternative date for the birth of Christ, in 2 B.C. To date, over 600 planetariums around the orld use base their Christmas shows on his research. Although a premillennialist, he was an ardent advocate of Scriptural truth and the need for justice and reconciliation among all peoples. In the winter of 2000, Presence Ministries arranged a speaking tour for Martin in Jerusalem, where he presented his alternative temple location theory to various Christian, Jewish and Muslim scholars in Jerusalem.


Lynn Torrance


The Journal Issue no. 92:


Lynn Torrance dies

BIG SANDY, Texas—Lynn E. Torrance, an elder in the Living Church of God and former registrar of Ambassador College, died unexpectedly at his home here Sept. 25.


Dr. Torrance, 86, had been a longtime member of the Radio/Worldwide Church of God.


Besides serving as registrar at AC, he taught classs, including international relations and speech. He is survived by his wife, Lou orrance, two sons, Jim Torrance of Dallas, Texas, and David Torrance of Atlanta, Ga., and several grand-children.


Virtual Christian Magazine (

Comfort One Another

By Mark Mickelson 


It is known in history as the Bataan Death March. As the Japanese forces overran the Philippines during World War II, about 75,000 American and Filipino soldiers were captured and brutally mistreated by their captors. Already suffering from malnutrition and disease, the exhausted captives were forced to march 65 miles across the Bataan Peninsula. As they marched, any who fell back were shot or bayoneted. Those who fell down were killed and pushed aside. The sick were left for dead. When the survivors reached the ocean they were locked up inside a stifling hot compartment on a ship. These men were not given food or water. Many died without any consideration or mercy. In Japan they were put in a prisoner of war camp and many more died there as well.

Very few actually made it. One of those who survived was Lynn Torrance. Dr. Torrance was the registrar at Ambassador College when I met him. My acquaintance with him began when I was a student and grew over the years. I came to both respect and love him. Because of this experience, Dr. Torrance lost his health. The vast majority of his fellow soldiers died. But he made it out of there and told stories that I can't bear to repeat.

When he returned home after the war, he determined as much as possible to never complain again. No matter how bad it got, he believed it couldn't possibly be any worse than what he had already been through.

Despite his trials, Dr. Torrance was able to encourage and joke. He had a light-hearted perspective on life that made him a pleasure to be around. This wasn't because life was easy. His life was hard. Few indeed have ever experienced life as he experienced it. But he took life at its best. And he managed with God's help to turn things around so that he--who had every reason to wallow in self-pity--became one who helped to comfort others.

Don Billingsley's%20Bio.html:

My Personal Background

I grew up in a farming community in Oklahoma in a family with two brothers and three sisters (none ever came to be members of the Church)...At age 18 I was drafted into the army and after my training in the infantry I was sent to Germany as a replacement and entered into combat in January, 1945.

After being discharged I returned to Oklahoma but only stayed for a short while and then made my way to Stockton, California. It was here that I met the woman who came to be the wife that I had prayed for about a year or so before I went into the army. I had prayed and told God that I wanted to be a Christian in the future and I asked Him to bless me with the right wife who would also want to be a Christian.

The first time I saw her I had a feeling this was the woman I would marry and in less than 6 weeks we were married on June 29, 1946, in Reno, Nevada.

It was about the middle of 1951 that God began working with me. Unknowing to me, God began working with my wife about the same time. This was before we knew of Mr. Armstrong.

We were both baptized in 1952 in Oklahoma City and continued living there until I resigned from my job in Civil Service. This resignation took place after our driving to Big Sandy, Texas for the observance of the Passover in 1953.

We were so moved by what we learned from Gods apostle, who gave most of the sermons during the Days of Unleavened Bread that followed, we both knew we had to go where the Church was, so we could learn and be with others of like faith and belief. When we returned home I turned in my two weeks notice of resignation immediately.

Always, to this day, we have been very grateful that God led us to go to Pasadena where we could be taught the TRUTH, and possibly be used by Him in some way in the future. That was our desire.

Ambassador College, Pasadena

The college, being as small as it was at that time and in the few years that followed, made it possible for us to build on our foundation that began in Oklahoma City in early 1952. As the result of being so small during the 50's, it made possible our becoming very well acquainted with both Mr. and Mrs. Armstrong, as well as all the others who were there as faculty members, students and members.

We were helped greatly by my being hired as the college chauffeur at Ambassador College right after the Feast of Tabernacles in 1953. This made it possible for us to attend classes which we did. My wife worked some in the home of Mr. And Mrs. Armstrong and some in the home of their daughter, Beverly. Some little time later she began working in the kitchen at A/C.

My Ordinations

I was ordained a deacon in 1957. On June 7, 1958, I was ordained a local elder. Mr. Richard D. Armstrong chose me to serve on the visiting program and then to team up with him to go on a baptizing tour in central California. Though I do not want to go into detail, we had a terrible automobile accident (my fault) from which he died a few days later.

After the accident, I was appointed the coordinator of the Visiting Program in Pasadena and served there in that position under Mr. Meredith.

The baptizing tour we had started was completed a few weeks later, by my being teamed up with Mr. Gerald Waterhouse. The following year I was chosen to head another baptizing tour in central California. with Mr. James Kunz.

The Beginning of Transfers

My wife and I remained at the college until shortly before the Feast of Tabernacles in 1960 at which time we were transferred to San Diego, California to be the co-pastor of that Church. That was the beginning of numerous transfers over the years to different Church areas until we were finally transferred here in the Modesto, California area in 1991.

The Hard and Trying Times

God has continued to richly bless us through His wonderful love that He instilled within us in the very beginning and kept it alive through these hard and trying years.

Had God not blessed us in this, manner I seriously question whether we could have endured the hard trials we have experienced over past years until now (II Thessalonians 2:10).

In light of what many of the scattered members are having to live through now, my wife and I had to live through the same in 1952 and part of 1953 while living in Oklahoma City. This period of time strengthened the foundation God was building in us when we lived alone with no other Church members with whom we could fellowship.

We had to pray several times a day and likewise study our Bibles to keep our relationship alive and strong with God, just as many of Gods people are now doing.

Once we learned of Mr. Armstrong and began hearing the daily Radio Broadcasts and receiving the literature, we really began to learn. I will add that what I read I also proved from the Bible. So, there is no need for me to go back and prove it all over again. I will also add that I knew Mr. Armstrong was God's true minister and have never doubted or questioned it.

Departure from WCG

Because I would not preach the Protestant teachings, it finally led to the son of the Pastor-General, to say to the head of Church Administration, that they either had to fire or retire me.

The telephone call came, and I was told they were going to send another minister over to this Church area who would preach the "new" teachings. I was not allowed to preach there any more.

I felt the need of remaining with the members during the little time I yet had remaing there (less than a month or so), and as the result, well over 100 members remained with me out of the approximate 300 in the Modesto, California Church. A few remained with us from the Stockton, California Church, that I was also pastoring at that time. Four elders also remained with me. We left two weeks before the Passover in 1995.

In addition, a few members and one elder from the Fresno, California Church and drove down each Sabbath to attend services with us.

Dean Wilson

UCG Coworker Letter, 14 January 2005:

The Feast of Pentecost is yet five months away, but I have been thinking a lot about an aspect of the meaning of that day in light of the death earlier this week of Mr. Dean Wilson. He and his wife, Marolyn, were a team that for 40 years had a profound influence overseeing the work of the Church in Canada and Australia, and serving several congregations in the United States. Under his leadership the operations in Canada and Australia grew and thrived, but not in numbers only. As a fellow Council member told me today, "There were times when I wished I could have served in Canada, because Dean Wilson had a wonderful reputation for being a developer of people." Another longtime friend assessed his life this way: "He was absolutely serious about everything in the Word of God, but he never took himself too seriously."

E-mail, 15 January 2005:

Today a friend called me to let me know Mr. Wilson passed away.  I did not react right away, because it generally takes me some moments to get used to the shock. Then later the tears came.

I have known the Wilson's for 20 years, which is three quarters of my life.  When we first moved to Portland and began attending Dean Wilson's church in 1985, I vividly remember how friendly the church was and the impression made upon my parents.  Mr. Wilson always made time for everyone.  Even the little ones.  I particularly remember one short conversation with Mr. Wilson when I was seven.  I was sitting down by myself, and he came over and started talking to me.  He told me he liked my sweater, and asked me what I liked to do.  We talked about trivial things. The things most adults at church would not waste their time with, but it meant the world to me at seven.  I saved that sweater, because my mother made it for me.  I run across it every few years, and I think of Mr. Wilson. The South Porltland congregation was split between the east and west....and Mr. Wilson left, I believe to San Diego. 

He came back to Portland and was later in the UCG. He was one of those ministers that would call a couple if he knew they were engaged to see if they needed someone to marry them.  He did that to my friends.  He was one of those who made sure that others who did not have the means to attend the Feast got there.  Even when they did not ask for help. 

From the pulpit he would tell us, he was not there to tell us what he was told to say, but what God said.  On a doctrinal issue in UCG that did not have a final rendering he said from the pulpit he did not care what conclusion they came to, that he was going to preach the truth.  And he preached the truth on that doctrine.

Mr. Wilson started showing signs of Parkinson's disease a few years ago.  In sermons and at Passover his voice was shaky, but his mind and message were clear and sharp.  I went to visit him when he was in the hospital 2 years ago.  I visually had never seen anyone convulsing that much in my life.  He was not having good reactions to the medication given him.  He did not seem to be aware we were there.  We stayed a few minutes, talked and were getting ready to leave when he grabbed my hand and said hi.  He had heard us talking to him the whole time.  He did not let go. So I held on too, and just talked. 

He was back at church several weeks later, joking that I had to pay to get into services.  The last 2 years at church, always the first person to greet me with a smile was Mrs. Wilson.  They were always in the same spot, and when they were not there, everyone noticed.  A few weeks ago, I was heading out the door and Mrs. Wilson approached me and asked me how the feast was in Australia.  We talked a little.  She said they had both loved the people and the area when they served there.

here has always been two seats on the left hand by the church entrance for the Wilson's.  They will be needed no longer.  It is strange. 

When the name Dean Wilson is mentioned, it is one of those names that even the greatest criticizers have very little to say about.  It is one that brings connotations of endearment.  Simply because he did so much for others.  Because he tapped into the lives of others, and promoted them. He and his wife took care of the elderly, and the needy.  They have done in their ministry the job God gave to them, to preach the gospel and to look out for their flock. 

This summer I wrote a letter and gave it to Mrs. Wilson.  I wanted to make sure that sometime in this life she understood the impression they had both made on me.  There have been the trials of disullionment where those in the ministry faltered when the right thing should have been done.  The Wilson's were like a constant to refer back to.  They never passed anyone by.  People were not expendible in their eyes.  They served the people and protected them.  Everyone mattered in their lives; even the seven year olds. 

His physical life was filled with honor and integrity, and an agenda that was based on God, and not a corporation or a man.   In the resurrection I think Christ will remind him that whenever he fed the hungry, clothed the naked, and prayed for the sick, that he did it to Him.  His outgoing service and concern was so much a part of who he was, that to him it was just him. 

Though I have not read it, I have hearf Clyde Kilough has sent out a letter regarding the death of Dean Wilson. It can be found at, in case it has not yet been mentioned here.


January 23, 2005, Rainer Salomaa:

I attended his funeral service yesterday and am writing this at the airport in Seattle between flights.  It was so well done. Mrs. Wilson's sister, who is not a church member, commented to me about it. She was so complimentary of Bob Dick's simple and yet eloquent message as well as the heart-felt eulogies. It was said, "A measure of a man is in his beliefs." His beliefs on death and the resurrection were clearly spelled out by his fellow pastor.Tributes were paid to him by Richard Pinelli, David Register and Clyde Kilough.


There were at my count at least fourteen elders present and a standing room only crowd of ones whose lives he had touched. I think that the crowd  he drew from far and wide speaks volumes of his character and reputation.


Statements such as....."He was not orthodox.", "a kind teacher", "caring", "unauthoritarian", "a builder", "one-track minded", "moulder of pillars", "developer of people", "consummate optimist", "high sense of responsibility", "took the word of God seriously, but not himself",  "brought stability", "a veteran in service to his country and to his church", "left a legacy of broad-based respect", etc. were made.


On a personal level, he hired me when no one else would. He steered me to my wife Claudia, asking if I would help her move,  and then a year later, married us, sent me off to pastor and raise up congregations as a ministerial trainee. He even sent me another trainee to help me when I was un-ordained. He and his wife stayed in our home and helped us get a better bed when he woke up with a sore back, gave me a mailing list of 5000 and asked me to hold Public lectures for them (which involved typing envelopes with a Smith Corona typewriter which he helped us to buy), and who was there at the side-lines to throw out a life line when I felt like I was sinking. He also shared some of his deep wounds when he was turned upon, but he never got bitter about it.


He had military honours. The sun shone through broken clouds, the  partial moon was rising in late afternoon at the Willamette National Cemetery. His wife Marolyn, the day after the inauguration ceremonies of the 43 president, was handed a folded American flag, three spent cartridges and a lapel pin. It reminded me so much of Ronald Reagan's burial. The Sabbath was approaching. The whole service was an eloquent and dignified end to a soldier in Christ. He is at rest. His work is over. Ours continues.


Those of us who were blessed to know him were handed a wonderful example of eternal optimism, the glass always being full. We were given an example of zeal for doing the work of God in any way possible, at times thinking outside the box. He encouraged evangelism. That is being done in his home church on a regular basis.


Mr. Wilson, my fellow Christian soldier, I salute you! Well done!