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Former Adventist Communication director, Chase, dies at 89

Founded department, sought efficiency in corporate ministry

Former Adventist Communication director, Chase, dies at 89

James E. Chase served as Communication director for the Adventist world church from 1979 to 1984. The communicator was remembered to have usually "listened in interrogative mode," instead of "talking in declarative mode," his son said. [photo courtesy GC Archives]

James E. Chase, a Seventh-day Adventist radio evangelist and church administrator who later served as Communication director at the denomination's world headquarters, died in Loma Linda, California on September 11, two days after suffering a stroke. He was 89.

Chase's background as a radio preacher eventually led him to serve at the church headquarters in the 1970s in the Radio and Television department. He later merged it with the bureau of Public Relations, forming the Communication department, a distinction still in use today at all levels of church administration.

"Today, we build on what was accomplished by our predecessors," said Rajmund Dabrowski, Communication director at the church's headquarters. "James Chase will be remembered for his professional approach to diverse Adventist communication functions and responding to the needs of his time. Streamlining those functions serves the church well today."

"He was able to comprehend events in ways that enabled the church to minister more efficiently," said Chase's son, James Chase, a professor of communication at Pacific Union College.

The elder Chase was also a single engine pilot, a skill he used when traveling as a regional administrator; between 1962 and 1978 he served as president of the church in Missouri, Northern California and Washington state.

"He was a master in dealing with human beings because he did not impose bureaucratic templates on anyone, but treated every single person as a child of God," his son said.

"I heard him say this many times: 'treat each person as though they were Jesus Christ.' Not do unto others as they do unto you, but do unto others as though they were Christ."

James Everett Chase was born in Alexandria, South Dakota on January 20, 1920. He earned a bachelor's degree from Union College in Nebraska in 1943 and married Violet Hanson the same year.

Chase visited 160 countries while representing the Adventist Church. One year he was gone from home for 285 days, the younger Chase said.

"I think of my dear mother at home, but back then the mentality was 'we'll sacrifice for the coming of the Lord and finishing of the work,'" Chase said.

The elder Chase moved with his wife upon retirement to Modesto, California, where he served as an interim pastor and worked with Stanislaus County as a counselor for victims of domestic violence.

Chase is survived by sons James and Donald, a surgical pathologist at Loma Linda University, seven granddaughters and 10 great-grandchildren. His wife, Violet, preceded him in death by six months.

Two services are scheduled: 3:30 p.m. Saturday October 3 at Modesto Parkwood Adventist Church, and at Linda Valley Villa in Loma Linda on October 7.