Max C. Torkelsen, a longtime church administrator and educator, who also served as vice president of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, died at his home in Portland, Oregon, United States, on December 8. He was 86.
Torkelsen, who served in the 1970s as president of the North Pacific Union Conference, based in Ridgefield, Washington, was known to promote successful young pastors to leadership positions, often while still younger than typical church administrators.
“Most satisfying for him was giving people opportunity to expand their abilities, hiring young pastors, or bringing people in,” said his son Max C. Torkelsen II, who now serves as president of the North Pacific Union Conference.
Born in Nebraska to farmers, the elder Torkelsen was drafted into the Army and served as a medic in Germany during World War II. Following the war, he began his ministry career in North Dakota as a pastor. He later moved into educational work as a principal and superintendent. He continued into conference administrative posts throughout the Western United States.
In retirement he helped raise money for scholarships in the Northwest and worked as a visitation pastor for the College Place Village Church, near the denomination’s Walla Walla University in Washington.
He is survived by his wife Ardis, three children, seven grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren.