Former Board Chair Passes Away

Max C. Torkelsen Served Many Adventist Entities

By: Rosa Jimenez (Information from NPUC)

Max C. Torkelsen during his tenure as WWU board chair.

Max C. Torkelsen, a former chair of the Walla Walla University Board of Trustees, passed away in his Portland home on Saturday, Dec. 8.  He was 86.

Torkelsen led the university board from 1976 to 1980 during his tenure as president of the North Pacific Union Conference (NPUC) of Seventh-day Adventists.  One of the highlights during his term as board chair was the groundbreaking for the new industrial technology center, now known as Canaday Technology Center.  His initial work in the Northwest was as NPUC executive secretary from 1971 to 1974.

Torkelsen, a Union College graduate, began his work for the Seventh-day Adventist Church as the pastor of a five-church district centered in Fargo, N.D. He later moved into educational work, serving as principal for Colorado Junior Academy in Grand Junction, Colo., and later at Sheyenne River Academy in Harvey, N.D.

He became educational superintendent for the Arizona Conference and then moved to the same position in Central California, where he eventually served as conference president.

In later years, Torkelsen served as a General Conference general vice president and, just before retiring, as president for the Nevada-Utah Conference. During his retirement he was a philanthropy director for the Upper Columbia Conference and also served as Task Force pastor for the Village Church in College Place, Wash.
Torkelsen had been married more than 60 years to Ardis Carle, who he had met while a student at Maplewood Academy.

Torkelsen is survived by his wife Ardis, sons Max and Monte (a 1986 WWU graduate), daughter Myrna Smith, and seven grandchildren, several who are WWU alumni.

The family will be holding private services in deference to his request. In lieu of flowers, the family has designated two options for memorial gifts. Gifts for scholarships may be sent to the Upper Columbia Conference, 3715 S Grove Road, Spokane, WA 99224.

Gifts may also be sent to the Abba’s Child scholarship fund to aid grieving children who attend Big Lake Youth Camp. Send to Oregon Conference, 19800 Oatfield Road, Gladstone, OR 97027

Cards may be sent to the family in care of North Pacific Union Conference, 5709 N 20th St, Ridgefield, WA 98642.

And, anyone who wishes may post on online tribute to Max C. Torkelson on the Facebook page “Honoring the Life of Max C. Torkelsen, Sr” at:


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