Memorial Service Planned for Jere Patzer

WWU board chair passed away October 26

By: Becky St. Clair

Patzer served as NPUC President and WWU Board Chair for 12 years.

Jere Patzer, chair of the Board of Trustees for Walla Walla University, and president of the North Pacific Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists passed away Sunday, October 26, after a long battle with non-Hodgkins lymphoma.  He was 61.

Patzer had been undergoing treatment for the lymphoma, and as a result, his immune system was significantly weakened.

He had been challenged recently with the side effects of his chemotherapy treatment, and upon waking on Sunday, Patzer felt considerably weaker.  He was quickly taken to the hospital to be hydrated.  By the time he arrived, his situation had worsened, and it was discovered that an infection had developed in his lungs.  Though the hospital staff began aggressive treatment immediately, they were unable to stem the infection.  Patzer passed away surrounded by loved ones.

“Jere Patzer served ably for a dozen years as the chair of the WWU Board of Trustees,” says John McVay, WWU President.  “Throughout that time his dedication to the mission of the Seventh-day Adventist Church and his commitment to Adventist education were always obvious.  I have appreciated deeply his commitment to Christ, his friendship, and his ready willingness to communicate about university matters.  He will be greatly missed.”

A board member since 1996, Jere D. Patzer received a bachelor’s degree in business administration and religion from Atlantic Union College in Lancaster, Mass., in 1969.  He then moved on to Andrews University in Berrien Springs, Mich., to receive his Master’s of Divinity in 1972, and his doctorate degree in ministry with a concentration in denominational administration in 1984.

Throughout his career, Patzer served in five Adventist conferences within the United States, including the Upper Columbia Conference, of which he was executive secretary for 3 years and president from 1985 to 1996, when he accepted a position as president of the North Pacific Union Conference.

Patzer was a frequent and popular speaker for events such as leadership trainings, and camp meetings, and he conducted major evangelistic crusades live on numerous television stations around the world. 

Also a writer, Patzer authored four books: “Bored Again Christian,” “Everybody’s Doing It!”, “Before You Burn Rulebook,” and “The Road Ahead: A Vision for Spiritual Leadership in the 21st Century,”  which has been published by Pacific Press Publishing Association in four languages.

A native of Bozeman, Mont., Patzer is survived by his wife, Sue, who serves as the NPUC director of women’s ministries; son, Darin, 1996 alumnus of WWU and manager of KEEH radio in Spokane, Wash.; son, Troy, 1999 alumnus of WWU and principal of Upper Columbia Academy in Spangle, Wash.; daughter, Carissa Britcliffe, of Boise, Idaho; and father, Arthur, 1943 alumnus of WWU, of College Place, Wash.

Arrangements have been made for a public memorial service celebrating Patzer's life and ministry. The service will be held Saturday, November 15, at 3:00 p.m. in the Meadow Glade Seventh-day Adventist Church, 11001 NE 189th Street, Battle Ground, WA  98604.

The family will hold their own private interment service at Mt. Hope Cemetery in College Place, Wash., well before the memorial.

Cards and messages of condolence should be sent to the Patzer family in care of Cindy Stewart, North Pacific Union Conference, 5709 N. 20th Street, Ridgefield, WA  98642, or via email: Additional information is available at the NPUC web site,

The family has asked that in lieu of flowers, donations be made through the North Pacific Union Conference to Maranatha’s One-day Church Project or International Children’s Care.

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