Tribute to Elder Kenneth H. Wood
(1917 – 2008)
Kenneth H. Wood, who served as Chairman of the Ellen G. White Estate Board of Trustees since 1980, died on May 25, 2008. He was 90 years old.
Elder Wood is best known to Seventh-day Adventists as the editor of the Advent Review and Sabbath Herald, which officially changed its name to the shorter Adventist Review during his tenure. He served as assistant editor beginning in 1955, associate editor from 1957, and became editor in 1966, a post he held until 1982.
For nearly 42 years, starting in 1966, Wood served as a Trustee of the Ellen G. White Estate. In 1980 he was elected the Chairman of the Board of Trustees, a post he filled ably until his death. Through the turbulent 1980s and beyond, his leadership helped to increase confidence in Ellen G. White’s ministry and the White Estate, among other things supporting greater openness and access to Mrs. White’s unpublished manuscripts. Under his leadership eleven Ellen G. White Research Centers were opened at major Seventh-day Adventist educational institutions around the world, and two additional Branch Offices were opened in North America. Including the Main Office, the total number of such facilities now stands at 18.
Wood’s editorial skills have contributed much to the publications the White Estate has issued during his tenure. His own writings were models of accuracy, clarity, and grace, and his touch greatly improved the writings of others. Until his recent illness he continued to come to his office three mornings a week to work on correspondence and forthcoming publications. The White Estate staff was grateful for the opportunity to come to him with questions, which he answered with wisdom, kindness, and humor. He was a true Christian gentleman. His wife of 69 years, Miriam Wood, known to many by her books and her “Dear Miriam” column in the Adventist Review, died March 16, 2008.
The Wood family requests that those wishing to make memorial gifts direct them to Adventist Heritage Ministry, P.O. Box 1414, Battle Creek, MI 49017 or at www.AdventistHeritage.org.
Some reflections on Elder Wood’s leadership and character from friends and co-workers:
“With the passing of Elder Kenneth Wood one of the influential and significant thinkers and writers of the Seventh-day Adventist Church has been laid to rest. . . . Elder Wood was a man of strong convictions and absolute loyalty to historic Adventism.” ~ Jan Paulsen, World President of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
“[Elder Wood] was one of the most thoroughly Christian people that I have ever met in my life. He certainly loved the Lord and believed in the Seventh-day Adventist Church and its mission and its ultimate success, without question. . . . He was forward thinking. He [would say], ‘I’ll never live to see it happen, but that’s what the White Estate needs to do, so get working on it.’ Everybody in the White Estate loved him.” ~ James Nix, White Estate Director.
“His Christian character was evident on all occasions, whether in the Board meetings, his office, or in his personal relationships. The Church and the White Estate will be missing a great friend, a great counselor, and a great Christian.” ~ Juan Carlos Viera, White Estate Director, 1995-2000.
For ten years I worked hand in glove with Elder Wood. Those were years of deep satisfaction. We never had a rift even though there were occasional differences of opinion. His counsel was always the best. The White Estate was fortunate to have had Elder Wood as our Board chair for so many years. Someone will succeed him but no one can replace him. ~ Robert W. Olson, White Estate Director, 1978-1990.
I’ll always remember Elder Wood’s prayers in staff and board meetings. As he talked with the Lord, it seemed that he was speaking with Him face to face. When they see each other at the resurrection, it’ll be like two long-time friends meeting again. ~ Norma J. Collins, former White Estate Associate Director.
“His contributions to the church were immense, and we have lost a great person.” ~ Denis Fortin, Dean of the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary.
“The gleam of his eye, his optimistic insights and positive comments always lifted my spirits. . . . He is a part of my fabric of the foundation of this church that I love!” ~ Tom Neslund, President, Adventist Heritage Ministry.
Additional biographical information and tributes may be found in the online edition of the May 22, 2008, Adventist Review: www.adventistreview.org.
A recent photograph of the five Life Trustees of the Ellen G. White Estate. (L to R: Elder Neal C. Wilson; Elder Francis Wernick; Dr. G. W. Reid; Elder Kenneth H. Wood; Dr. William G. Johnsson)