AJ Patzer, former conference president and pastor, dies at 90

by Jay Wintermeyer

AJ Patzer served the Seventh-day Adventist Church in many roles during his four decades of service.

WALLA WALLA, Wash., Oct. 10, 2010 - AJ Patzer, former Seventh-day Adventist conference president, church leader and pastor, died October 10 at Wheatland Village in Walla Walla, Wash. He was 90.

According to a family spokesperson, Patzer died peacefully at his residence.

Patzer was diagnosed with bone cancer last June, two weeks after his 90th birthday. Since that time he has received the best of care from Walla Walla Hospice and the staff of Wheatland Village.

A memorial service to honor Patzer’s life will be held in the near future at a time yet to be determined.

Family member, Sue Patzer, says, “Thank you to each one who has called, written or visited AJ during this difficult time in his life. We know and believe, as he did, that ‘the best is yet to come’ and want to do everything within our power to hasten that day.”

Patzer was the youngest of four boys raised on a farm in Kulm, North Dakota. His family became Seventh-day Adventists through tent meetings when Patzer was in elementary school.

He graduated from Sheyenne River Academy and Walla Walla College. After college, Patzer accepted a call to the Washington Conference where he worked in the Seattle area including Auburn Academy.

Following his service in Washington, Patzer and his family worked in the Montana Conference for a short time before being called to the Pennsylvania Conference as youth and education director. Patzer also worked in the Columbia Union as youth director.

In addition to pastoring and conference departmental leadership, Patzer served as the president of West Virginia and New York conferences. His last assignment was at the General Conference as assistant to president Neal Wilson. He retired to Walla Walla, Wash. in 1985.

Patzer is preceded in death by his wife, Pearl, in 2001 and his only child, Jere, in 2008. He is survived by daughter-law, Sue; grandchildren, Darin and Natalie; Troy and Renee; Carissa and four great-grandchildren.