It is with deep sadness that we announce the passing of Elder Owen Troy, who served as Communication Director for the North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists from 1980 until his retirement in 1995. He was living in Berrien Springs, Michigan, with his wife Ann, and next door to their daughter Carmelita when he suffered numerous injuries from a fall in his home last week. Owen passed away early on Sunday morning, March 2, 2014.
Born on June 10, 1927, at White Memorial Medical Center in Los Angeles, California, Owen grew up in Pasadena, where his father worked as a pastor. The family also lived in Huntsville, Alabama, and Chicago, Illinois.
Service to His Church
Owen graduated from Pacific Union College and was hired by the Northern California Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, later receiving his Masters of Religious Communication degree from Andrews University in Berrien Springs, Michigan.
In 1964 he was called to serve in West Africa as a missionary to the countries of Sierra Leone and Ghana, a position he held until 1966. He also served in the country of Trinidad and Tobago from 1971 to 1977.
In 1980 Troy was elected as the first Communication Director for the North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists, where he was instrumental in the creation of the department, and the role that it played in the internal and external communications of the church.
“Owen was a visionary who took communication in new directions for the Seventh-day Adventist Church,” says Kermit Netteburg, who followed him as assistant to the North American Division president for Communication in 1995. “He helped the Church return to a focus on public audiences and away from one that was more internally focused. He was truly the first communication director in the division, and initiated much of the Church’s first Internet-based communications. He also stressed that the Church start researching new forms of communication.”
Service to 3ABN’s Ministry
Owen served on 3ABN’s board of directors from 1988 through 2004, and continued as board member emeritus until his death. He also served as 3ABN’s director for international development for many years. In 2005 he and Ann moved to Thompsonville, Illinois, to work as volunteers at the network, and lived there until 2010, when they moved to Berrien Springs, Michigan.
“I met Owen at the St. Louis airport for the very first time in 1985,” says 3ABN founder, Danny Shelton. “He had heard about two brothers who were starting a Seventh-day Adventist television network in southern Illinois, and decided he wanted to meet us. So I spent about two hours with Owen and a representative from the General Conference.
“Owen caught the vision immediately and became 3ABN’s first North American Division supporter. His bold support of 3ABN—even when it was not popular to do so, and because of his love for Jesus and commitment to take the gospel into all the world, our 3ABN board of directors unanimously elected him to as a member in 1988.
“I have always considered Owen a great friend and a spiritual father,” Danny adds. “He will be sadly missed by all of us at 3ABN.”
3ABN president, Jim Gilley, also held Owen in great esteem. “Elder Owen Troy was one of the finest gentlemen I have ever known,” he says. “He was warm and friendly, yet dignified at the same time—a genuine Christian and servant of Jesus who served in the Spirit of our Lord.”
Owen Troy is survived by his wife Ann, daughter Carmelita, and son Owen. His memorial service will be held at 11:30 a.m. on Wednesday, March 19, at the Michiana Fil-Am Seventh-day Adventist Church, 8454 Kephart Lane, Berrien Springs, Michigan. In lieu of flowers the Troy family asks that donations be made to 3ABN for the Owen Troy Fund.