Foundation of Canada
William Henry Grotheer
This is how I remember Elder Grotheer as our Pastor at the
Sabbath evening - set of sun,
Toil, heartaches, failures - all
Thy word is sure - come and bless
OBITUARY AND TRIBUTE TO
Elder Grotheer did not intend to be a prolific author; he loved doing the work of Evangelism, and the need for his writings fell to him as a duty that he could not ignore.
He was a profound Greek scholar and held the study and perseverance of the Adventist pioneers, including Ellen G. White, Elder M. L. Andreasen and other faithful voices in high regard. As the depth and scope of his sermons and studies became known around the world, he saw the confusion amongst longtime members who were asking questions that were not being answered to their satisfaction, about the Church and how the unique doctrines of Seventh-day Adventism were being compromised.
He loved the Church, the people and his evangelism, and had no intention of ever leaving its fellowship; however, as he became aware of changes in the Church's doctrines, he simply and clearly revealed its history and these facts in his sermons and discussions. At this time he was head of the Bible and History Department at old Madison College, and then asked to go to Andrews University to complete work on a graduate degree.
He saw and realized the doctrinal compromises being made and so he voluntarily requested a leave of absence which he received in good and regular standing, so that he would be free to write and speak without any entanglements.
Soon after, it became important that he put pen to paper and voice to celluloid to meet the need of so many requests for documentation and understanding of the changes being made. That is when the Adventist Laymen's Foundation was formed. As his ministry progressed, he and his deeply spiritual wife Dorthea had a wonderful vision of making available a country campus where students of the Bible could come and train and study to be sent out as missionaries globally.
Never has the Foundation ever asked for donations yet they lacked for nothing. Many concerned Adventists from all over sent tithes and offerings to sustain the Foundation and its work. Common people such as my own Grandmother, my mother and her study group gave regularly.
This was the dream of which the Adventist Laymen's Foundation of Ozone, Arkansas, campus was born. Many people came and enjoyed the retreat of the quiet country spiritual atmosphere where it was conducive for communion with God. We have enjoyed many weekends on the campus at the Monthly Convocations and Annual Fellowships as well as other visits.
There were meetings for the little children and a beautiful airy meeting room in the Convocation Hall for the adults. The music was an outstanding ingredient of every service and professionally produced. There was special music like soprano solos by his eldest daughter Nancy and the 5 person chorus, 2 male and 3 females, with Ron Renk, Nancy's husband, operating the mixer board.
For meals we would meet in the dining hall where there was always plenty of delicious, wholesome vegetarian food and good conversation which often was an extension of the topic of the service that just finished.
Our family spent many weekdays on the campus where our children, who were young at the time, enjoyed the company of Ron and Nancy Renk's children Jonathan and Jessica and others, who were about the same age. How the children had fun running and climbing and exploring among the trees of the lush green campus! We had much wonderful fellowship there.
At that time the campus was a flurry of activity with people on the move. The 800 telephone number was busy, additional buildings were constructed as the needs grew and the message was going world wide from the Foundation.
There were many Church members internationally with study groups who asked him to come and speak to them and answer questions and show them how to study better. Dorthea, Ron and Nancy with a few other staff tirelessly ran the publishing of the Thought Paper, manuscripts, the duplication of tapes and studies, mailings, attending to correspondence, coordinating the meals and plans for the meetings, etc.
Elder Grotheer made many speaking tours like the old time circuit-riding preachers. He would generally go by car rather than fly or use other public transportation. He would arrange his meetings in a circuit so that he could meet his one criteria - he was very particular about being back at the Foundation campus to preside over the Monthly Convocations and Annual Fellowships.
Ron was an engineering genius. He designed and constructed virtually all of the buildings on the campus. We remember the large beautiful spacious shower-bathtub that he designed in their home which was such a treat to use, etc. Ron recruited volunteers, including my husband Ray, and others as they were available, to help with the construction and maintenance of the campus.
Elder Grotheer was the Head Editor and Researcher for the Thought Paper "Watchman, What of the Night?" which providentially continued consecutively from 1968 to 2006 at which time it continued as historical documents online at www.AdventistAlert.com.
Elder Grotheer was a native of Boone, Iowa, the son of the late Henry and Nora Bohner Grotheer. He started his evangelism before he was ten years old, and as a young man was a Pastor and Evangelist with the Seventh-day Adventist denomination in Canada and the United States.
He was predeceased by his wife Dorothea and daughter Nancy Renk and remaining immediate family members are his youngest daughter Anne Shull of Tennessee, and her son Stephen. Also, Ron, Johnathan and Jessica Renk of Colorado. Burial was Sunday, May 3, 2009, at Mt. Airy Cemetery under the direction of Hardwicke Funeral Home.
He did not intend to be a prolific author, but we are grateful that he did share a wealth of facts and spiritual insights for each of us to search and study.