He is remembered for being a mission-minded visionary with a penchant for action.
After an extended period of failing health, Tom Neslund, a retired Seventh-day Adventist health leader and Adventist Heritage Ministries (AHM) enthusiast, passed to his rest in Newport Beach, California, United States, on September 8, 2020. He was 85.
Described by his colleagues as both a “creative visionary” and a “doer,” Neslund was a driving force behind various outreach projects before and after his official retirement.
“Tom was liked by everyone. He had an open, easy way about him that naturally drew people to him, a much-needed characteristic for a volunteer organization leader,” said retired Ellen G. White Estate director Jim Nix. Nix worked with Neslund in AHM after he retired from the Health Ministries department of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists.
For fifteen years, Neslund volunteered as AHM’s president. It was an activity he used as an evangelistic tool, according to Nix. “For Tom, it was all about finding innovative ways to draw people to Christ. His life was totally immersed in doing that,” he said.
Thomas R. Neslund was born in Montevideo, Minnesota, on June 9, 1935. After completing studies at Union College in Nebraska and Loma Linda University, he began his service in the Adventist Church as a pastor in the Iowa Conference between 1964 and 1968. He then returned to California to teach at Glendale Adventist Academy for five years.
In 1973, Neslund was called to serve as health and temperance director of the Southern California Conference, a position he held for thirteen years. In 1986, he was appointed Health Ministries associate director for the Adventist world church. He held that position until he retired at the end of 1999.
During his years at the world church headquarters, Neslund became known for, among other activities, his service as director of the International Commission for the Prevention of Alcoholism and Drug Dependency (ICPA), promoting the prevention of alcoholism and drug and other addictions through education, research, and advocacy.