Longtime elder Sidney Hegvold dies

LITTLE ROCK, Ark.-Longtime elder Sidney Hegvold, 79, died Sept. 25 after a long battle with colorectal cancer. Mary, his wife of 43 years, was present when he died.

Roderick Meredith of San Diego, Calif., founder and presiding evangelist of the Global Church of God, conducted funeral services for Mr. Hegvold Sept. 29 in Pikeville, Tenn.

As a young man Mr. Hegvold spent eight years in the U.S. Navy and later received his bachelor's degree from South Dakota School of Mines and Technology. After earning a master's degree from the University of Florida at Gainesville in 1952, he took a post teaching physics at the University of Tennessee. He met his future wife there as a fellow instructor early in 1953, and they married at the end of that year.

Mr. Hegvold had a long history and association with the Church of God. In 1954 he and his wife moved to Southern California to learn more about the teachings of Herbert W. Armstrong and the then Radio Church of God, of which he became a member in 1955.

During those first 10 years in Pasadena, he worked as an engineer and actively served in local congregations. He was then part of the Worldwide Church of God's visiting program and spoke before several surrounding congregations. He was appointed president of the first Spokesman Club, the men's speech club, in the late 1950s.

In 1964 Mr. Armstrong asked the Hegvolds to move to Big Sandy, Texas, to pioneer at the new Ambassador College campus there as faculty members during its inaugural year. Mr. Hegvold chaired the science department, and Mrs. Hegvold became chairman of the home-economics department, posts they held for their tenure at Big Sandy.

During the many years Mr. Hegvold taught at the three campuses of Ambassador, he also helped out as an Ambassador Club and Ambassador Women's Club instructor.

Mr. Hegvold broadened his horizons while in Texas by attending classes as a student, graduating with a bachelor's degree in theology in the mid-1960s. It was around that time that he was ordained in the ministry of Jesus Christ as an elder.

In January 1974 Mr. Hegvold was raised to the ministerial rank of preaching elder. That same year the Hegvolds moved to the Bricket Wood, England, campus, near St. Albans, north of London. They once again taught science and home economics, though only for a short time, since the campus closed the summer of that same year.

By then it was time for new responsibilities. Mr. Hegvold raised up the Dublin, Ireland, church and pastored it until 1979. Then the Hegvolds were recalled to the United States and asked to resume their teaching duties, this time on the Pasadena campus.

Thus Mr. and Mrs. Hegvold were among the relatively few instructors to have taught at all three campuses of Ambassador College.

Their new assignment would prove to be their last in the Worldwide Church of God. After teaching for 11 years in Pasadena, Mr. and Mrs. Hegvold were retired in 1990.

Many of Mr. Hegvold's former students will recall the class he taught for so many years in California: Christian Doctrine vs. Evolution.

The course material for this class, personally approved by Mr. Armstrong, was one of Mr. Hegvold's greatest interests.

Mr. Hegvold was quick to disagree with the radically changed doctrinal teachings coming out of WCG headquarters. He became the first full-time minister to join with Dr. Meredith in the then-fledgling Global Church of God early in 1993. Soon afterward he was assigned to pastor the Atlanta, Ga., congregation. He lived in the Atlanta area and continued to work until his death.

Although Mr. Hegvold was diagnosed with cancer early this year, he still conducted Passover services and served the brethren in many other ways as his health permitted.

Mrs. Hegvold described her husband as a man "very dedicated to God's work and very concerned about other people." She noted that "he realized the importance of spending time with his family and building family ties."

Dr. Meredith commented on his friend.

"Sidney Hegvold was a real fighter for the truth," he said. "Like Mr. Armstrong, he didn't try to please people as much as he tried to uphold and defend the truth of God in any and all circumstances.

"In preparation for his funeral sermon, I felt especially moved to quote some of the final words [from 2 Timothy 4:6-8] written by the apostle Paul: 'For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing."

During a recent visit to the U.S. Southeast, Dr. Meredith met with Mr. Hegvold, who by then was gravely ill.

"If I keep going downhill like this, I won't be here the next time you visit," Mr. Hegvold told Dr. Meredith.

"I know that," Dr. Meredith replied. "But then we'll see each other again and carry on the work in the world tomorrow."

"That's what I'm looking forward to," Mr. Hegvold said.

Besides his wife, Mr. Hegvold is survived by a brother, Selmer, of Belmont, Calif.; a son, Stephen, of Longview, Texas; a daughter and son-in-law, Theresa and Niall Fenton of Little Rock; a granddaughter, Aislinn Fenton, 6; a grandson, Connor Fenton, 3; and other brothers and sisters.

Mrs. Hegvold is staying with her daughter in Arkansas for the time being at 8 St. Andrews Dr., Little Rock, Ark. 72212.

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