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George Russell Elstrom

May 27, 1921 - June 4, 2012

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George R. Elstrom

May 27, 1921 – June 4, 2012

George R. Elstrom passed away peacefully on June 4, 2012 at Regency at The Park in College Place, Washington. The funeral service will be 1:00 p.m., Sunday, June 10, 2012, in the Chapel of the Village Seventh-day Adventist Church, 12th and Larch Streets, College Place. The graveside service and burial will follow at Mount Hope Cemetery. Pastor Steve Walikonis will officiate.

George came into the world May 27, 1921 in Lincoln, Nebraska. He was the second of four children born to Ralph and Ruth Black Elstrom. At the time, Ralph was a student at Union College in Lincoln, and he later served as a college instructor.

After a brief stint as principal of a public high school in Summerdale, Alabama, near where he had been raised, Ralph accepted an invitation to serve as assistant to the psychiatrist at Battle Creek Sanitarium in Battle Creek, Michigan where George’s mother had grown up.

George completed grades 3 through 9 at Battle Creek Academy, and then transferred to Adelphian Academy in Holly, Michigan. He returned to Battle Creek for his senior year, graduating in 1939.

George had a keen interest in agriculture and animal husbandry. However, as he progressed through his high school grades, he became aware of a conviction to enter the ministry. To prepare for this journey, he completed studies in religion and history at Emmanuel Missionary College (now Andrews University) in Berrien Springs, Michigan, graduating in 1944.

Upon graduation, George spent 11 years pastoring a series of churches throughout Michigan. In 1955, he accepted an invitation to assume pastoral leadership of a congregation near downtown Minneapolis, Minnesota. Three years later, he was tasked with reorganizing this church at a new location on the south side of the city. Concurrent with his pastoral duties in Minneapolis, George ministered to graduate students at the University of Minnesota as a chaplain and was a member of the university’s Council of Religious Advisers.

In 1966, George transitioned to the West Coast and spent the next 10 years pastoring churches in the San Francisco Bay area, Portland, Oregon and Fresno, California. From 1976 to 1985, George served as Vice President for Administration of the Central California Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. Before moving to the Walla Walla Valley in 1988, George served the Arizona Conference of Seventh-day Adventists on a retirement basis as Ministerial Director and Evangelism Coordinator.

In 1946, George married Glennys “Cherry” Marshall of Milton, Wisconsin. She was by his side until her death in 1990. George later married Twila Bird of Placerville, CA. George and Twila lived briefly in Placerville and then returned to Walla Walla where George spent over a decade volunteering in various pastoral roles. George’s smile and personable, engaging manner impacted thousands of lives. He will truly be missed.

George was preceded in death by Ralph L. Elstrom, father; Ruth Huffman, mother; Glennys "Cherry" Elstrom, wife; Eugene R. Elstrom, brother; and Evelyn Hansen, sister. George is survived by Twila V. Elstrom, wife, Walla Walla, Washington; Betty Westfall, sister, Mt. Dora, Florida; Thomas M. Elstrom, son, College Place, Washington; Jeffrey M. Elstrom, grandson, College Place, Washington; Melissa A. DeCastro, granddaughter, Curitiba, Brazil; and two great-grandchildren.

Arrangements are being handled by Mountain View-Colonial DeWitt, Walla Walla, Washington. Friends are encouraged to sign the online guestbook and record memories at

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Born: May 27, 1921
Death: June 4, 2012
Place of Death: Regency at The Park
Occupation: Seventh-day Adventist Pastor and Church Administrator
Organizations: Village Seventh-day Adventist Church


Twila Elstrom, Spouse
Thomas M. Elstrom, Son
Jeffrey M. Elstrom, Grandson
Melissa A. DeCastro, Granddaughter
Betty Westfall, Sister

Preceded in Death By

Glennys "Cherry" Marshall Elstrom, Spouse


Funeral Service

Sunday June 10, 2012, 1:00 PM at Chapel of the Village SDA Church
Click for Map and Directions