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Rose, Chrystalene, and George Huse, Takoma Park, MD, 1921.

Photo courtesy of George H. Whitsett.

Huse, George Albert (1894–1982)

By George H. Whitsett

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George H. Whitsett is a retired ordained minister living in Chattanooga, Tennessee with his wife Susan. After majoring in both Theology and Elementary Education at Southern Adventist University, Collegedale, Tennessee, and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, he served as a church school teacher for two years and church pastor for forty-two years in six conferences within the North American Division---a total of forty-four years in denominational service. George and Susan Whitsett have three children and six grandchildren. 

First Published: September 15, 2020

George A. Huse was a printer, literature evangelist, college teacher, publishing house manager, conference treasurer, and director of the General Conference Publishing Department (1948-1966).

Early Years and Conversion

Born on November 20, 1894, to Edward George and Josephine Koch Huse, George Huse started working at the age of nine as a “printer’s devil” at a print shop in his city of birth, St. Louis, Missouri. Throughout his youth he worked in the printing industry and by the time he married Rose Handy on June 7, 1916, George had worked his way up to becoming manager of the print shop at the famed International Shoe Company in St. Louis.1

The newlyweds' first home was next door to Pastor C. G. Bellah and his wife, Azilee, the new pastoral couple of the Central Seventh-day Adventist Church in St. Louis. George and Rose became close friends with their new neighbors and soon came to love the Adventist message. Along with Rose’s mother, Lily, they were baptized by Pastor Bellah on March 3, 1917.2 On June 1, 1919, the couple welcomed their only child, a daughter, Chrystalene Azilee Huse (Whitsett),3 naming her after their pastor’s wife out of honor and gratitude for the Bellahs’ friendship and Christian witness.

Wanting to share their new found faith, George and Rose began selling Adventist publications as literature evangelists in the Missouri Conference in 1918.4 George Huse also attended Clinton Theological Seminary in Clinton, Missouri, the Adventist school for training German-speaking ministers and gospel workers. The following year, the Review and Herald Publishing Association, recognizing Huse’s considerable experience in the printing industry, called him to serve as foreman and assistant superintendent of its printing plant adjacent to General Conference headquarters in Washington, D.C.5

Publishing House Manager

From there, in 1921, the General Conference Publishing Department asked Huse to manage the church’s publishing house in Barcelona, Spain.6 In 1922, he was asked to oversee moving the printing equipment from the publishing house in Gland, Switzerland to Dammarie-les-Lys, France. Much of this equipment had been used by J. N. Andrews when he established the church’s first European publishing house in Basel, Switzerland, in 1876. With the move, Huse helped establish and became the first manager of the French Publishing House, later re-named Life and Health Publishing House.7

After three years as a general manager of Adventist publishing houses in Europe, Huse was called back to the United States in 1924 for continued service in the publishing work. Soon he was again appointed general manager of a publishing house—the Washington Missionary College Press, in Takoma Park, Maryland. During his years at the college (1926-1931) he taught graphic arts in addition to managing the press.8

In 1931 Huse accepted a call to serve as manager of the Chinese Publishing House in Shanghai. Three months before the Huse family was scheduled to depart for China, though, the manager of the Southern Publishing Association (SPA) in Nashville, Tennessee, resigned. The SPA was experiencing serious financial difficulty due to the Great Depression, and the General Conference leadership encouraged Huse to go to Nashville as SPA manager rather than to China.9 It was also recommended that Huse shut down the press operations at SPA and that its role be reduced to that of a depository. When he arrived in Nashville and made his way to the manager’s office, Huse was shocked to see all around the walls and down the halls stack after stack of copies of The Great Controversy that had been returned by customers who could not afford the deferred payment they had agreed to when they purchased the books from literature evangelists.10

Nevertheless, after taking into consideration the families that would be adversely affected if the press closed and the counsel Adventist cofounder Ellen G. White had given about the importance of the work in the South, Huse determined that the Southern Publishing Association would remain open. To help make it possible, all employees, including the manager, agreed to a pay cut until the crisis was resolved. Huse served as manager until 1938. The SPA survived the Depression and continued its publishing ministry for more than four decades to come.

Publishing Department Leadership

After leaving the SPA, Huse took a position in the Bible sales department of the National Publishing Company in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and remained with that company until 1945, except for a year as secretary-treasurer of the Colorado Conference (1940-1941).11 He accepted a call to serve as associate secretary of the General Conference Publishing Department in 1945. His assignments included work with the Publishing House Rehabilitation Fund, a General Conference program for building back the Adventist publishing houses around the world that had been damaged or destroyed during World War II.

In 1948, Huse became secretary (director) of the General Conference Publishing Department.12 During his 18 years as director, the denomination enlarged its publishing houses and experienced some of its most productive years in the preparation and distribution of literature effective in disseminating its message to the world.13 The Bible Story 10-volume set by Arthur Maxwell and his Bedtime Stories were first produced and marketed with success through literature evangelists during these years. During a portion of his years at the General Conference Huse also served as one of the trustees of the Ellen G. White Estate.14

Final Years and Legacy

After his retirement from full-time denominational employment in 1966 at the age of 72, George and Rose Huse made their home in Hendersonville, North Carolina. He continued to serve in a variety of ways during his retirement years, including as head elder of the Fletcher Seventh-day Adventist church in North Carolina and as chair of the Southern Publishing Association for five years.15 He was thankful for seeing his three grandsons, Thomas, Kingsley, and George Whitsett, follow his example of Christian service as ordained ministers of the gospel in the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

George A. Huse died March 7, 1982, in Hendersonville at the age of 87.16 In more than 15 years as manager of various publishing enterprises and in more than 20 years as a leader at the General Conference, Huse made a profound and lasting contribution to the achievements of Adventist publishing worldwide during the 20th century.

In a tribute following Huse’s death, Daniel A. McAdams, one of his associates in the General Conference Publishing Department, highlighted the dynamic, forward-thinking character of his colleague’s contribution. He pointed out that Huse not only promoted the initial plan for assisting publishing houses damaged by World War II but broadened the concept “from rehabilitation to expansion,” thus making it possible to enlarge “the printing facilities in many small overseas publishing houses.” McAdams also drew attention to Huse’s personal qualities as leader: “When perplexing problems arose, and under pressure from all sides, he remained confident and calm, soft-spoken, yet firm.”17

Sources

Bellah, C. G. “A Farewell Service.” ARH, June 23, 1921.

Ferren, J. R. “New Colporteurs Succeeding.” Central Union Outlook, May 21, 1918.

“George A. Huse---A Man Led By Divine Providence.” 1982. Unpublished document in author’s possession.

George A. Huse. Secretariat Missionary Files, RG 21, Record 114921, August 22, 1961. General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists Archives, Silver Spring, Maryland, U.S.A. (GCA).

“George A. Huse obituary.” ARH, May 20, 1982.

Huse, G. A. “Keeping Abreast.” Australasian Record, November 20, 1922.

Huse, George A. “Publishing Department.” ARH, June 20, 1966.

“Print Shop Manager is Called to China.” Sligonian, April 16, 1931.

Notes

  1. “George A. Huse obituary,” ARH, May 20, 1982, 22; George A. Huse, Biographical Information Blank, August 22, 1961, GCA, Secretariat Missionary Files, RG 21 Record 114921; additional details from the author’s personal knowledge as a grandson of George A. Huse.

  2. Huse Biographical Information Blank, August 22, 1961, GCA, Record 114921.

  3. “Chrystalene Azilee Huse Whitsett,” Find A Grave, Memorial ID 28866, July 30, 2008, accessed November 3, 2021, https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/28664465/chrystalene-azilee-whitsett.

  4. J.R. Ferren, “New Colporteurs Succeeding,” Central Union Outlook, May 21, 1918, 7.

  5. Huse Biographical Information Blank, August 22, 1961, GCA, Record 114921.

  6. C.G. Bellah, “A Farewell Service,” ARH, June 23, 1921, 12.

  7. G.A. Huse, “Keeping Abreast,” Australasian Record, November 20, 1922, 1-2.

  8. “Print Shop Manager is Called to China,” Sligonian, April 16, 1931, 1, 3.

  9. General Conference Officers Council, May 12, 1931, 132, GCA.

  10. For a brief discussion of the SPA’s financial difficulties during the 1920s and 1930s, see Seventh-day Adventist Encyclopedia, 2nd rev. edition (1996), s.v. “Southern Publishing Association.”

  11. Huse Biographical Information Blank, August 22, 1961, GCA, Record 114921.

  12. “George A. Huse obituary.”

  13. George A. Huse, “Publishing Department,” ARH, June 20, 1966, 18-19.

  14. D.A. Roth, “Union President Added to E. G. White Estate Board,” Columbia Union Visitor, December 12, 1963, 2.

  15. “George A. Huse obituary.”

  16. Ibid.

  17. “George A. Huse---A Man Led By Divine Providence,” 1982, unpublished document in author’s possession.

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Whitsett, George H. "Huse, George Albert (1894–1982)." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. September 15, 2020. Accessed June 13, 2024. https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=79J1.

Whitsett, George H. "Huse, George Albert (1894–1982)." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. September 15, 2020. Date of access June 13, 2024, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=79J1.

Whitsett, George H. (2020, September 15). Huse, George Albert (1894–1982). Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. Retrieved June 13, 2024, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=79J1.