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Ottis Carrol Edwards.

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Edwards, Ottis Carrol (1929–2020)

By Lowel J. Domocmat

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Lowel J. Domocmat is professor of theology at Northern Luzon Adventist College, Artacho, Sison, Pangasinan, Philippines. He has served the church for 22 years as field pastor and professor of theology. He and his wife, Maria Carmela L. Domocmat, DNP, have three children. Currently, Domocmat is pursuing a PhD in religion at Adventist International Institute of Advanced Studies, Silang, Cavite, Philippines.

First Published: July 7, 2022

Ottis Carrol Edwards was a missionary, educator, and church administrator in the United States and the Philippines.

Early Life, Education and Marriage

Ottis Carrol Edwards was born on May 22, 1929, in Wenatchee, Washington, to Hiram Acy Edwards and Akka J. Lamb. In 1941, at age twelve, he surrendered his life to Jesus and was baptized.1

Edwards attended high school at Seattle Junior Academy, Yakima Valley Academy, and Upper Columbia Academy.2 In 1948 he enrolled at Walla Walla College, where he obtained B.A. degrees in theology and English in 1952. He obtained his master’s degree in education at Walla Walla College in 1960 and his doctorate at the University of Southern California in 1967.3

On September 2, 1950, Edwards married Dorothy Marie Womack, whom he had met at Walla Walla College.4 The marriage was blessed with a daughter, Londa Lynne.

Career and Ministry

After graduating from college, Edwards worked as a teacher in grade schools and principal of Eugene Junior Academy in Oregon. He then transferred to Walla Walla College and taught English at Walla Walla College Academy while pursuing his master’s degree. Later, he became a full-time faculty member of Walla Walla College, teaching English and religion.5

In 1960 Ottis and Dorothy Edwards were called to serve as missionaries in the Philippines. He served at Philippine Union College (now Adventist University in the Philippines) as an English professor, also serving as head of the English and Speech departments from 1960 to 1964. Despite his busy schedule, he also managed to serve different calls of the church. Among these was his participation in the ministerial retreat of the North Philippine Union in 1962. Presenting lectures on journalism, he emphasized the significance of news writing to the public relations of the Adventist church.6 Another was his involvement in the youth leadership camp held on the island of Mindoro in 1963. He gave daily nature nuggets and activities on nature study and conducted a Missionary Volunteers honor in insect collecting.7

In the summer of 1964, the Edwards moved to the southern Philippines, where Edwards served as academic dean at Mountain View College. Dorothy Edwards taught in the affiliated elementary school.8 During his tenure at MVC Edwards was ordained into the gospel ministry in 1965, together with the college president, Douglas K. Brown.9 In 1967 the Edwards were called back to serve the Philippine Union College as dean of faculties.10

In September 1969 Edwards was appointed acting president of Philippine Union College. During the biennial session of the North Philippine Union in the last quarter of 1969, Edwards was elected the college’s ninth president.11 His presidency saw two significant accomplishments of the college. The first was the creation of an extension campus at Naga View Academy, located in the southern-most part of Luzon Island. The extension campus not only eased the overcrowding of the main campus, but also catered to the need of more students from the southern part of the island. It opened in June 1971. Two concrete dormitories were constructed and a dam for irrigation was built to supply water for the campus and its agricultural projects.12

The second was the transfer of Philippine Union College from Baesa, Caloocan to Silang, Cavite. The college was growing, and its campus was not big enough to accommodate more facilities. The rice paddies that had surrounded the college had become the sites of heavy industries and ghettoes. The idea of a new campus became a matter of discussion during the beginning years of Edwards’ presidency. Possible locations had been scouted, which narrowed into two—Calauan, Laguna and Silang, Cavite. The college board meeting in January 1972 voted to purchase the 165 hectares of land at Silang, Cavite. However, the decision did not come without conflict. The majority of the faculty and staff of the college and other board members favored the property in Calauan, Laguna. When the first attempt was made to cast for the vote, discussion was so divided that the chair called for a postponement. The group sought divine guidance through prayer and fasting on Saturday, January 8, 1972.13

During the first months of 1973, Edwards resigned from the college presidency. He was voted to be the college’s vice president for development and academic affairs. But some days after, the General Conference executive committee elected him as the new education director of the Far Eastern Division based in Singapore.14

The later years of Edwards’ career were spent in the Far Eastern Division as an administrator. In 1981 he was elected executive secretary. From 1985 to 1992 he served as president.15

Later Life

After 32 years of overseas missionary labors, Edwards retired from denominational service in 1992. It was said that Edwards had the longest uninterrupted term of international service among the Adventist missionaries in those days.16 Edwards died in September 2020 at 91 years old.17

Contribution

Two Far Eastern Division institutions were established during Edwards’ presidency that paved the way for the progress of Seventh-day Adventist work in the region. The first is the Adventist International Institute of Advanced Studies, which was established in 1986 as a division institution. It provides graduate education in religion, health, education, and business. The other is Adventist World Radio-Asia. It was founded in March 1987, having its radio station in Guam. It aims to serve the entire territory of what is now the Northern Asia-Pacific and Southern Asia-Pacific Divisions.18

Sources

“Academy Staff Additions Cited.” North Pacific Union Gleaner, May 2, 1960.

Alsaybar, B. B. “Ordination of 10 Highlights Biennial Session.” Far Eastern Division Outlook, February 1970.

Alsaybar, B. B. “P.U.C. Enlarges to Naga View Campus.” Far Eastern Division Outlook, April 1971.

Beach, W. R. “From Home Base to Front Line.” ARH, December 1, 1960.

Edwards, Ottis C. “PUC Enrollment Soars, Classrooms Crowded.” Far Eastern Division Outlook, October 1968.

Edwards, Ottis C. “Senior Youth Camp.” Far Eastern Division Outlook, May 1963.

Edwards, Ottis C. “We’re Beginning the End.” ARH, July 13, 1990.

“Far Eastern Division.” Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook. Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald, 1982.

“Far Eastern Division.” Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook. Hagerstown, MD: Review and Herald, 1986.

“Four Regional Ministerial Retreats in NPUM.” Far Eastern Division Outlook, December 1962.

Franz, C. O. “From Home Base to Front Line.” ARH, January 11, 1968. https://www.adventistretirement.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/Reflections_September-2020_WEB.pdf. Accessed April 19, 2022.

Klement, H.C. “Eighth Grade Graduates.” North Pacific Union Gleaner, September 21, 1943.

Minchin-Comm, Dorothy. “Evidences of Providential Leadings at Philippine Union College.” ARH, April 13, 1972.

Minchin-Comm, Dorothy. “Philippine Union College Plans Egypt-to Canaan Move.” Far Eastern Division Outlook, June-July 1982.

“News from Here & There.” Far Eastern Division Outlook, July 1964.

“Newsbreak.” ARH, November 12, 1992.

Ramos, P. P. “Annual Council Held at MVC.” Far Eastern Division Outlook, May 1965.

Ramos, P. P. “Educators Ordained.” Far Eastern Division Outlook, April 1965.

“Roda Becomes P.U.C. President.” Far Eastern Division Outlook, March 1973.

Roth, D. A. “Two Appointments Made to F.E.D. by General Conference Committee.” Far Eastern Division Outlook, April 1973.

Schoepflin, W. L. “Upper Columbia Academy News.” North Pacific Union Gleaner, October 8, 1946.

“Weddings.” North Pacific Union Gleaner, October 2, 1950.

“Yakima Valley Academy.” North Pacific Union Gleaner, May 15, 1945.

Notes

  1. This information was taken from the overseas workers’ record of Ottis C. Edwards.

  2. H.C. Klement, “Eighth Grade Graduates,” North Pacific Union Gleaner, September 21, 1943, 4; “Yakima Valley Academy,” North Pacific Union Gleaner, May 15, 1945, 4; W. L. Schoepflin, “Upper Columbia Academy News,” North Pacific Union Gleaner, October 8, 1946, 5.

  3. W.R. Beach, “From Home Base to Front Line,” ARH, December 1, 1960, 23; C.O. Franz, “From Home Base to Front Line,” ARH, January 11, 1968, 30.

  4. “Weddings,” North Pacific Union Gleaner, October 2, 1950, 8.

  5. “Academy Staff Additions Cited,” North Pacific Union Gleaner, May 2, 1960, 6; Beach, “From Home Base to Front Line,” 23; P. P. Ramos, “Educators Ordained,” Far Eastern Division Outlook, April 1965, 18.

  6. “Four Regional Ministerial Retreats in NPUM,” Far Eastern Division Outlook, December 1962, 10.

  7. O.C. Edwards, “Senior Youth Camp,” Far Eastern Division Outlook, May 1963, 8.

  8. “News from Here & There,” Far Eastern Division Outlook, July 1964, 20.

  9. P. P. Ramos, “Annual Council Held at MVC,” Far Eastern Division Outlook, May 1965, 16.

  10. See Ottis C. Edwards, “PUC Enrollment Soars, Classrooms Crowded,” Far Eastern Division Outlook, October 1968, 15.

  11. B.B. Alsaybar, “Ordination of 10 Highlights Biennial Session,” Far Eastern Division Outlook, February 1970, 14.

  12. B.B. Alsaybar, “P.U.C. Enlarges to Naga View Campus,” Far Eastern Division Outlook, April 1971, 10.

  13. Dorothy Minchin-Comm, “Philippine Union College Plans Egypt-to Canaan Move,” Far Eastern Division Outlook, June-July 1982, 10, 11; Dorothy Minchin-Comm, “Evidences of Providential Leadings at Philippine Union College,” ARH, April 13, 1972, 18, 19.

  14. “Roda Becomes P.U.C. President,” Far Eastern Division Outlook, March 1973, 10; D.A. Roth, “Two Appointments Made to F.E.D. by General Conference Committee,” Far Eastern Division Outlook, April 1973, 4.

  15. “Far Eastern Division,” Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald, 1982), 117; “Far Eastern Division,” Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (Hagerstown, MD: Review and Herald, 1986), 103.

  16. “Newsbreak,” ARH, November 12, 1992, 7.

  17. https://www.adventistretirement.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/Reflections_September-2020_WEB.pdf. Accessed April 19, 2022.

  18. Ottis C. Edwards, “We’re Beginning the End,” ARH, July 13, 1990, 20-22.

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Domocmat, Lowel J. "Edwards, Ottis Carrol (1929–2020)." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. July 07, 2022. Accessed May 24, 2024. https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=AAV7.

Domocmat, Lowel J. "Edwards, Ottis Carrol (1929–2020)." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. July 07, 2022. Date of access May 24, 2024, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=AAV7.

Domocmat, Lowel J. (2022, July 07). Edwards, Ottis Carrol (1929–2020). Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. Retrieved May 24, 2024, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=AAV7.