Dirksen, Henry H. (1889–1965)

By Sven Hagen Jensen


Sven Hagen Jensen, M.Div. (Andrews University, Berrien Springs, Michigan, USA) has worked for the church for over 50 years as a pastor, editor, departmental director, and church administrator in Denmark, Nigeria and the Middle East. Jensen enjoys reading, writing, nature and gardening. He is married to Ingelis and has two adult children and four grandchildren.

First Published: March 2, 2021

Henry H. Dirksen was the second son1 born on November 21, 1889 in Richville, North Dakota, U.S.A., to Henry John2 and Mary3 Dirksen (sometimes spelled Derkson or Duerkson).4 He attended the first class of graduates from Laurelwood Academy, Oregon and later went on to pursue graduate and post-graduate studies at Walla Walla College in Washington and the Foreign Missionary Seminary in Takoma Park, Maryland.5

Dirksen was a young man of 21 when called by the European Division Mission to serve as a pioneer missionary to Persia and Afghanistan. He went to Hamburg in Germany to receive further instructions, and together with Frank F. Oster they entered Persia on May 18, 1911. They settled at Urumia in the northwest near the Turkish border and opened the work there.6

Dirksen is recorded in the Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook as having a License, and Oster a Missionary License.7 They began their work among the Christians (Armenians and Nestorian Assyrians) living in the area. After two years Dirksen left and went back to the United States where he began work in Brookland, New York.8 In 1943 he married Mary Treber and spent the next 25 years in educational work with the Oregon Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. On June 17, 1965, he died at Loma Linda, California.9


“Henry J. Dirksen.” ancestry (Online), © 2002-2021. Accessed October 26, 2021. https://www.ancestry.co.uk/genealogy/records/maria-derksen-24-f5g4lf.

“In Remembrance.” ARH, September 2, 1965.

“Iran.” Seventh-day Adventist Encyclopedia. Washington D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1966.

Seventh-day Adventist Encyclopedia (SDAE). Second revised edition. Hagerstown, MD: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1996.

Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook, 1912-1914. https://www.adventistyearbook.org/.


  1. His brother was John Henry Dirksen (1888-1915), who only lived to be 27.

  2. Henry J. Dirksen (1859-1929) was born in Ukraine near the Black Sea and married Maria Derksen in 1887. “Henry J. Dirksen,” ancestry, © 2002-2021, accessed October 26, 2021, https://www.ancestry.co.uk/genealogy/records/maria-derksen-24-f5g4lf.

  3. Ibid. Mary Dirksen (1862-1922) was born in Russia as Maria Derksen and met her husband in South Dakota, where also their first son was born.

  4. The primary source of information for this article is “In Remembrance,” ARH, September 2, 1965, 24.

  5. “In Remembrance,” 24.

  6. “Iran,” Seventh-day Adventist Encyclopedia (SDAE, 1996), 607.

  7. “European Division Mission,” Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (Washington D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1912-1914), accessed October 20, 2021, https://www.adventistyearbook.org/.

  8. “Iran,” SDAE, 607.

  9. “In Remembrance,” 24.


Jensen, Sven Hagen. "Dirksen, Henry H. (1889–1965)." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. March 02, 2021. Accessed June 13, 2024. https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=EDYV.

Jensen, Sven Hagen. "Dirksen, Henry H. (1889–1965)." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. March 02, 2021. Date of access June 13, 2024, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=EDYV.

Jensen, Sven Hagen (2021, March 02). Dirksen, Henry H. (1889–1965). Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. Retrieved June 13, 2024, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=EDYV.