From ANN, Dec. 22, 2014: Dolores E. Slikkers, a co-founder of Maranatha Volunteers International and philanthropist who helped shape Adventist denominational policy, died last Thursday in a car crash in her hometown of Holland, Michigan. She was 85.
Police have opened an investigation but said “very preliminary medical information” indicated that Slikkers may have suffered a medical emergency that was a factor in the crash. “However, this cannot be confirmed until results of an autopsy are received,” police said in a statement.
Slikkers played an active role in Adventist leadership over several decades, including as a member of the executive committee of the General Conference (GC), the top governing body of the denomination. She was serving as a member of both the Andrews University board of trustees and the executive committee of its Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary at the time of her death.
“Dolores Slikkers was strongly committed to Adventist beliefs and values,” said Pastor Benjamin Schoun, a GC vice president and board chair for the university. “Her special interest was in Adventist education, which she promoted strongly,” Schoun said. “She was … the longest-serving member of [the university board, and] was active in that responsibility, asking pertinent questions at nearly every board meeting.”
Slikkers and her husband, Leon, also contributed financially to many church projects from revenues made in their successful boat manufacturing company, S2 Yachts. “From the success of those efforts, they were able to generously give financial gifts for various church projects, including assisting students with tuition costs for Adventist education,” Schoun said.
Perhaps the highest-profile project that Slikkers helped initiate was Maranatha Volunteers International, an independent non-profit Adventist organization that she co-founded with her husband and John Freeman in 1969. Today, Maranatha mobilizes volunteers to construct urgently needed schools, churches, orphanages, clinics, and homes around the world. “Dolores and Leon were part of the original group of [volunteer] pilots who flew missionary trips to the Caribbean and Central and South America,” a fact sheet from S2 Yachts states.
Since its inception, Maranatha has constructed more than 3,800 “One-Day” churches, 600 “One-Day” schools, 115 evangelism centers, and 760 water wells, according to its website. It mobilized more than 2,400 volunteers in 2013 alone.
Slikkers also served on the boards of the It Is Written television ministry and Griggs University, now a branch of Andrews University in Michigan. More recently, she was a member of the Theology of Ordination Study Committee formed by the GC. She was “quiet and kind-hearted,” said Dr. Ingo Sorke, a professor of religion at Southwestern Adventist University who served with her on the committee. “She had a sincere love for her church and a genuine expectancy of the Second Coming.”
Slikkers also had a fondness for skiing and for celebrating birthdays. She sent out more than 2,000 birthday cards every year and went skiing regularly with her husband.
Dolores Slikkers nee Parker was born June 22, 1929, and is survived by Leon, her husband of 67 years, as well as four children, six grandchildren, and 10 great-grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her sisters, Marjorie and Lela, and is survived by two brothers, Bill and Ted Parker. The funeral was held at the Holland Adventist Church, where she was a member.
The Adventist News Network (ANN) is the official news service of the Adventist denomination.