November 28, 2016:    Juan Carlos Viera, a well-respected Adventist administrator originally from Uruguay, died on November 25 at the age of 78. Viera passed away at his home in Beaumont, California after an illness.

Viera was the first, and so far only, director of the Ellen G. White Estate who did not hail from North America. The Ellen G. White Estate promotes White’s writings and unique status as co-founder of the Seventh-day Adventist church. Viera served as the White Estate director from 1995 until his retirement in 2000.

The Adventist Review notes that at the young age of 28, Viera was already showing his leadership abilities as church administrator, serving in the role of conference president. A decade later he was president of the denomination’s Austral Union, which covers Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay.

Jim Nix, Viera’s successor and the current director of the White Estate, described Viera as “the consummate Christian gentleman.”

“As a former union conference president in South America, he applied his administrative skills to his work at the White Estate. Although he only served one term as director, the legacy he left behind when he retired was that of a man who loved the Lord and His end-time Remnant Church, who believed in the biblical gift of prophecy, and on a personal note, was kind and supportive to me personally, something that was probably also true in his interactions with other members of the White Estate staff,” said Nix.

Viera completed his doctorate at Fuller Theological Seminary, where his doctoral thesis was titled “Seventh-day Adventists in Latin America: Their Beginnings; Their Growth; Their Challenges.”

His daughter Elizabeth Viera Talbot, a minister who heads the Jesus101 Biblical Institute ministry of the Seventh-day Adventist Church’s North American Division, said that her father had a special interest in the history of his church.

“He was blessed by the heritage of the church and wanted to share it in the right setting. He wanted to educate people on the beginnings of the denomination,” said Talbot.

A memorial service for Viera will take place on January 14, 2017, at 4 p.m. at the Alhambra Seventh-day Adventist Church, 220 S Chapel Ave., Alhambra, California.

Image courtesy of the Ellen G. White Estate, Inc.