Gary George Rustad, former Associate Executive Secretary of the Adventist church in the Southern Asia-Pacific region passed away at 76
Gary George Rustad, former Associate Executive Secretary, Human Resource Director, and Adventist Volunteer Services Coordinator for the Southern Asia-Pacific Division passed away February 13, 2021, at the age of 76. Rustad’s attitude towards work, the positivity he created in the workplace, and the confidence he placed in God’s hands were just a few of the many attributes for which Gary is well remembered.
Gary Rustad was born on December 3, 1944, to George and Rosella Rustad in St. Paul, Minnesota. At an early age, Gary exemplified signs of becoming a musically inclined missionary as he joined bands and choir in his early years. He was baptized at age 12 on April 12, 1957, in the Madison Campus Church. His interest in becoming a minister was further developed at Sandia View Academy where he finished his secondary school in 1963. He took his bachelor’s degree in Religion/Theology at Southwestern Junior College in Keene, Texas. He also studied at Southwestern Union College and graduated in 1973.
Gary was blessed with an entire family of passionate missionaries. Gary was married to Margaret Pierce Rustad on August 3, 1975. They were gifted with three missionary-minded children; Gary Bryan, Margaret Charise, and Tiffany Rose. Gary Bryan is currently serving as the president of the Georgia-Cumberland Conference. Gary’s wife passed away in 2014 and he remarried Fairra Rustad.
Gary’s ministry started in the Texico Conference (serving the US territory of West Texas and New Mexico) where he became the Conference’s Singing Evangelist, serving from 1965 to 1969. Gary was well-known for his talent in music. He played the piano, clarinet, and bass fiddle. Rustad’s ministry as a pastor continued in various US conferences from 1970 to 1993, including Texico, Oregon, and Kentucky-Tennessee
Rustad’s dedication to the work and his passion for the ministry led him to become a mission appointee in the North American Division in 1993. He was then assigned to pastor the Hong Kong Adventist Hospital from 1993 to 2001, before accepting a transfer call to the Southern Asia-Pacific Division, where he served as Associate Executive Secretary, Human Resource Director, and Adventist Volunteer Services Coordinator from 2001 until 2011.
FRIENDS and FORMER COLLEAGUES REMEMBER RUSTAD
“I will always remember Pastor Gary’s distinct smile. He always had some kind of humor to share. His email when my dad passed away in 2002, was a needed encouragement during that time of deep pain. Although I was always in tears during the afternoons for the next several months, his wife Margaret, who was seated across from my workstation, would say ‘just let the tears flow’”, shared Dr. Daryl Gay Tanamal, Associate Treasurer of the Southern Asia-Pacific Division.
“Both Gary & Margaret have left lasting, beautiful memories! I will miss seeing them both again on this earth but looking forward to that reunion day in the earth made new!” added Tanamal.
In a corporate email sharing information about Gary Rustad’s death, his successor, Pastor Kevin Costello describes Rustad as a deeply compassionate colleague.
“Those of us who served with Pastor Gary will deeply miss his warm, contagious smile, his constant optimism, his ability to jam on the piano as well as his inspiring devotional talks,” shared Costello.
Pastor Rustad passed away on the evening of February 13, 2021, in Southern California, due to complications of his Parkinson’s Disease.
SSD Communication Department
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