Bekele Heye (1933-1998)

Bekele Heye, former president of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Eastern Africa, died at a clinic in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa on December 31, 1998. He was laid to rest on Sunday January 3, 1999.

Heye gave forty years of service in the Adventist Church before he retired in 1992, and had worked as a teacher, dean of students at Ethiopia Adventist College, Union Sabbath School and Publishing director, Afro-Mideast Sabbath School director, Ethiopia Union president, Afro-Mideast president and until his retirement president of the Adventist Church in the Eastern Africa Division. Heye died from complications brought about by a stroke.

Commenting on the death of Elder Heye former Eastern Africa Division Youth director and new General Conference Youth director, Baraka Muganda said, "I have worked with many presidents but Bekele Heye was simply a star."

Eastern Africa Division executive secretary Bekele Biri describe Elder Heye as "a humble giant whose skill in human relations was simply unmatched. He was at home with the man in the palace as he was with the man on the street. His humility and his sensitivity to human needs had endeared him to many people inside and outside the church."

Elder Heye is survived by his wife Haregewoine Bekele and four children.

-George Mwansa