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William M. Mathi was born on August 7, 1925 in the village of Lakkavaram, located in the picturesque East Godavari District of Andhra Pradesh, India. He was fifth in a family of nine born to Pastor and Mrs. Mathi PakeerDaniel – Kantha Moses, Mathi Daniel Moses, Solomon Moses, Rajamma Sharalaya, Jaya Krupa Rao, and VijayaSamuel. To his family, he was always affectionately called “Kasu,” which means “a portion of gold” in the Telugu language.
In a family where education was a priority, William’s quest for knowledge inside the classroom – and outside of it – defined his life’s path. He studied in Seventh-day Adventist (SDA) institutions in India throughout his primary and secondary education, earning an Associate degree in Religion and Education at Spicer Memorial College in 1945. He then served as both a teacher and church pastor in the Western India Union of Seventh-day Adventists for 10 years. He met and married Eleanor Zachariah in 1947 while stationed in Maharashtra. They were blessed with four children – Vimla, David, Anjunaand Nora Jean (Lulu).
Following in his father and brothers’ footsteps, William was ordained to the gospel ministry in 1955 and then served as Ministerial/Communications Director in both the Western and South India Unions in India for the next eight years. He served as President of the Andhra Mission of Seventh-day Adventists from 1963 to 1966 and then Executive Secretary of the South India Union of Seventh-day Adventists until 1967 during a time when it was rare for Indian nationals to hold high official positions in the church.
William decided to further his education, which took him to the United States in 1967 where he pursued a B.A. in Religion and Education from Columbia Union College (currently Washington Adventist University) in TakomaPark, MD. He also received his Master of Arts in both Educational Administration, and Curriculum and Supervision from Andrews University in Berrien Springs, Michigan and also completed one year toward a doctoral program in Education from the University of Maryland. He served as the school principal of the Dupont Park SDA School (1982 to 1985) and Baltimore Junior Academy (the latter for a 20-year time period ranging from 1971 through 1993), and was beloved by his students and faculty.
While William retired in August 1993, he assumed a very active post-retirement life. He immediately embarked on evangelism assignments in his home country of India, continuing his early work of spreading the gospel in remote areas of India. Sangareddy was a particular place that was special to William and often sang the songs he learned there long after he left. There were also a large number of baptisms in Sangareddy as a direct result of his evangelism. In fact, the Washington area Telugu SDA community raised funds and built a church there.
William later moved to Beijing, China in 1996, where he taught English as a second language through the SanYuLanguage Institute and then served as the Institute’s Vice President until 2000 in Shanghai, China. He was heavily influenced by Chinese culture and spent time learning Mandarin. William concluded his time in the Far East by teaching English in Taiwan at the SanYu Language Institute.
William bore heavy losses in his life, including losing his beloved wife Eleanor in 1989, and his son, David, in 2002. Despite these losses, he still continued to reach out to family and friends, always assuming a patriarchal role. He continued to garden, to read, and to travel. In his lifetime, William traveled to nearly 40 countries across the globe.
William passed away on February 6, 2018 at the age of 92. He leaves behind his three living children, three grandchildren, one great grandchild, cousins, a host of nieces and nephews, other family members and countless friends. His post-retirement objective read, “To remain active in the Lord’s service and offer my services according to my expertise and training, wherever there is need.” William most certainly fulfilled this objective throughout his life. We celebrate his life and legacy until we meet again.
IN LIEU OF FLOWERS:
Donations in William Mathi's name may be given to either:
1. Alzheimer's Foundation of America (https://alzfdn.org/support-us/donate/)
2. The William Mathi Memorial Fund (payable to the General Conference, with notation on check memo William Mathi Fund)
General Conference of the SDA Church
12501 Old Columbia Pike
Silver Spring, MD 20904
CONDOLENCES MAY BE SENT TO:
The Mathi Family
6566 Beechwood Drive
Columbia, MD 21046