Charles Dart had an uncommon career in the Seventh-day Adventist denomination, moving back and forth several times from education roles to church administration. He died last weekend (March 3) in Loma Linda. He served the church for more than 50 years, according to a news release from Betty Cooney, communication director of the Southern California Conference.
Dart graduated from what is today Washington Adventist University in the spring of 1951 and was hired as a pastor in the Ohio Conference. He was ordained in 1956 and became Bible teacher at Mount Vernon Academy. He became principal of Blue Mountain Academy in Pennsylvania and in 1963 senior pastor of the Keene, Texas, church on the campus of what is today Southwestern Adventist University. He was elected president of the Texas Conference, later went to Oregon to be principal of Milo Academy and then became education director for the Oregon Conference.
In 1986, Dart was elected president of the Southern California Conference. He led one of the largest conferences in the denomination’s North American Division until he retired in 1993. During most of that time he waged an epic battle with local government in Los Angeles County because authorities wanted to use “imminent domain” law to take the campus of Lynwood Academy away from the church and use it for a public high school. Despite considerable litigation and appeals, he eventually lost that struggle. He also chaired a task force on financing Christian education for Project Affirmation.
After retirement, Dart again took up the challenge of leading a church-related school, serving as principal of Ozark Adventist Academy for a while. His career blended pastoral ministry and education and his commitment to both were clear throughout his life.
Dart is survived by four children and four grandchildren. A memorial service will be for him on March 24 at 3 p.m. in the Redlands (California) Adventist Church, 520 Brookside Avenue.
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