Elaine Hagele, Mid-America’s vice president for finance since April 2006, plans to retire on January 31. She is the first woman in Adventist history to hold this position in any North American union territory.

For the past eight years Hagele has travelled extensively, providing financial leadership throughout Mid-America and the North American Division. She was an integral part of the conversion of the Mid-America Union, its conferences, and some academies to up-to-date accounting and payroll systems. She has tirelessly developed and maintained budgets, trained new personnel, and interpreted and reported the financial data of the union and its organizations. Constituents often remark that she possesses a gift for translating dollar figures on paper into tangible mission accomplishment for the Adventist Church and its entities.

Mid-America Union president Thomas Lemon said, “Elaine’s clarity of explaining sometimes complex financial policies and transactions has been legendary and we have all benefitted greatly. Her advocacy for supporting the ministry and growth of Union College has been a demonstration of her commitment to Adventist education. And her clean audits, year after year, reflect her expertise. We will miss Elaine very much and wish her every blessing as she turns the page of life to a new chapter.”

Union College’s vice president for finance, Jeff Leeper, said he will remember Elaine as always having a smile, a little laugh to get through things, and a hug and prayer for support. “As a friend of Union College she supported the development of the building needs on campus and chaired the Board Finance Committee with grace, strength and quiet dignity,” he commented. “She cares for the people of Union College and Mid-America. She witnesses loving kindness in a most professional and Christian manner in both business and personal life.”

Common sense leadership

After working as an educator, Hagele served in the General Conference Auditing Service, then accepted a position in Mid-America Union Conference as associate vice president for finance in 2001. Hagele has always fulfilled her responsibilities based on the conviction that tithe and offerings belong to God and must be handled as effectively as possible.

Iowa-Missouri Conference treasurer Rhonda Karr said, “I have had the privilege of working with Elaine for the years she has served in Mid- America and she has always been available, willing and ready to help or give advice when needed. I will miss her leadership and common-sense approach to dealing with the varied treasury situations that arise.”

The North American Division has also relied on Hagele’s expertise. “Elaine has been a good friend and supporter of the NAD as one of the nine union treasurers,” said Tom Evans, CFO and treasurer for the NAD. “From her experience in GCAS she has been one I could rely on in discussing policy changes regarding accounting and auditing. Elaine will be missed, but I am sure she will continue to help in the work of the NAD in various capacities.”

Elaine and her husband, Lowell, a former administrator and mathematics professor at Union College, have three adult sons and five grandchildren. In addition to spending time with family, Elaine hopes to accept volunteer assignments anywhere to help schools, conferences or institutions with interim needs.

Brenda Dickerson is communication director for the Mid-America Union.