A Spectrum Discussion Pioneer has Left Us

Editor’s Note: It is with sadness that we announce the passing of Dr. Thomas John Zwemer (March 23, 1925 – October 26, 2019, age 94.5). Dr. Zwemer was a frequent contributor to the conversation here at Spectrum and he will be greatly missed. Below are a few remarks about him from Melvyn Douglass:

Dr. Thomas John Zwemer

March 23, 1925 – October 26, 2019

Stephen Zwemer, Dr. Thomas Zwemer’s son, phoned me this afternoon, asking that his dad’s funeral arrangements be shared with his friends at Spectrum, per his dad’s specific request. His dad had been in the local hospital for 13 days prior to his passing on Saturday evening, October 26th.

Dr. Zwemer requested that this note be shared with the Spectrum community:

Some will be sad; some will be glad. But, I will miss them all.

His family will receive friends on Tuesday, October 29, 2019, from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at Thomas Poteet & Son Funeral Directors, 214 Davis Rd, Augusta, GA 30907.

The memorial service will be held on Wednesday, October 30, 2019, at 2:00 p.m. at Reid Memorial Presbyterian Church of Augusta, 2261 Walton Way, Augusta, GA 30904, with Rev. Matt Rich officiating.

Dr. Zwemer’s friends at Spectrum have been blessed with engaging in many challenging and invigorating discussions with him over many years. He has been a wonderful example to us all. Friends and family will fondly revel in his gifted and inspiring legacy! May he rest well... till the Sound of the Final Trumpet!

Two of Dr. Zwemer’s last posts include the following:

May 19, 2019: “Death is an enemy to those who grieve. But for one who is 94 with a serious heart condition, it is a constant companion. Two things sustain me, Grace and family. I highly recommend both.” —Thomas J Zwemer (@Tjzwemer)

October 22, 2019: “Well, I am back, but not for long. After a round of tests, I Learned I have cancer in many sites too many [f]or any effective treatment. I am a[t] First-rate center. With Betty. Just minutes away. Given my state, it could not be better.” —Thomas J Zwemer (@Tjzwemer)

Dr. Zwemer’s obituary can be found at Thomas Poteet & Son Funeral Directors.


Melvyn Douglass

Houston, Texas

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This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/9974

So sad. He was a great poster here, one of my favorite, an honest thinker who made his opinions known, always respectfully. A very considerate person. It was a privilege to interact with him for about 15 years or so. He will be missed!

My condolences to his wife Betty, his children, and the whole family .

Tom, you were a good man. RIP!


Condolences to Dr. Thomas Zwerner’s family. His insightful comments, fairness, and many postings in our Spectrum community will be missed. He was usually first to share reactions and fair to those he disagreed with.I will miss him.


So sorry to hear of this. I only knew him by way of Spectrum but I so appreciated his postings. They were a beacon of light. Much honor to him, and may his family be comforted as they pass through this time.


I really appreciated Tom. He would always take you to “Christ and Him crucified”. His memories of times-gone-by added depth and meaning to what is happening today. His journey had given him a unique perspective on the church, but he was always kind. I remember once I had made a snarky comment about some issue with the church and got a gentle scolding from him. I will miss him.


Dear Tom, I already noticed the absence of your wise and warm comments. We’ll miss your constant reminders about grace and Jesus’s once for all sufficient death on the cross. Rest in peace till He comes.


A true Christian gentleman! He will be sorely missed here. I always looked forward to reading his posts. He had the ability to pack a lot of truth and wisdom in just a few words/sentences. Prayers for his family and friends.


Calmly yet stunningly inspiring, especially just now. And forever.


My condolences and prayers to Thomas’ family. May they be given comfort and peace. “Grace and family”, truly a wise brother. I’m sad, and yet grateful.


I’ve never met Dr. Zwemer but interacting with him all these years have made me feel as if he were just my next door neighbor. I will miss his posts and insightful contributions.

Rest in peace, Tom.


Words often fail and for me this is one of those occasions.


Blessings,and a confidant assurance of meeting in a better land. Tom will be missed here on this broken old world, but we shall see him in the new earth. Jim (Ausi)


Sad to hear this. Though I disagreed with him on some things, I always knew he’d be fair. Model of a true gentleman. I’ll miss his contributions. Condolences


He was institution here and will be greatly missed. I never met him, but over the years read so much about him from his autobiographical comments that I felt I knew him. He was a veteran of the Second World War, a dentist and a teacher of dentistry, a family man, long-time Adventist, and long-time former Adventist. His great generation is passing away, sadly, and we are all thereby diminished. My condolences to his family.


Ah, Tom…how you will be missed! You added so much to the conversations here and had so much history to share. I learned so much from your intelligent comments and truly Christian perspective and manner.

I was greatly blessed for the time that I had with you. Thank-you, and rest in peace in the Lord.


It’s a sad day. He was the dean of the Spectrum discussions.


Dr. Zwemer’s institutional memory, from serving on the boards of Loma Linda University and Southern Adventist University, to growing up in Berrien Springs, and working in Chicago and at Marquette University, his experiences shared here are a part of history little known.

His upholding of the Gospel of Jesus through his favorite mentors like Heppenstahl, Heubert, and others and focus on grace and what he called, “The Christ Event,” kept perspective in the right place.

Praying for his family and friends. His death is a great loss, both here at Spectrum and to a generation of Adventists.

I am so blessed to have been able to have exchanges with him here with words, which he used powerfully.


this is very sad news…tom was so often first out of the gate with a new article, almost always concluding that the gospel was what was needed for whatever conflict was mentioned in the article…about 10 yrs ago, when we were still on disqus, and in a huge discussion that went on for days and days, that neither one of us had any intention of quitting, he told me he had thrown out all his egw books, and that he was proud of it…that was when i thought to myself that he had real courage…

i’ll always remember tom’s fervent, genuine faith in the gospel…i’ll miss his sincerity, and real wisdom…


I am truly saddened by this loss and will miss him. Till we meet again in the kingdom…


We will all feel the loss of Tom. For him it is but a sleep with the glorious sight of Christ’s coming awaiting him on the other side.