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Remembering Christian journalist, missionary Leon Tester

Leon Tester (Photo via matthewsfuneralhome.com)

The Christian Chronicle mourns the loss and celebrates the life of one of its own — the legendary Leon Tester.
Tester, 90, died Nov. 8 in Texas.
He began working for the Chronicle as a journalist in 1992 (a job he took up as part of his “retirement”) and made occasional visits to the paper to chat with the staff long after his actual retirement.
He always arrived with a smile and encouraged us to stay the course, reporting news that informs, inspires and unites.
Here’s a bit more about his life before the Chronicle from his obituary:

Leon E. Tester was born April 4, 1922, in Missouri. He spent his early years in Colorado, Idaho, and Oregon, where he attended Cascade College. In 1944 Leon joined the Navy. He married Marion Anderson on August 5, 1949. In the Navy, he worked with guided missiles and at one time was Chief Tester of the Testing Department. After serving fourteen years, Leon felt compelled to dedicate his life to God’s work. He enrolled in Abilene Christian University and received a B.S. and M.A. Later he received as B.S. and M.S. from the University of Minnesota in St. Paul.
The Testers spent eight years as missionaries in Sao Paulo, Brazil, as part of a team. Leon was the chief journalist. They adopted two Brazilian children, Jon and Claude, who later became U.S. citizens, making Leon a proud grandfather of five boys. In Brazil, Leon edited two magazines: Communion Quester and Brazilian Evangelist.

Read the obituary.
Howard Norton, another member of the Sao Paulo team and former editor of the Chronicle, remembered Tester’s.gif?Action=thumbnail&Width=460&algorithm=proportionalt of communication, according to a post on Brotherhoodnews.com:

Not only did he constantly produce materials for the work in Brazil, but he also taught the team members the importance of keeping the brotherhood back in the United States informed concerning what the missionaries were doing in Brazil. He taught his fellow missionaries how to improve their writing and reporting and helped organize them so that there was a regular flow of information from Brazil to Christian journals, supporting churches and individuals in the United States.

Read the full post.
Norton’s wife, Jane, posted a remembrance on Tester’s obituary.
“Marion and Leon were hardworking, compassionate, faithful followers of our Lord until their deaths,” she said. “May their memories live on earth for many years and in heaven forever.”

  • Feedback
    I got to know who Leon was right after my wife and I placed membership at the Edmond congregation less than ten years ago–but it wasn’t until after I spent three weeks in Biloxi, Mississippi with my job(in March of ’04–before Hurricane Katrina) that I began to know more about Brother Leon’s life.
    While I was in Biloxi, I worshipped with the Rodenburg congregation, and Roger Mills(who had returned there to preach during that time) actually mentioned his time with Leon in a sermon.
    Upon returning home, I carried a greeting to Leon from Brother Mills and his wife, and I visited with him every chance I could.
    Of course, to find out about his life, one would need to ask someone else, because Leon wasn’t one to boast about his accomplishments or activities. A true servant!
    Russ Sharp
    November, 15 2012

    I recall Leon very well from Abilene Christian University days. I was considerably younger than Leon, but I recall his gentle and Christian nature. My prayers are with the family. God bless you all.
    James Haney
    November, 15 2012

    I am wondering if Leon Tester was related to Noble Tester, who was also a minister of the gospel.
    Victor Knowles
    November, 15 2012

    I was blessed to know Leon for many years. He was preaching for the Iowa City church when I moved to Cedar Rapids, Iowa. He was a gentle, caring, man. He was well read. He’s the only person I ever knew who had to put two rows of books on the same shelf to find a place for them all. I really enjoyed making a trip to Abilene with him. We used to travel to Des Moines to attend preachers’ meetings together. I had some great conversations with he and Charlie Hood. Leon was calm, gentle, wise, and I’m glad I could say he was my friend.
    Norman Bales
    November, 15 2012

    Leon Tester was a true blessing. What a kind man, with a lovely family. They blessed me when I was a young graduate student in Iowa City, IA.
    Kris Engdahl
    November, 15 2012

    Leon Tester was a mentor to me in the early 90’s. We studied the bible for 6 months before I became a christian. He was a very patient and kind soft talking man. Him is wife Marion were very nice people. Leon was our preacher for a few years in Patchogue Church of christ on long island. I’m blessed to know such people who loved the lord they way they did.
    God bless
    James Guiffre
    November, 15 2012

    Leon was a very gentle individual. we spent many early morning having
    breakfasts. He would pick me up at 0600 after work. went to my first ACU lectureship with him and Marian. Came to Christ in 1975.
    Semper Fi
    Randy Randall
    November, 16 2012

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