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10/18/1922 - 5/4/2013
Dr. Steven Parfitt Vitrano, a beloved father, pastor, missionary, educator, teacher and author, was born on October 18, 1922 in New London, Wisconsin and died on May 4, 2013 in Auburn, California.
Out of high school his career plans were to be a graphic artist but that changed when he committed to serving his Church. After graduating in 1944 from Emmanuel Missionary College (EMC) in Berrien Springs, Michigan, Dr. Vitrano spent several years as an evangelistic pastor in Illinios. During that time, he felt the calling of the Lord to become a missionary and, beginning in 1952, he and his wife Charlene spent five fulfilling and enjoyable years in India. With every intent upon returning to the mission field after a year furlough, during which he completed his MDiv., he received an invitation to become a faculty member at his alma mater, which he couldn't resist.
Beginning in 1958 and for the next 40 years, he served EMC, later renamed Andrews University (AU), as a professor of religion and philosophy, serving both in the theology department as well as the Seminary. During his long tenure, he was both Chair of the Theology Department and was Acting Dean of the Seminary for a while, where he delighted in preparing students for the ministry. During his time at AU, he earned a Doctorate in Speech from Michigan State University, authored more than four books on preaching and wrote numerous articles appearing in religious periodicals.
He retired in 1998 and moved to Auburn to be closer to family. Even then, he served his Church by teaching at Weimar Institute in Colfax, California, as well as serving on its Board of Directors. He will be missed by all he came in contact with, who considered him an intellectual giant with a gentle ego.
His wife of 60 years, Charlene, preceded him in death in 2006. He leaves behind three children, Joyce Dirnberger, Edwin Vitrano and Roger Vitrano; six grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.
A visitation will be held at Chapel of the Hills in Auburn from 4 to 6 p.m. on Friday, May 17, 2013 and a Memorial will take place at the Auburn Seventh-day Adventist Church on Rock Creek Road at 6:30 p.m. on May 17, 2013. Interment will occur at Rose Hill Cemetery in Berrien Springs, Michigan on June 9, 2013 where Dr. Vitrano will be buried next to his beloved Charlene and parents.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests a donation in his name be made to Community Services of the Auburn Seventh-day Adventist Church, or to the
. More than that, the family encourages you to take an elderly member of your family to dinner and tell them that you love them dearly.
Published in Gold Country Media Newspapers on May 14, 2013