1935 – 2014
LeRoy Dais was born in Eureka, South Dakota, on May 16, 1935, to George and Mary Dais. He grew up on the farm with his five brothers and two sisters: Aaron, Walter, Calvin, Milbert, Alice (Meier), Marvin, and Mabel (Cory).
The extended Dais family, including most of LeRoy’s uncles, aunts, and cousins, were diligent Christians and lovers of Scripture, fully devoted to the local Church of God (Seventh Day) in their small town. In harmony with the family pattern and with his own conviction of faith, LeRoy was baptized by immersion into Jesus Christ at age 17.
After high school graduation, he attended Midwest Bible College in Stanberry, Missouri. During LeRoy’s second year in Stanberry, he met Hope Caswell from Canton, New York, also a Bible College student. She became his wife on June 7, 1955. Together, they produced a family of four children, eleven grandchildren, and three great grandchildren. Hope and LeRoy would have celebrated 60 years of marriage next June.
After three years at the Bible College, LeRoy began work at the Church of God (Seventh Day) Publishing House, also in Stanberry — a ministry now known as Bible Advocate Press in Broomfield, Colorado. At the Stanberry Publishing House, he quickly worked through the ranks until, at age 25, he was named manager of the ten-person staff—all of whom were older than LeRoy. He served more than thirty years as the Church’s Director of Publications, then became its Bible curriculum editor, a job close to his heart and one from which he never retired. Throughout his recent months of illness, he made his way to his desk at the office as often as possible.
Surviving LeRoy, in addition to his wife, Hope, are his four children: Bryan, Susan (Dan) Payne, Craig (Barbie) Dais, Linda (Steve) Stricker; brothers Walter (Edna), Eureka, South Dakota; Milbert, Aberdeen, South Dakota; a sister, Mabel (Lee) Cory, Marion, Iowa; eleven grandchildren: Brandon, Kristen, Bryana, Jessica, Caleb, and Tikvah Dais; Courtney and Carli Dais, Kaylee, Mandy, and McKenzie Stricker; and three great-grandchildren: Jacie, Josiah, and Isaiah.
To all who were acquainted with him, LeRoy was known as a gentle, compassionate person with a servant’s heart, a love for people, and a selfless devotion to God and family. In addition to his 55-plus years of service through the Church, LeRoy and Hope gained great appreciation for the Bible principles of money management. Trained by Crown Financial Ministries, they led small groups to teach the principles of financial freedom, hosting many of those courses in their own home. LeRoy’s heart for missions motivated him to not only support with funds but also spend countless hours corresponding with missionary workers in foreign countries.
LeRoy Dais was a Christian of tremendous faith and conviction. He was a family man who cherished his wife, Hope, their family, and their home. He was a friend and brother who showed hospitality to the many people who visited the Dais home. He was a churchman who devoted his life to proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ by producing the finest literature possible for the Church of God (Seventh Day).
I became acquainted with LeRoy in the mid-1950s when we both served on the General Conference Administrative Committee. He represented the Publishing Department and served as manager of the Church’s publishing house. I served as director of the Youth Department. It was our joint assignment that gave me the opportunity to become acquainted and form a lifelong relationship with LeRoy.
In those days, the Church of God was recovering from a prolonged division, and funds were scarce. LeRoy’s departmental budget was the largest of all the Church’s seven departments. Frequently his plans for Publications were not fully funded, but that never seemed to diminish his enthusiasm for his work or dim his vision for what Publications could accomplish.
Realizing his vision for Publications, he implemented a number of innovations. He standardized the size of the Church’s Bible study tracts so they could be mailed in a letter-size envelope; changed the name of the printing shop to Bible Advocate Press, after the Bible Advocate magazine; and initiated the Church’s free literature distribution program and publication of literature in Spanish to accommodate its growing Hispanic membership. LeRoy also realized his dream of writing and producing Sabbath school materials for all ages of children and youths through adults.
LeRoy was responsible for the modernization of the Bible Advocate Press. When he became manager of Publications in the mid-1950s, it was producing literature on a large hand-fed cylinder press. The printed stock had to be folded, collated, stitched, and trimmed by hand. But LeRoy had a vision for modernizing this antiquated printing shop and making the Bible Advocate Press into a first-class printing operation. He fulfilled this vision in the spring of 1972 when the Bible Advocate Press moved from Stanberry to the Church of God’s new offices and printing plant north of Denver. LeRoy acquired a new, fully automatically fed offset printing press capable of publishing the Church’s literature in color and bindery equipment that put the magazines together in one operation.
LeRoy’s plan to distribute the Church’s literature free as a ministry more than tripled the distribution of the Bible Advocate and made it available to a global readership. It was through this ministry that LeRoy became known and loved by the readers of the literature he produced.
It was very painful to observe LeRoy’s failing health over the past several months, but he never complained when I asked him how he was doing. My last opportunity to visit with him was just a couple of Sabbaths before the Lord called him home to await his resurrection and that of all his fellow saints at Jesus’ glorious coming.
I feel blessed to have known and worked with a wonderful Christian man and friend known as LeRoy Dais!
— Elder Robert Coulter
Of all the abilities God gives to men, the greatest of these may be dependability, stability, reliability, and durability. Stick-to-it-iveness and steadfastness; constancy and consistency. Loyalty, fidelity, and faithfulness. Immovable, unwavering, and unswerving. God’s Word is well sprinkled with such counsel:
“You shall be careful to do as the Lord your God has commanded you; you shall not turn aside to the right hand or to the left” are Moses’ words in Deuteronomy 5:32.
“If you abide in My word,” Jesus said in John 8:31, “you are My disciples indeed.” “He who endures to the end will be saved” appears in more than one place in John’s Gospel.
Now hear Paul: “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 15:58).
These are the kinds of counsel that took deep root in LeRoy early on. He was a single-minded man: one church, one mission, one spouse. He was straight as an arrow, true blue, tried and true. Once he put his hand to the gospel plow, he didn’t look back. He set his face like a flint toward the one high and blessed calling to serve His Savior. Sure he had his share of failures and grieved the loss of others who fell out along the way. But none of those things moved him, nor did he count his own life dear unto himself so that he might finish the race with joy and the ministry he had received of the Lord Jesus: to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.
This one thing LeRoy did: Forgetting things behind and reaching to things ahead, he pressed toward the goal of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. He ran to win the prize promised to all who complete the course and finish the face. As one who endured to the end, all the good promises of God’s Word are in his favor. There is laid up for him a crown of righteousness that the Lord, the righteous judge, will give him in that day. In him will be fulfilled the promise that says, “Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life” (Revelation 2:10).
— Elder Calvin Burrell
Writing a Book
Someone should have written a book about LeRoy Dais. It would include chapters on faith, family, integrity, humility, selfless and tireless dedication, a long journey in the same direction, and other such topics.
I first met LeRoy and Hope in 1982 when I came to Colorado as a student. On mornings when my regular ride to school in Broomfield wasn’t available, they picked me up. That began an acquaintance and friendship that continued after my return to the East Coast.
When I returned to Colorado in 1994, this time as a pastor with my wife and two children, the Dais’ home became our home for several weeks while we prepared for a permanent residence. There I saw LeRoy up close and personal and found him to be the same person at home that he was in public: Christ-like, God honoring, a kind husband, gentle, tender-hearted, compassionate — a servant.
Since then, it’s been my privilege to know and serve alongside this faithful servant of the Lord. As pastor of the Denver local church, I always knew I could count on LeRoy. Not just a church member, he was a pillar. Concern for the congregation’s well-being was a personal priority for him.
Over time, I’ve learned much about LeRoy’s Eureka, South Dakota family heritage, and how his teenage decision to attend Midwest Bible College set the trajectory for the rest of his life. The book about LeRoy would also include a chapter on finding purpose. As one writer notes, “The greatest tragedy in life is not death, but life without purpose.” LeRoy Dais found his life’s purpose at an early age and dedicated himself to that one thing for the rest of his life. What a wonderful testimony!
His full-time service in various capacities for more than 58 years has endeared him to many throughout the Church at home and abroad. It’s been rightly said that around the world no name is more closely linked to the Church’s Publications ministries and its Bible Advocate magazine than the name of LeRoy Dais. Press operator at the publishing house in Stanberry, Publications director, foreign missions correspondent, Bible curriculum editor, promoter of financial stewardship and planned giving are just some aspects of the ministry to which LeRoy tirelessly gave himself over these many years. On both local and national levels, His churchmanship was outstanding, inspiring me to think to myself on various occasions, When I grow up, I want to be like LeRoy.
I was also privileged to observe LeRoy from a unique vantage point: through the heart of his devoted wife, Hope, who has been my personal assistant for more than 17 years. I’m not sure why, but writing the previous sentence evoked deep emotion in me. Perhaps it’s because I believe Hope’s beautiful heart reflects who LeRoy was. The tenderness and love showered upon him by their children and grandchildren during his final hours is testimony to the priority LeRoy gave to home and family, and the godly heritage he and Hope cultivated.
There are conversations I wish I’d had with LeRoy about how to carry on the good work he did for so long, how to transfer some of his knowledge to someone else, how to follow up the many files and stacks of correspondence in his office, accumulated over these decades. There were times I thought he was avoiding that conversation. But I now realize that in his selflessness, LeRoy was much more comfortable commending the work of others than focusing on his own. His hands were steady on the plow, and he knew how soon his evening would come. So he kept on going, working tirelessly, with never a complaint and no plans to retire. He served the work with dedication and diligence. In challenges with his health, he persevered with patience and discipline. In disappointment or conflict, he was never mean-spirited.
Marjolene and I will always cherish the memory of what turned out to be LeRoy’s last good day in this life, November 22. We spent time together over a meal after picking Susan up at the airport. He had a spark we hadn’t seen for a while. We will not soon forget those final hours with him and his family at the hospital on December 1. It was bitter and sweet, painful and precious.
I was away on Conference business the day of LeRoy’s memorial service. The difficulty I felt following through with plans was lightened by thoughts of what LeRoy would want me to do. I can picture him with hand pressed against the side of his face and a twitch in his head, saying reassuringly, “That’s perfectly fine, Brother Whaid. You should go on.”
Therefore, on behalf of the entire General Conference family across this continent, I extend love and condolences to the Dais family. Thank you, Hope, Bryan, Susan, Craig, and Linda for sharing him with us. Thank you, LeRoy, for showing us how to live, love, serve, and finish well. Thank You, Lord, for giving the Church of God (Seventh Day) such a beautiful gift in LeRoy Dais. And thanks too, Lord, for the comfort of Your Word:
Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints (Psalm 116:15, NKJV).
Then I heard a voice from heaven saying to me, “Write: ‘Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.’”
“Yes,” says the Spirit, “that they may rest from their labors, and their works follow them” (Revelation 14:13, NKJV).
It’s been said that a tree is best measured when it is down. We’re now getting an even better perspective on the impact of this one life. Our church’s Sabbath heritage began with a search for the most honest man in Battle Creek. LeRoy could easily have been that man; his life fits that profile.
The book that should have been written about him? I would title it LeRoy Dais: Quiet Strength.
— Whaid Rose