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7-05-12 Hadley, 91, leaves legacy of medical missionary service
Dr. Gordon Hadley was dean of the School of Medicine at Loma Linda University from 1977 to 1986. [photo courtesy LLU]
Dr. G. Gordon Hadley was dean of the School of Medicine at Seventh-day Adventist-run Loma Linda University in California and for decades defined the school’s medical outreach to India, China and Afghanistan. 

Hadley, who died June 29 at age 91, also served a term as director of the Adventist world church’s Health Ministries department.

At the helm of the Loma Linda University School of Medicine from 1977 to 1986, Hadley sharpened the school's focus on overseas mission and spirituality in healthcare education. He taught in the department of Pathology and Human Anatomy and mentored pathology students.

Hadley grew up in Washington, D.C., where his father’s ministry to the region’s underprivileged population impressed upon him the value of service and compassion. From a young age, he wanted to become a medical doctor.

Shortly after his graduation from Loma Linda University in 1944 (then the College of Medical Evangelists), Hadley was drafted by the U.S. military. After two years of service at the 138th Evacuation Hospital in Europe, he was discharged and returned to Loma Linda to complete a three-year residency in pathology.

Hadley spent more than a decade teaching at Loma Linda University and completing occasional mission assignments at medical colleges in Vellore, India, and in Kabul and Jalalabad, Afghanistan.

“I remember he would tell mission stories in Sabbath School and church from his early days in Afghanistan,” said Fred Hardinge, an associate director for the Adventist world church’s Health Ministries.

“They were always so inspiring,” he added. “And he went back later in life to continue the work and relationships that he had established there. I found that so admirable.”

In 1994, Hadley assumed leadership of the church’s then fledgling Sir Run Run Shaw Hospital in Hangzhou, China. In 2001, Loma Linda University officials turned once again to Hadley’s leadership skills, this time with Kabul Medical Institute in mind. Although he and his wife Alphie’s relocation plans were interrupted by the September 11 terrorist attacks, Hadley did return to Afghanistan for several months, supervising an overhaul of the facility’s curriculum. 

In 2011, Hadley received the Loma Linda University Adventist Health Sciences Center Lifetime Service Award for his contributions to the academic and health care community.

Hadley is survived by his wife, Alphie; son, Walter; and two daughters, Patty and Bonnie.

A memorial service was held Saturday, July 7, at the Loma Linda University Adventist Church.

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