Remembering Dr. Thomas H. Stebbins (NC ’56)

The campus community was informed that 1956 Nyack College alumnus Dr. Thomas H. Stebbins passed away on February 15, 2018. Dr. Stebbins was the former executive vice president and COO of Evangelism Explosion International.

Nyack College is where Dr. Stebbins met and fell in love with Nyack alumna, Donna Stadsklev (1953). The two were married in 1954 and of that union became the parents of four children—Jennifer, Jeff, John and Janice. Son Jeff lovingly shared a reflection on his father’s life with these words:  “For more than 60 years, Dad was passionate about seeing as many people as possible put their faith in Jesus, have assurance of eternity in Heaven, and grow into mature, reproducing believers. Many thousands of Vietnamese, Chinese, Americans and others will be in Heaven partly because Dad surrendered his life and honed his evangelistic skills to become an effective servant in God’s hands. Part of his effectiveness derived from Mom’s unwavering love, trust and support. We kids know that, without Mom, Dad could have done little that he did.”

Missionaries to Vietnam for two decades, Thomas and Donna Stebbins were named Nyack College Alumni of the Year in 1999 for their faithful service to The Christian and Missionary Alliance. At Nyack’s 2008 Homecoming, the lives of alumni who were martyred in 1968 while serving in Vietnam were honored; Dr. Stebbins’s sister, Ruth Stebbins Thompson and her husband C. Edward Thompson are among those whose names were engraved on a memorial bench installed at Shuman Hall. In 2011, the Evangelical Church of Vietnam (also known as Tin Lanh Church) celebrated its 100th anniversary in Da Nang City. Dr. Stebbins, who was born in Hue, Vietnam was invited to speak at the centennial festivities.

In 2013 when Nyack presented an honorary doctorate to Dr. Thai Phuoc Truong, a former executive board general secretary of the Tin Lanh Church, Dr. Stebbins was invited to introduce Dr. Truong at the Commencement Day President’s Hall of Distinction Brunch.

A great servant leader, passionate about kingdom-building and spreading the gospel, is now numbered in the great cloud of witnesses. Our hearts confidently rejoice that Dr. Thomas H. Stebbins heard the words, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

Family and friends will celebrate his life at Alliance Community Chapel, 600 S. Florida Avenue, DeLand, FL on Tuesday, February 20 at 2:00 p.m. 

Memorial gifts in honor of Dr. Stebbins can be sent to The Christian and Missionary Alliance, ATTN: Thomas H. Stebbins Scholarship, 8595 Explorer Drive, Colorado Springs, CO 80920. The funds will be used for tribal students at the C&MA Seminary in Vietnam.