Retired missionary, pioneer Harmon Schmelzenbach passes away

Floral City, Florida

Retired missionary and pioneer Harmon Schmelzenbach III passed away 2 January. He was 83 years old.

Harmon and his wife, Beverly, were both missionaries for the Church of the Nazarene, serving from 1960 until their retirement in 2001.

Harmon grew up in Africa as a third-generation missionary. In the early 1900s, Harmon’s grandfather, Harmon F. Schmelzenbach, founded the work of the Church of the Nazarene in Africa, establishing national churches in Swaziland (now Eswantini), Mozambique, and South Africa. The elder Harmon passed away from malaria in 1929, and he was buried in Eswatini. Two of his sons, Elmer and Paul, were born in Africa and served out their lives there as missionaries. 

In 1971, Harmon III registered the Church of the Nazarene in Botswana. Harmon and Beverly then entered Namibia and organized a pioneer district there in 1976. In 1984, they went to Kenya to pioneer the work of the church across East Africa, including Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, and Zaire.

Harmon and Beverly’s work training pastors led to the foundations for Africa Nazarene University in Nairobi, Kenya, in 1986. The university is now fully operational and under national leadership. The Schmelzenbachs moved from Kenya to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in 1992 to pioneer the work in Ethiopia and Eritrea. 

After 40 years of service, the Schmelzenbachs retired 1 January 2001. Harmon is survived by Beverly and their three children, LeAnn, Pamela, and Harmon IV.