Stanley Ledington

1889 - 1974

Esther Lorntz Ledington


Stanley Ledington, and his wife, Esther, were pioneer educators in the Seventh-day Adventist Church, He was a multi-talented person in the arts, an organist, choir conductor, composer, and watercolor artist. She was singer and linguist.

Stanley was born in Durham, England, on April 3, 1889, the son of William and Marie Ledington. He briefly attended Stanborough College, forerunner of Newbold College, and studied organ in Plymouth, England. He traveled to the U.S in November 1911, where he first worked in hospital administration, serving as assistant manager of the New England Sanitarium and Hospital in Massachusetts, and then as head of the hydrotherapy program at Battle Creek Sanitarium.

On December 1, 1913, he married Esther Olava Egenaes Lorntz, a singer who had been born in Oslo, Norway, and had come to the U.S. in September 1913.  She had been born on November 19,1891, one of five children of John and Christine Warenskjold Lorentz. They would have three sons, Emery, Harold, and William, and a daughter, Phyllis.

In 1919, he became head of the music program at Hutchinson Theological Seminary in Hutchinson, Minnesota, now Maplewood Academy, and she taught voice for Danish-Norwegian students at HTS. From 1921 to 1928, he also served as editor of conference magazine, The Northern Union Reaper.

In 1924, in the first issue of The Waymark, an annual HTS publication, he noted that the enrollment was 200 (including academy students) and then spoke positively about the school's offerings.  Within a year, however, the seminary enrollment dropped, and there was talk of closing the school and transferring the students to Broadview College in Illinois, which occurred in 1928. The Ledingtons moved there for one year and then accepted an invitation to teach music at Union College, beginning in the fall of 1929.

He taught at Union College until 1936, primarily in the choral area. He taught a vocal ensemble class, a select choral group that studied and performed English madrigals and works by composers Praetorius, J. S. Bach, Mozart and others. He also started glee clubs for both men and women in his first year at UC. In Ledington's final year at UC, he led a 75-member chorus that presented performances of both the Messiah and Haydn's Creation.

Ledington was a skilled arranger and composer who had studied composition in Minneapolis and Chicago while teaching at HTS and BC. Two spirituals arranged by him were sung by the UC male glee club in its first year and were praised for their rich harmonies. A cantata composed by him, The Prince of Life, was performed in the 1930-1931 school year by his ensemble class, augmented by other singers and soloists.

In the 1941 SDA Church Hymnal, he was represented by four hymns. Two of these, #398, Bread of the World and #667, Benediction, were retained in the 1985 Seventh-day Adventist Hymnal. They were written in 1938 and 1939, respectively, after they had moved to California. After leaving UC, they taught in Glendale Union, San Diego, and Lynnwood academies until 1957, when he was 68. While living in San Diego he served as Dean of the American Guild of Organists (AGO).

Beginning in the 1940s, he also pursued an interest in painting and watercolor that he had had since his earliest years. He studied for four years with Dong Kingman, recognized as one of San Francisco's finest watercolorists and with George Post and James Wright.  He exhibited in art shows in the West and was known particularly for his watercolors of boats and the sea.  He served as president of the San Diego Art Guild when he taught at San Diego Academy.

The Ledingtons were living in San Diego, when Stanley died on May 6, 197, at age 85. Esther was living in Honolulu, Hawaii, when she died on April 5, 1981, at age 89.


Sources: 1930, 1931,and 1936 Union College Golden Cords Yearbooks; Wayne H. Hooper and Edward E. White, Companion to the Seventh-day Adventist Hymnal, 1988, Review and Herald Publishing Association, 404; Stanley Ledington obituary, Review and Herald, 11 July 1974, 23; Esther Lorntz Ledington obituary, Review and Herald, June 18, 1981, 23,