Two generations of Master Guides: Petronila Gabriel with her granddaughter, Kelly Gabriel; William Zehm with his grandson, Nathan Roe.

August 22, 2019

Oldest Master Guides Recognized at Oshkosh

William Zehm, 92, is from Michigan and Petronila Gabriel, 91, is from Illinois.

During the International Pathfinder Camporee, two members from the Lake Union Conference were recognized as the oldest Master Guides attending the event in Oshkosh, Wisc.

William (Bill) Zehm, who turned 92 in June, was the oldest Master Guide at the International Camporee in Oshkosh, Wisc. Zehm is a member of the Stevensville Seventh-day Adventist Church and currently lives in Berrien Springs, Mich.

He was invested in April 1959 with 500 others at the largest Pathfinder investiture at that time in Lincoln, Neb. He had the honor of investing his grandson Nathan Roe in May 2017. His son, Ken and daughter-in-law Tonya are Master Guides and active in the Stevensville Challengers club.

Zehm's wife Corinne (who has passed) was actually invested as a Master Comrade before the Cold War, and the title was changed to Master Guide. 


Meanwhile, Petronila Gabriel was recognized as the oldest female Master Guide in attendance. Gabriel, 91, is an active member of Chicago's North Shore Seventh-day Adventist Church, serving as the Children's Ministries director and still teaching Pathfinder honors to this day!

She was invested as a Master Guide in 1951, by then General Conference Youth Director Theodore Lucas, during a union-wide youth congress in Manila, Philippines.

Gabriel was born in the Philippines to devoted Catholic parents, who both died by the time she turned 10. It was a kind, childless uncle and his wife, both Seventh-day Adventists, who adopted her and her three younger brothers.

She was baptized in 1942 and became involved in the youth ministries at church and school. It was while attending Philippine Union College that she not only completed a nursing degree, but also earned her Master Guide requirements.

She moved to Chicago in 1966 and worked as a nurse until her retirement from Cook County Hospital in 1998.

The family is committed to Pathfinder ministry. Her husband was invested in 1949 and their three daughters and son-in-law are all Master Guides; most of their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren have been in Pathfinders.