Jarl Wahlström

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Jarl Wahlström
12th General of The Salvation Army
In office
Preceded byArnold Brown
Succeeded byEva Burrows
Personal details
Jarl Holger Wahlström

(1918-07-09)9 July 1918
Helsinki, Finland
Died3 December 1999(1999-12-03) (aged 81)
Helsinki, Finland
Spouse(s)Maire Nyberg

Jarl Holger Wahlström (9 July 1918 – 3 December 1999) was the 12th General of The Salvation Army (1981–86).


Born to Colonel Rafael Wahlström, he was the youngest of five children. He grew up in Finland, as his father was the training principal. He became a Christian when he was seven years old. In 1937, he entered the International Training College in London, England, as a cadet in the Enthusiasts session, becoming an officer in 1938. His first appointment was assistant officer at the Oulu Corps. When World War II began, he was conscripted into the military for four years. The last two years of his military service were spent as battalion chaplain.[1]

Upon his return in 1944, he married Lieutenant Maire Nyberg. He was appointed Finland's territorial scout organiser when the war ended. Seven years later, he was moved to the Helsinki division as the youth secretary. In 1963, he was appointed to the position of training principal for Finland. A year later, he became a Knight of the Order of the Lion of Finland because of his work in the Scout Movement.[citation needed]

Wahlström's first overseas appointment came in 1972, when he took up the position of chief secretary for the Canada and Bermuda Territory. He went on to become territorial commander in Finland in 1976 and then in Sweden in 1981. He was elected to the office of General later that year. He led the International Youth Congress in 1985 at Western Illinois University in Macomb, Illinois, USA.[citation needed]

This was the first worldwide Salvation Army youth gathering since 1950 and the first international Salvation Army conference to be held outside the UK. In 1986, Wahlström retired from active service, moving back to Helsinki. After a lengthy illness, he died in 1999.[1]


He wrote song 857 in The Salvation Army Song Book (1986 version), "Great Joy Is Found in Serving Jesus." He was honoured with the Order of Civil Merit of Korea receiving the Mugunghwa Medal in 1983. He gained an Honorary Doctorate in Humane Letters from Western Illinois University in 1985. Wahlström was honoured by Rotary International with a Paul Harris Fellowship in 1987 and was made a commander of the Order of the White Rose in Finland in 1989.[1]


  1. ^ a b c Biography, salvationist.org; accessed 7 July 2015.
Preceded by
Arnold Brown
General of The Salvation Army
Succeeded by
Eva Burrows