Marjorie Hinckley dies

Beloved wife of LDS Church president — 'the lodestar of their family' — dies at 92

Published: Wednesday, April 7 2004 12:00 a.m. MDT

Marjorie Hinckley smiles as President Gordon B. Hinckley praises her at a region conference in Provo last year.

Jason Olson, Deseret Morning News

Marjorie Pay Hinckley, wife of LDS Church President Gordon B. Hinckley, died at 5:05 p.m. Tuesday at her home, surrounded by family, of causes incident to age. She was 92.

Funeral services are scheduled for 11 a.m. Saturday in the Tabernacle on Temple Square. At press time, no decision had been made regarding a viewing.

Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints worldwide learned of her failing health on Sunday during the final session of the church's 174th Annual General Conference. During closing remarks, President Hinckley said his wife had collapsed "with weariness" on their way home from a trip to Ghana in January.

President Hinckley dedicated the church's most recently completed temple there and said his wife accompanied him on to the island of Sal, then on to St. Thomas in the Caribbean before she became ill.

"She's had a difficult time ever since. She is now 92 years old, a little younger than I am," he said. "I guess the clock is winding down, and we do not know how to rewind it. It is a somber time for me."

The weekend conference was the first time in her husband's 46 years as a general authority of the church that she had not accompanied him to the meetings, President Hinckley said.

Known to Latter-day Saints worldwide as a small woman with a big heart and a warm sense of humor, she often accompanied her husband on church business and had traveled with him to many parts of the globe, conversing comfortably with both dignitaries and ordinary people. During meetings he conducted, he often called her to the podium to speak. Their banter put audiences at ease and endeared her to many.

In a press release from the Office of the First Presidency, President Hinckley identified his wife as "the lodestar of their family (who) gently guided her children with faith, intelligence and humor. Her happiest role was that of a supportive wife and mother (who) made good use of humor to settle many of life's difficulties. She was often heard to say, 'The only way to get through life is to laugh your way through it.' "

An avid reader and family history enthusiast, she encouraged her children and grandchildren to pursue higher education and "delighted in the opportunity to share stories of their (her ancestors') faith from her research."

She is survived by her husband; five children: Kathleen Barnes Walker (M. Richard); Richard G. (Jane); Virginia Pearce (James); Clark B. (Kathleen) and Jane Dudley (Roger); 25 grandchildren and 41 great-grandchildren.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests contributions to the church's Perpetual Education Fund or the Marjorie Pay Hinckley Chair in Social Work at Brigham Young University.

Sister Hinckley was born Nov. 23, 1911, in Nephi, the first child of Phillip LeRoy and Georgetta Paxman Pay. She had four sisters and two brothers, but one brother died in infancy. The family moved to Salt Lake City in 1914, and she attended East High School, graduating in 1929. She then went to work at the Owens Illinois Glass Co. performing secretarial duties.

Sister Hinckley came from a strong LDS ancestral background that formed her own deep faith. Her maternal grandfather, George Paxman, died at age 24 of injuries sustained while working on the Manti Temple. Her paternal grandmother, Mary Goble Pay, walked, as an 11-year-old girl, across the Great Plains with a handcart company during the Latter-day Saint migration to the West.

Serving in the LDS Church herself, she started teaching Sunday School at age 17 and held a variety of church assignments in Young Women, Primary and the Relief Society.

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