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

President Hinckley first noticed her while both were growing up in the Liberty Stake's 1st Ward in Salt Lake City. He lived across the street from her home, and in 1930, he asked her out on their first date. It was the start of an association, occasional at first, then interrupted by Elder Hinckley's LDS missionary service to Great Britain, that continued in the years that followed and was shared in many parts of the world.

Following his mission and during his employment at LDS Church headquarters, they were married in the Salt Lake Temple on April 29, 1937. Elder Stephen L Richards, then of the Quorum of the Twelve, performed the ceremony. They then moved into their first home, a family retreat in East Millcreek, at that time a quiet, rural area of the Salt Lake Valley.

In 1941, they built a home nearby, clearing the area and planting numerous trees, shrubs and flowers.

"Marjorie is a real Latter-day Saint," a longtime associate of Sister Hinckley said in an LDS Church News interview. "She always has time to help those in need of help. I have never heard her say an unkind word about anyone or to anyone. She makes all people welcome in her home. She is an outstanding mother and teacher."

"I first saw her in Primary," President Hinckley said, reflecting on his marriage. "She gave a reading. I don't know what it did to me, but I never forgot it. Then she grew older into a beautiful young woman, and I had the good sense to marry her.

"She was beautiful, she was light-hearted and happy, she was bright, and at the same time she was serious about the important things."

"The greatest judgment he has ever shown in his entire life," President Boyd K. Packer, acting president of the Quorum of the Twelve, says, "is the judgment he showed in marrying Marjorie Pay. You cannot know him unless you know her — the tender, guiding, patient influence she has been in his life and in that of their children."

"Marjorie was 'the girl next door' when we were growing up," recalled Ramona H. Sullivan, President Hinckley's younger sister, in a church magazine interview. "Only in this case it was the girl across the street. And she was very pretty. The thing I remember most about Marge in those early years is how polished and impressive she was, even as a young girl, in giving readings and performances in the meetings and activities of our old 1st Ward. All the other kids would just sort of stand up and mumble through something. Marjorie was downright professional. She had all of the elocution and all of the movements. I still remember those readings she gave."

Sister Hinckley received some outstanding praise from Elder L. Tom Perry of the Quorum of the Twelve during the April 1995 general conference, the day after her husband was sustained as church president.

"With all the pressures of church service thrust on the Hinckley family, Sister Hinckley has always maintained a balance between her two eternal callings — that of a wife and mother," Elder Perry told the Sunday afternoon congregation.

"Much of what we learn as members of the church is by example," he explained in speaking of the examples set by modern-day prophets and their wives.

"The sweet relationship of President and Sister Hinckley offers both the men and women of the church a marvelous example to observe and emulate," he continued.

"Much will be said, written and recorded about President Hinckley during the time he presides over the church. Much less will be recorded about his dear companion. What an example she has been and will continue to be to the women of the church and to all the world. She is such a loyal, supportive companion to our president."

In speaking directly to Sister Hinckley, Elder Perry said: "You are an inspiration to all of us. You are diligent in seeking after the truths the Lord has revealed for the growth and development of ourselves here in mortality. Your desire to know these truths has kept you busy studying the gospel. When the opportunity avails itself, you have regularly signed up for institute classes to deepen your knowledge. That knowledge is clearly in evidence as you speak and touch the saints. It is especially important when you stand before a group of full-time missionaries. Here you are at your best. How you inspire them and how they respond to your instructions."

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