As news of the late-night passing of LDS President James E. Faust spread on Friday, leaders in the political and legal communities said President Faust was well-respected as a church leader, an attorney and tireless leader in politics.
Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. said: "Mary Kaye and I are mourning the loss of President James E. Faust as we cherish the dear relationship we've shared with him and his family."
Huntsman is the grandson of the late Quorum of the Twelve member David B. Haight, who served with President Faust in church leadership for decades.
"I have always had a deep respect for President Faust and his tremendous example of selfless service and caring for his community and the world. He left a legacy of public service and thoughtfulness to which we can all aspire.
"We extend our deepest of sympathies to the family and the community who loved President Faust. May their hearts be lightened by his wonderful life. Our hearts and prayers are with the Faust family."
Attorney Vince Rampton, son of three-time Utah Gov. Cal Rampton said President Faust was a long-time legal colleague of his father. Rampton said a recent stroke which left his father unable to speak prevented his father from being able to comment on the passing.
"They were friends for a very long time," Vince Rampton said. "My father felt that he was somebody he could talk to."
"On behalf of my father, certainly he was a great friend and will be greatly missed. His contribution to the growth of the church has been inestimable."
President Faust was a 1948 graduate of the University of Utah College of Law and went into private practice until his call to be a general authority in 1972. He had served as president of the Utah Bar Association from 1962-63 and was a member of the Utah Legislature on the Democratic ticket from 1949-51. While a legislator, he also served as chairman of the house liquor investigation committee.
He also served as a member of the Constitutional Revision Committee for the State of Utah and had been an adviser to the American Bar Journal. Former Utah Gov. Scott Matheson appointed him state director for the Friendshipping Force.
In 2003, President Faust became the first recipient of the Distinguished Service Award from the J. Reuben Clark Law Society.
Oscar McConkie Jr., a well-known attorney and Democrat, said that President Faust had a life-long interest in politics and government service.
"As a young man he was elected to the Utah House of Representatives as a Democrat," recalls McConkie, whose family were long-time friends with the Fausts.
Later, in 1960 after newly-elected President John F. Kennedy appointed his own brother, Robert, as U.S. attorney general, a special committee on civil rights was set up under the Justice Department.
"Bobby Kennedy asked President Faust to serve on this important committee, and he did," recalled McConkie. The Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law was a group that encouraged lawyers across the nation to provide free legal service to victims of race discrimination. "A very important work, and President Faust did that for several years."
Over many years, "President Faust was one of the prominent political figures of this state," said McConkie.
With a chuckle, McConkie said: "We've been friends for a long, long time. I've tried cases against him" back before President Faust was made a church leader. "He is a great and good man."
U.S. Sen. Bob Bennett, R-Utah, a grandson of former LDS Church President Heber J. Grant, said: "I had the great honor of knowing President Faust fairly well and I have lost a dear friend. The church has lost a great leader and Joyce (Bennett's wife) and I extend our deepest sympathies to the family."
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