LDS President Gordon B. Hinckley dies at age 97

LDS president met call with humility, vigor

Published: Monday, Jan. 28 2008 12:00 a.m. MST

He and Elder G. Homer Durham, who later served in the First Quorum of the Seventy, served in the office together; they and another missionary took a short trip through Europe on their way home from their missions in June 1935.

Another mission companion was Wendell J. Ashton, publisher of the Deseret News from 1978 through 1985.

On returning home, President Hinckley went to the office of the First Presidency to deliver a mission status report and after delivering the report in a session that lasted 1 1/2 hours was asked to teach seminary part time. Soon afterward, President David O. McKay organized the church Radio, Publicity and Mission Literature Committee and asked President Hinckley to serve part time as secretary of that committee, which then included six members of the Quorum of the Twelve.

The committee, forerunner to the church's Public Communications Department, prepared numerous filmstrips and audiovisual materials for use throughout the church. President Hinckley was put in charge of church radio work at the time and wrote many radio scripts, including 39 half-hour dramatizations of church history titled "The Fullness of Times," which he also edited and produced. Another series, readings from the Book of Mormon titled "A New Witness for Christ," also enjoyed wide radio play.

He married Marjorie Pay on April 29, 1937, in the Salt Lake Temple, and, in the busy years that followed, they reared five children: Kathleen H. Barnes; Richard Gordon Hinckley; Virginia H. Pearce, who served in the Young Women general presidency; Clark Bryant Hinckley; and Jane H. Dudley.

Sister Hinckley died at age 92 on April 6, 2004, two days after President Hinckley announced at the Sunday afternoon session of general conference that she had been stricken with weariness en route home from the dedication of the Accra Ghana Temple. Her death came on the 174th anniversary of the restoration of the church.

As part of his committee duties and in addition to other assignments, President Hinckley was put in charge of church exhibits for the San Francisco World's Fair in 1938-39 and the centennial celebration of the discovery of gold in Coloma, Calif., in 1948.

During World War II, President Hinckley was assistant superintendent of the Salt Lake Union Depot and Railway Co. Later he became assistant manager of mail and express traffic for the Denver & Rio Grande Western Railroad. He was also president and director of a local company, Recording Arts Inc. He was honored in 1995 for his railroad service.

He also directed the work of translators throughout the world, including the translation of various editions of the Book of Mormon, the Missionary's Handbook, and the "Principles of the Gospel" handbook for servicemen. He served with President Joseph Fielding Smith and Elder Richard L. Evans on a committee to produce the church's temple ceremony in 13 languages and helped initiate temple work in the Swiss, New Zealand and London temples.

In 1951, President Hinckley was appointed executive secretary of the church's Missionary Committee, where he administered the affairs of dozens of missions and thousands of missionaries worldwide.

Although at the time he was an Assistant to the Twelve, then-Elder Hinckley was responsible for the church's work in Asia. He traveled to the Orient 21 times in an eight-year period.

He created 60 stakes during his service in the Twelve and another in England when he was church president.

He also served as a stake president's counselor, president of the East Mill Creek Stake and a member of the Sunday School General Board. He was called as Liberty Stake Sunday School superintendent the year before his marriage.

President Hinckley received the 1985 Utah Lifetime Achievement Award from Southern Utah State College on May 6, 1985. And in February 1986 he was given the Silver Beaver award by the Great Salt Lake Council, Boy Scouts of America.

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