Receiving one of his countless honors on April 15, 1999 tax-deadline day he commented that the event would soon end, allowing audience members to "still be able to get your tax returns in the mail." Such was his charm, his grace, his energetic way.
Blessed for most of his life with excellent health, President Hinckley channeled his good fortune into unending service. To the end, he wore out his life in doing good and in meeting his responsibilities. When asked if he exercised, he was fond of responding that he did not run, jog or swim but he kept plenty busy attending and speaking at funerals of friends who did.
Yet underlying his buoyant persona and delightful demeanor was a man converted to the cause of Christ, one who never shirked his duty and was fearless in proclaiming right over wrong to all who would give ear. Many did and were better for it both within and without The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. President Gordon Bitner Hinckley was such a servant a man steeped in faith and service, knowledge and integrity who traveled the world over to teach and inspire countless lives. His memory will be forever sweet and his legacy rich and lasting. A beloved leader has left us, but his teachings and example will live through the ages.
Among the many positive imprints left from his ministry and leadership, foremost may be the expanded program of LDS temple construction undertaken in recent years. In considering how more faithful church members could be beneficiaries of sacred temple ordinances without undue travel and financial hardship, President Hinckley felt impressed to build smaller edifices closer to the members.
An ambitious program of planning and construction began almost immediately that has vitalized many LDS faithful who previously had little hope of ever attending far-away temples. As with all of his successes, he was quick to credit the inspiration of heaven for the innovative change.
Yet even heaven's help would have had little efficacy without a willing and recipient vessel.