Diamond expert Bill Pope leaves behind legacy of hard work, curiosity

Published: Friday, Dec. 17 2010 11:00 p.m. MST

While in Iran, they were some of the only members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the area, so Pope got permission to hold meetings in their home with another LDS friend, Layton said. For fun, they would go on bike rides and play volleyball with the university students.

"It was a wonderful way to grow up," Layton said.

When they returned to Provo, Pope resumed teaching at BYU and began a lifetime of service in the LDS church, including as bishop of a student ward, counselor in a stake presidency, stake president and regional representative to the Twelve.

He was also a missionary on Temple Square with his wife, a high priest group leader and a sealer in the Provo Temple.

"Everything he did was to focus us on the gospel and salvation," Layton said, recalling one of his frequent phrases: "Never cry over anything that doesn't affect your salvation."

Pope and his wife, Margaret, who taught religion classes at BYU for 27 years, were also deeply devoted to education and set up various scholarships and endowments, including an endowed professorship at BYU.

Calvin Bartholomew, professor emeritus in BYU's chemical engineering department, was one of the recipients of the five-year professorship, which provided desperately needed funds for Bartholomew's research.

"Bill has always been such a congenial person, a good friend, and I'll miss him a great deal," Bartholomew said.

Similar comments have been pouring in to Pope's family from across the country, a testament to Pope's kindness and desire to make people feel important.

"Even at his funeral, I was awed at the kind of life he lived," Paxman said. "I knew what a great man he was character-wise, and I had seen him get awards, lots of awards, but I hadn't really stopped to contemplate what he had achieved in his life."

e-mail: sisraelsen@desnews.com

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