1 of 7

MILLCREEK — President Thomas S. Monson bid farewell Wednesday to his lifelong friend, fellow church leader and frequent traveling companion, Elder Glen L. Rudd.

“We were bishops together, we were (mission) presidents together, we were General Authorities together and we traveled all over the world together,” he said at the conclusion of Elder Rudd's funeral services at the Kenwood 2nd Ward chapel.

Elder Rudd died Friday, Dec. 30, at age 98. An emeritus General Authority, he was a trusted friend and confidant to a long list of presidents and apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He accompanied President Monson and dozens of other church leaders on assignments across the globe.

“I can't tell you the many times that I called Glen and asked, 'Will you come with me to, say, Samoa or Tahiti?',” remembered President Monson. “He would say, 'I'll be ready and I'll be with you.'”

Elder Rudd's willingness to serve God and others blessed countless lives.

“I'm a better man for having had at my side the man we honor today — Glen L. Rudd.”

Elder Rudd's death does not mark an end to their friendship, the church president said. “He's just gone ahead of us to that next step in our Heavenly Father's plan.”

President Russell M. Nelson, president of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, also spoke about the man affectionately known as “Mr. Welfare” following his decades of leadership and service in the church's welfare program.

The two met, aptly, at a gathering decades ago at Welfare Square. “We formed a friendship that has endured through the ages.”

Elder Rudd wanted nothing more than to serve and love all those around him, he added.

In 2014, President Nelson presided over a missionary meeting in New Zealand — a nation where Elder Rudd had served as a missionary, a mission president and a temple president.

In the congregation that day was Elder Rudd. President Nelson called his friend to the podium to speak. “He gave a faith-promoting message that they will never forget and I will never forget.”

The next day at a stake conference President Nelson again invited Elder Rudd to speak. “He came to the pulpit with great stature and dignity and gave a marvelous message.”

Elder Rudd served his family and his church with great energy — but serving was never easy, said his friend, Bishop Keith B. McMullin, an emeritus General Authority. He endured chronic headaches and, following the death of his wife, Marva, daily heartaches. But he pushed through.

Through Elder Rudd's example, “we too have learned how to fight a good fight, finish the course and keep the faith. Because of your example we pledge to do so ourselves.”

Bishop McMullin called Elder Rudd his teacher, mentor and eternal friend. “For over four decades you have schooled me, prodded me and insisted that I give my very best.”

Elder Rudd's son, Charles Rudd, spoke of his father's devotion to God, his family and his many friends. Caring for others and doing good, he said, was part of the Rudd family creed. "(Our father) taught us that work is a blessing, not a curse."

At the time of his death, Elder Rudd was the oldest surviving emeritus General Authority in the church.

jswensen@deseretnews.com @JNSwensen