As a young man, Derek A. Cuthbert seemed destined for great things in his native Britain; he had talent, education and emerging business and administrative skills. Yet he surely could never have imagined the direction his life would take and the impact he would have on so many.
At his death this week at the untimely age of 64, Elder Cuthbert was a general authority of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, serving in the First Quorum of the Seventy. For 13 years he had filled assignments in that role all over the globe and become known to millions of church members.Born Oct. 5, 1926, in Nottingham, England, he showed promise at an early age and was reared in a home with Christian values. He served for more than three years in the Royal Air Force, including duty in India, Burma and Hong Kong. He married his childhood sweetheart, Murial Olive Mason, just before being shipped to the Far East in 1945.
After his return, he attended the University of Nottingham, graduating with honors in economics and law in 1950. He subsequently served on the governing body of the university. He ultimately become an executive in the petrochemical industry.
In the year after his graduation, he and his wife met Mormon missionaries, joined the LDS Church, and as his wife said, their lives took on a "whole new dimension," including his service as branch president, district president, and stake president in several stakes. He also served four stake and district missions and served as counselor to four mission presidents.
In 1970 he became a regional representative to the Council of the Twelve and in 1975 was called as full-time president of the Scotland Edinburgh Mission. That full life of church service is one familiar to many others, but there was more. In 1978, Elder Cuthbert was called to the First Quorum of the Seventy.
This required him to uproot his family and move to the United States with his wife and 10 children where he served faithfully and diligently for the rest of his life.
His kindness and tact and understanding touched many lives, and LDS Church members owe a debt of gratitude to Great Britain for the remarkable service and example of one of its native sons.