President Gordon B. Hinckley had five children, 25 grandchildren and 62 great-grandchildren, but his family included millions of people, Virginia Hinckley Pearce said at the LDS Church leader's funeral Saturday.
Pearce, one of President Hinckley's daughters, spoke as a family representative and reflected on her ancestors' background, which shaped her father's life so much. She also recognized the global family surrounding him.
"This isn't just about our little family," Pearce said. "Because, as President Hinckley has often told us, we are one great family some 13 million strong sharing an inheritance of faith."
Pearce expressed gratitude to the many people who were involved in President Hinckley's life, from the doctors and nurses who treated him to the counselors and members of the Quorum of the Twelve who loved and assisted him.
"We cannot find words to tell you of our love for our father's associates and their wives," Pearce said. "We have found them to be devoid of selfish interests and completely dedicated to the kingdom. ... They have helped, loved and assisted our father and, by extension, us."
She said her family wanted to speak out "in celebration of the life of our father and prophet," as their tribute to President Hinckley.
President Hinckley's great-grandmother was the first in the Hinckley family to be baptized into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1837 in Canada. The Hinckleys moved to Illinois and then to Utah, where President Hinckley's father eventually earned a teaching position at Brigham Young Academy and the LDS Business College, Pearce said.
"He (President Hinckley's father) knew heartache and faced challenges that would test the faith of the strongest saint, but he never wavered in devotion to the Lord and his church," Pearce said.
She said President Hinckley was aware of the obligation he had to pass on the things he inherited from his forebears and his children are grateful for the example and teachings they received from their father and mother.
"Our parents loved us, they taught us, corrected us, laughed and prayed for and with us," Pearce said. "And we honor them."
Pearce said the death of her mother, Marjorie Pay Hinckley, was a difficult trial for her father to endure. She said her father wept openly over the loss of his wife, but that he "went back to work in every sense of the word," with an increased compassion for others as he dealt with his grief.
President Hinckley also mourned when he was diagnosed with cancer, Pearce said, but with the help of medical personnel, lived for two more years. Recently, when President Hinckley dedicated a renovated chapel in Salt Lake City, he offered an unusual prayer in which he publicly prayed for himself, Pearce said. President Hinckley prayed that God would comfort and sustain him and bless him, she said."We bear testimony that his peaceful passing is evidence that the Lord heard and answered his prayers according to his needs. ... "