1 of 8
Kenneth Mays
The Mesa Arizona Temple, where President Hunter was surprised to see his father walk in ready to participate in temple ordinances.

President Howard W. Hunter was born and raised in Boise, Idaho. His mother was a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints but his father was not.

Kenneth Mays
The gravesite of President Howard W. Hunter in the Salt Lake City Cemetery.

As a young adult, Howard moved to Southern California where he met Clara May "Claire" Jeffs. They were married in the Salt Lake Temple in 1931. The Hunters spent the first 28 years of marriage in California where Howard served as a bishop and stake president. Once, while addressing the members of his stake in the Mesa Arizona Temple, President Hunter recalled: “While I was speaking to the congregation, … my father and mother came into the chapel dressed in white. I had no idea my father was prepared for his temple blessings … I was so overcome with emotion that I was unable to continue to speak” (see “The Life and Ministry of Howard W. Hunter” in "Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Howard W. Hunter").

In 1959, Howard W. Hunter was called to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. The Hunter family occupied several residences in Salt Lake City for one to two years each. In 1963, they moved to the home where they would live for decades.

Comment on this story

During his ministry, Elder Hunter had a vast range of assignments: leadership over the Genealogical Society and Polynesian Cultural Center, service as Church Historian, service in the Holy Land (he dedicated the BYU Jerusalem Center for Near Eastern Studies), acting president and president of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and president of the church.

President Hunter will long be remembered for his emphasis on temple attendance. In his short time (less than a year) as church president, he was able to dedicate the Orlando Florida Temple and the Bountiful Utah Temple.