Funeral services for Elder Robert D. Hales, one of the top ranking leaders in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, was held Friday afternoon in Salt Lake City. He died last Sunday after being hospitalized with pulmonary disease and other conditions.
Elder M. Russell Ballard spoke about knowing Elder Hales since they were in college at the University of Utah. He said the two of them have served together for over 40 years.
“The past several years we have sat next to each other in the Quorum of the Twelve,” said Elder Ballard. “Elder Hales’ quick wit and sometimes very funny comments will be missed. His wise counsel and his depth insights regarding the issues we face in the church today will also be greatly missed by all of us.”
Elder Hales was 85-years-old and had been a member of the Church’s Quorum of the Twelve Apostles for more than 23 years.
Quorum President, Russell M. Nelson also spoke about Elder Hales’ sense of humor and “New York bred candor.” He talked about his tireless efforts while serving in many different Church callings.
“In his 42-and-a-half-years as a general authority, he has participated in nearly every council and committee at Church Headquarters,” said President Nelson. “His wisdom, insight and influence have had a profound effect on the rolling forth of the Kingdom of God across the globe. In addition, his personal ministry to individual saints in every corner of the earth is beyond measure. He has fully magnified his apostolic calling as a special witness of the Savior.”
Elder Hales was called as a general authority of the Church in April 1975, serving as an assistant to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and later as a member of the Quorum of the Seventy. He was Presiding Bishop of the Church from April 1985 until his call to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles on April 2, 1994.
President Henry B. Eyring, First Councilor in the Church’s First Presidency, described how Elder Hales was a perfectly loyal friend. He also described the medical challenges Elder Hales had, especially later in his life.
“Whatever the cost and how difficult the command, he was loyal to his family and friends, to the Lord and to the Lord’s Prophet,” said President Eyring.
Hales was born in New York City on August 24, 1932. In addition to graduating from the University of Utah, he held a master of business administration degree from Harvard. He also served in the U.S. Air Force as a jet fighter pilot. He and his wife Mary Crandall had two sons.
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