Elder Glen L. Rudd, the Church's “Mr. Welfare”—Dies at Age 98
Contributed By Jason Swensen, Church News staff writer
Elder Glen L. Rudd, an emeritus General Authority Seventy and the Church's so-called “Mr. Welfare,” died Friday, December 30. He was 98.
His life was defined by his service to others—particularly those who needed a helping hand and a loyal friend. He was a devoted Church employee, a beloved mission and temple president, an influential General Authority, and a trusted friend to several Church Presidents, including President Thomas S. Monson.
Countless bishops, branch presidents, and Relief Society presidents learned key principles of provident living from his seminal book Pure Religion, the Story of Church Welfare Since 1930.
In a 2007 personal letter, President Gordon B. Hinckley noted, “No one knows the history of the welfare program more thoroughly than do you.”
Born in 1918 to Charles and Gladys Harman Rudd, Glen Rudd was raised in a Salt Lake City neighborhood laid low by the economy. “When the Great Depression hit, it hit our Pioneer Stake hard,” he said in a 2012 Church News interview.
The stake built a storehouse in 1932 under the direction of stake president Harold B. Lee, the future Apostle and Church President who would become a key welfare mentor for Elder Rudd. The Rudd family were in the poultry business and donated thousands of pounds of chicken to the stake storehouse. Young Glen learned early the importance of provident living and care for those in need.
In 1938, he was called to missionary service in New Zealand, where he served as secretary and traveling companion to President Matthew Cowley, who would later be called to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.
He would return home and marry Marva Sperry, who preceded him in death. The Rudds are parents of eight children and have 41 grandchildren and more than 70 great-grandchildren.
Glen Rudd attended the University of Utah and then went to work in the family poultry business.
In 1953, he was called by Elder Harold B. Lee to serve as the manager of Welfare Square. The job, he would say later, didn't pay much money. “But when Brother Lee spoke I jumped.”
Elder Rudd left a deep footprint on the Church's welfare program. Besides managing Welfare Square, he served 35 years on the Church's General Welfare Committee. He maintained an office at the Church Office Building until he was 95.
He would also guide and influence multiple generations of welfare workers.
“Glen Rudd had natural common sense and a quick sense of humor,” said LDS welfare specialist Wade Sperry a short time after learning of Elder Rudd's death. “He was genuine and made everyday people a priority. I admired his candidness and humility. As a mentor, he showed me how eternal perspective brings quality to life every day.”
Called as a bishop at the age of 25, Elder Rudd fulfilled a variety of Church callings. He presided over missions in Florida, New Zealand, and Texas and served as the president of the New Zealand Temple. He would serve for six years as a Regional Representative before being called to the Seventy in 1987.
His assignments would take him across the world to some 900 stake, regional, and area conferences.
Funeral services for Elder Rudd are planned for Wednesday, January 4, at noon at the Salt Lake Wilford Stake Center, 1765 East 3080 South, Salt Lake City, Utah.
Elder Glen R. Rudd, who died December 30, 2016, spoke during the dedication of the new Deseret Mill and Pasta plant in Kaysville, Utah, February 26, 2015. Elder Rudd has seen the welfare program develop into a resource that has touched tens of thousands of lives around the world.