Funeral Services for Elder Richard L. Evans


Funeral services for Elder Richard L. Evans were held in the Salt Lake Tabernacle on Thursday, November 4, 1971. President N. Eldon Tanner, second counselor in the First Presidency, conducted the services. Speakers were President Joseph Fielding Smith, President Harold B. Lee, first counselor in the First Presidency and president of the Council of the Twelve, Elder Mark E. Petersen of the Council of the Twelve, and Elder Marion D. Hanks, Assistant to the Council of the Twelve.

Music for the services was provided by the Tabernacle Choir under the direction of Richard P. Condie, with Alexander Schreiner at the organ. Prayers were offered by Isaac M. Stewart, president of the Tabernacle Choir, and Elder Marion G. Romney of the Council of the Twelve. Burial was in the Salt Lake City Cemetery, where the grave was dedicated by David W. Evans, Elder Evans’s brother.

In his funeral sermon, President Smith paid the following tribute:

“Brother Evans has been taken by the Lord to another field of labor, where his great talents will be multiplied a hundredfold; where he will continue to use them in the furtherance of the Lord’s work; and where they are now needed even more than they were here among us.

“And may I say for the consolation of those who mourn, and for the comfort and guidance of all of us, that no righteous man is ever taken before his time. In the case of the faithful Saints, they are simply transferred to other fields of labor. The Lord’s work goes on in this life, in the world of spirits, and in the kingdoms of glory where men go after their resurrection.

“Life and labor and love are eternal, and Brother Evans is now assigned to continue his work in the spirit world, until that day when he shall come forth in glorious immortality to receive his place in the mansions that are prepared.

“He held the holy priesthood in this life and was ordained to stand as a special witness of the Lord’s name; he holds that same priesthood in the world of spirits and is there assigned to continue his labors for the salvation of our Father’s other children who have passed on without a knowledge of the saving principles of eternal truth which have been restored in this day.

“The Church on earth has lost the services of one of its most able and competent leaders who was endowed with special talents and abilities which are seldom equaled. But the same Church, which has an even more perfect and effective organization among the righteous dead, has gained another pillar of strength to use in the great labors that are performed there.

“His influence in this life extended to the ends of the earth, and we shall miss his voice, his counsel, and his wisdom as it was heard and felt among us. But in that sphere where the limitations and restrictions of mortality no longer curtail the spirit children of our Father, his voice, his counsel, and his wisdom will influence greater hosts who seek and need the words of life and truth found only in the gospel of Jesus Christ.”

President Lee, who characterized the career of Richard L. Evans in two words—love and work, declared:

“Those who have spoken eloquently today have told us of the unbounded prospect that began as this infant child, our beloved Richard, grew under the tutelage of a widowed mother. The family confided in me the intimacies of the early part of that life as we quietly watched at the hospital for the inevitable end. They told how the widowed mother struggled to keep the father, even though he had gone beyond, at the head of the house. Their mother, they reminisced, would often say, ‘What would your father think of you if you should do this or that? Would he be pleased? Are you always prepared to answer to your father?’ Never, it seemed, did she let them forget that their father was the head of that house.

“That saintly mother, by her children’s testimony, made of home a perfect model of heaven on earth.

“By the time this widowed mother had completed her early mission when her last-born child was now ready to take on the responsibilities of life, he had climbed to the summit of his career. As Karl G. Maeser, that great pioneer teacher, said, ‘There is a Mount Sinai for every child of God if he only knows where to find it.’ Richard found his Mount Sinai and climbed it to its summit.

“As I searched for a simple phrase to describe how this man reached the heights of his career, I found it in two simple words: ‘Give me love and work, these two only.’ ‘We have too many men who live without working, and we have altogether too many who work without living.’ (Charles Evans Hughes.)

“Richard L. Evans loved his work. He lived joyously, courageously, while he worked, because he loved with all his heart the work in which he was engaged.”

Elder Petersen, long-time associate of Elder Evans in the media as well as the leading councils of the Church, stated:

“No words at my command can give expression to the feelings of the heart this day.

“And my poor tongue is powerless to describe a friendship which can only be felt in the depths of the soul.

“But we must rise above the grief that bows us down, and make the effort which this occasion requires.

“In the Council of the Twelve, men are bound together in a great brotherhood which can hardly be equaled anywhere on earth. These men—these Twelve—have a special and distinctive calling from the Lord. They are called for one great purpose—to testify of Christ and teach his word. And this they do.

“One in their divine commission, one in a great effort to waken the world to its true opportunity to find peace and the abundant life, these men are united in heart and hand and soul.

“They move as one. They work as one. They feel as one, and today, they sorrow as one at the passing of another of God’s great servants who has given his all for the work.

“Like their associates in this great ministry, the Twelve know what it is to be devoted completely to the cause of Christ.

“Daily they go the extra mile. Daily they serve their Master with might and heart and soul, never counting the cost, willingly sacrificing even their health and well-being as necessary, but always seeking to build the kingdom with an eye single to the glory of God.

“And such was Richard Evans.

“Greatly talented, brilliant of mind, humble of heart, he never rested from his task. Of his own free will he sought constantly to teach the word on a wide front and in many and varied fields of endeavor.”