Elder James A. Cullimore, an emeritus member of the First Quorum of the Seventy, was memorialized by members of the First Presidency, of his quorum, and of his family at funeral services in the Assembly Hall on Temple Square Wednesday, June 18.
He died in a Salt Lake City hospital on Saturday morning, June 14. He was eighty years old.
President Gordon B. Hinckley, First Counselor in the First Presidency, conducted the funeral and read a brief note from President Ezra Taft Benson, who had himself been hospitalized briefly because of a flu-like illness and was unable to attend.
“God bless this great man. I loved him dearly,” President Benson said.
President Thomas S. Monson, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, spoke of Elder Cullimore as a man of good cheer, a man of talent, a man of peace, a man of love, a man of God. He was a man without guile who loved everyone and was eager to serve wherever called.
Elder Marion D. Hanks of the presidency of the First Quorum of the Seventy testified that his brother in the priesthood “still lives, and always will.” He quoted from Isaiah 61:3, which speaks of those who are “trees of righteousness,” and noted that Elder Cullimore was one of those. [Isa. 61:3]
Elder Cullimore’s son Kelvyn outlined his father’s exemplary service as husband, father, Church leader, and employer, referring to him as “a beacon light that has set each of us on the path to peace and happiness.”
Elder Cullimore had served as a General Authority for more than twenty years, having been sustained as an Assistant to the Twelve on 6 April 1966. He was one of the original members of the First Quorum of the Seventy when it was organized in 1976, and was named to emeritus status in 1978.
James Alfred Cullimore was born 17 January 1906 in Lindon, Utah, one of twelve children of Albert Lorenzo and Luella Keetch Cullimore. His father was a bishop and also owner of a grocery store, where young James received his early experience in retailing.
He served a mission to California in 1925–27, then returned to his schooling at Brigham Young University, where he had attended one year before his mission. He was elected student body president for 1930–31.
It was in 1931 that he married another BYU student, Grace Gardner, in the Salt Lake Temple. She died in 1975, and he married Florence Prows in 1977, also in the Salt Lake Temple.
After receiving his bachelor of science degree from BYU in 1931, James Cullimore attended New York University School of Retailing on a scholarship, receiving a master’s degree in 1932. He worked as a furniture buyer for Gimbel Brothers department store in New York City, then for a Chicago department store. He also worked in Sioux City, Iowa, before taking a job with an Oklahoma City store in 1937.
In 1946, he opened his own Oklahoma City furniture store, which quickly became successful.
James Cullimore served the Church in a variety of positions during his business career, including as a branch president in Sioux City and Oklahoma City and as president of the West Oklahoma District. When the Oklahoma Stake was organized in 1960, he was called as its first president. He had served in that position for only a matter of weeks when he was called as president of the Central British Mission.
Following his return from England, he was called to be a member of the Church’s Priesthood Welfare Committee. Then in April of 1966, he was called as an Assistant to the Twelve.
In addition to his wife, Elder Cullimore is survived by his son Kelvyn and daughters, Luella (Mrs. Dale) Payne and Nancy (Mrs. George) Young; eighteen grandchildren and twenty great-grandchildren; and seven brothers and sisters. Also among the survivors are seven stepsons and stepdaughters, as well as numerous step-grandchildren and great-grandchildren.