Elder Franklin D. Richards of the First Quorum of the Seventy was eulogized by members of the First Presidency, the Council of the Twelve, the presidency of his quorum, and his family at funeral services in the Assembly Hall on Temple Square November 17.
He died at his home in Salt Lake City November 13. His funeral was held the same day he would have celebrated his eighty-seventh birthday.
President Gordon B. Hinckley, First Counselor in the First Presidency, conducted the funeral services. He spoke of having had “an impression, strong and vivid,” to call on Elder Richards to say a few words during last October general conference. He did so after consulting with President Benson, feeling impressed that this would be the last time Elder Richards would have the opportunity to bear his testimony to the Church.
“God bless his memory,” President Hinckley said, describing Elder Richards as a man “qualified as a lawyer, respected as a government administrator, admired and emulated as a teacher of eternal truth.”
President Thomas S. Monson, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, said, “Franklin D. Richards was … a giant, placed among men by his creator,” and added, “He truly lived his own philosophy and practiced gospel principles in his daily life.”
“He was a man of enthusiasm,” said Elder Marvin J. Ashton of the Council of the Twelve, adding that Elder Richards lived by two guiding principles: “What is right, and what is best.”
Elder Richard G. Scott spoke about Elder Richards’ personal plan for success: “Plan, simplify, be strong.”
Franklin D. Richards, Jr., a son, spoke of the love and gentle wisdom of his father and of the wonderful example Elder Richards was to his family.
Elder Richards served as a General Authority for twenty-seven years, after being called as an Assistant to the Council of the Twelve on 8 October 1960. He was named a member of the Presidency of the First Quorum of the Seventy when it was organized 1 October 1976, and he served in that capacity until 1 October 1983. He served as president of the Washington (D.C.) Temple from October 1983 to January 1986.
Among his many accomplishments was a six-part missionary teaching program he introduced that was so successful it was later used throughout the Church.
Franklin Dewey Richards was born 17 November 1900 in Ogden, Utah, to Charles C. and Louisa Letitia Peery Richards. His paternal grandfather, Franklin D. Richards, was a member of the Council of the Twelve from 1849 to 1899.
Franklin Richards graduated from Weber Academy, then served in the Eastern States Mission from 1920–1922. There, he served as president of the Brooklyn, New York, and Boston, Massachusetts, districts.
In 1923 he received his LL.B. degree from the University of Utah. That same year he married Helen Kearnes of Salt Lake City in the Salt Lake Temple.
He practiced law in Utah until 1934, when he was named first Utah director of the Federal Housing Administration. He was appointed national commissioner of the FHA, with offices in Washington, D.C., in 1947. After resigning that position in 1952, he engaged in the mortgage banking business in Washington, D.C.; New York City; and Salt Lake City.
When Elder Richards was sustained as a General Authority, he was presiding over the Northwestern States Mission. Prior to that call, he had served as stake mission president, stake Sunday School board member, and chairman of a ward genealogical committee.
Elder Richards is survived by his wife; two sons—Franklin D. Richards, Jr., and David Kearnes Richards; two daughters—Louise (Mrs. Robert L. Judd, Jr.) and Nancy Helen (Mrs. Robert J. Clark); fourteen grandchildren; and fifteen great-grandchildren.