Friend to Friend

From a personal interview by Joleen Meredith with the children and grandchildren of a General Authority.

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    “Dad has always had great faith in prayer and in the healing power of blessings for the sick. Once his mother was very ill and he remembers the neighbors coming to the house to assist. My father knew that his mother’s illness must be very serious and that frightened him. He ran into the cornfield and dropped to his knees, saying aloud, ‘Heavenly Father, please don’t let my mother die.’ After awhile he went back to her bedroom and asked, ‘How are you, Mother?’ She replied, ‘No better.’ He went back to the corn patch again to repeat his fervent plea. This continued until five o’clock in the afternoon when he again entered his mother’s room. ‘How do you feel, Mother?’

    “‘Better, son!’ she answered. And the next day she was able to sit up.”

    “Dad has a warm and outgoing disposition. He likes people and enjoys their friendship. He respects men and women, young and old alike, who do things and do them well. He has frequently expressed admiration for a farmer who operates a well-kept farm, a shop owner who runs a successful business, or a teacher who inspires and motivates people,” said one of his sons.

    “Dad has told us of his many experiences in the mission field. He was European Mission President for four years after World War II, and often recalls the difficulty of getting food to the Saints there. We sent food from home to Father and the missionaries in Europe; once we sent a canned ham and he and the Saints really had a feast.”

    “The Church has always come first in Dad’s life. He would close his bank and leave when a call came. He loved his family and held all of us in high esteem, but when a call came from the Brethren, he would quickly go.”

    “Dad has a powerful voice and was often asked to speak for different occasions. He was always prepared because he studied the scriptures a great deal.”

    A daughter made this comment: “Dad is a practical joker. I recall a story he relates about the time he and three other boys arrived at school early one morning. (Those were the days when everyone sat around one big stove in the room to keep warm.)

    “The teacher was quite superstitious so the boys decided to play a little joke. They climbed up into the attic before school started. When all the others were assembled around the stove, one of the boys in the attic called down through the stovepipe in a ghostly voice, ‘I am the ghost of thy father come to haunt this room indefinitely.’ Well, needless to say, everyone ran from the room and the scene was one of total chaos.

    “Later when the boys came down from the attic covered with dust and dirt, they were taken to the principal. He asked them some questions but couldn’t help laughing at their prank and their appearance.”

    “Often I had the privilege of driving Grandfather to one of his conference assignments. During this time he would talk about his life. He especially remembered Christmastime when he was a boy. His parents were poor and often there was nothing for Christmas.

    “Once his gift at Christmas was having his ice skates sharpened. Two of his friends received nothing so Grandpa let them borrow his newly sharpened skates.”

    “During a smallpox epidemic, Grandfather’s brother and sister died. His mother grieved for many months over the loss of these two children. One day a patriarch visited the family and blessed her. He promised that she would be compensated for the loss of her two children by having a son who would be like Alma of old, a man of faith and a leader in the Church. Sometime later she gave birth to twins—a boy and a girl. My grandpa was that boy!”

    “Grandpa was a champion wrestler in his day. He also was very good at broadjumping and boxing.”

    “Dad was past retirement age when he accomplished many important things in his life. He has always been busy, active, and dedicated.”

    “Dad studies and speaks a lot about the life of our Savior, saying how important it is to build a testimony of Him. He also testifies of the divinity of the Book of Mormon and the prophet Joseph Smith.”

    “Dad was on his first mission and was the mission secretary in charge of the travel preparations for the missionaries in Europe. When it came time for him and his companions to leave, he booked their passage on the big “unsinkable” ocean liner, the Titanic. However, one of the boys could not go then so Dad changed their departure date. When the boys heard that the Titanic had sunk, they all knelt down and thanked the Lord for preserving them.”

    “Dad is quite a poet and loves Shakespeare and great literature. He has memorized excerpts from many great literary works.”

    “A blind journalist wrote an article about my father in the town newspaper for January 27, 1937. One statement was: ‘If you can fill this fellow’s shoes you’re a honey. I mean he is big physically, intellectually and spiritually.”

    Show References

    • Alma Sonne

      This General Authority’s name is Alma Sonne, of the First Quorum of the Seventy.