When Heber Jeddy Grant was only nine days old, his father Jedediah M. Grant died after an uneven bout with pneumonia. Jedediah, who was only forty years old at that time, had been a missionary stalwart for the Church, second counselor to Brigham Young, and Salt Lake City’s first mayor.
To support herself and to help provide for Jeddy, the boy’s mother Rachel Grant did sewing for other people and took in boarders.
When Jeddy was about six years old, he liked to hitch rides on passing sleighs by hanging on behind for a block or two. Once he got on the sleigh of President Brigham Young, who liked to drive fast. Years later, he recalled, “I found myself skimming along with such speed that I dared not jump off …
“President Young, happening to notice me hanging on his sleigh, immediately called out—‘Brother Isaac, stop!” He then had his driver, Isaac Wilson, get out and pick me up and tuck me snugly under the robes on the front seat. President Young … asked, ‘Are you warm?’ and when I answered ‘yes,’ he inquired my name and where I lived. He then talked to me in the most kindly manner, told me how much he had loved my father and what a good man he was, and expressed the hope that I would be as good as my father. Our conversation ended in his inviting me to come up to his office some day and have a chat with him.”
Jeddy Grant did visit Brigham Young again, and often. Of their association he remarked, “I learned not only to respect and venerate him, but to love him with an affection akin to that which I imagine I would have felt for my own father, had I been permitted to know and return a father’s love.”
Jeddy worked just as diligently in his Church service as he did in business. At twenty-three he was called to be president of the Tooele, Utah Stake; at twenty-five he became an apostle of the Church; in 1901 he was chosen to open a new mission in Japan.
In 1918 Heber J. Grant was sustained as the seventh president of the Church, and he served in that capacity for over twenty-six years, longer than any president except Brigham Young. His spiritual leadership and valuable business sense helped the Church to grow rapidly during those years. He died in 1945 at eighty-eight years of age.