Funeral services were held in the Salt Lake Tabernacle, January 16, for Elder Mark E. Petersen, 83, of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, who died in a Salt Lake Valley hospital January 11.
Elder Petersen’s death was attributed to longstanding complications of cancer. Although he had been undergoing medical treatment and had been hospitalized a number of times within recent months, he still was a gracious, gentle man with a warm and sincere smile. Despite his health problems he continued to fulfill his Church responsibilities and pursue his personal interests. On the day of his death his latest book, beginning a series of writings on the Book of Mormon, was being prepared for publication.
He is survived by two daughters, three grandchildren, two great-grandchildren, a brother, and two sisters.
Elder Petersen had been a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles since April of 1944.
During the intervening years he traveled over the world repeatedly, assisting in the administration of the Church.
He served as director of its public communications programs for years. He established many visitors centers in various parts of the world, setting them up as teaching aids to missionaries who bring visitors and friends to see the exhibits provided there.
For years he served as a member of the Military Relations Committee and as member and advisor to the Music Committee of the church. For more than 20 years he was advisor to the worldwide Relief Society.
He supervised the work of the Latter-day Saints in western Europe for more than six years. His territory included all of western continental Europe, Great Britain, and South Africa. During that time he toured the Mediterranean area contacting Latter-day Saint servicemen in American bases in their various locations.
Elder Petersen was a journalist most of his life, serving in various capacities in the editorial department of the Church-owned newspaper, the Deseret News, later becoming general manager and then president of the corporation. He served more than 50 years with that publishing company, which included the operation of a large commercial printing plant, as well as a daily newspaper.
He wrote more than 40 books and pamphlets, including some of the missionary tracts used by missionaries throughout the world.
He married Emma Marr McDonald in 1923; she died in 1975.