It is no surprise that Elder Paul Edward Koelliker of the First Quorum of the Seventy, as the father of seven children and the former managing director of the Church’s Temple Department, believes that family is everything and that the temple is all about nurturing and sustaining the family.
“The Lord in His tender mercies has really blessed our lives,” says Elder Koelliker. “We have regular family gatherings, and we go to the temple. Our children have their grandfather’s gift for storytelling, and they keep us laughing for hours.”
Born on March 12, 1943, in Pittsburg, California, Elder Koelliker is the oldest of five children born to Edward C. and Lois B. Olson Koelliker. The family moved to Salt Lake City, Utah, in 1945.
Elder Koelliker attended high school with his future wife, Freda Ann Neilson, but they didn’t date until they were students at the University of Utah in 1964. By then, Elder Koelliker was back from his mission to Berlin, Germany. He and Ann married in the Salt Lake Temple on March 18, 1966.
Of his mission, he says, “We met with people who had been thrust out of their homes. The meaning of family became evident to me as we taught families whose parents were on the other side of the Berlin Wall.”
Grateful for his opportunities to serve in the Church as a stake president and bishop, Elder Koelliker acknowledges that those experiences helped prepare him for his work in the Temple Department.
“I love serving in the Temple Department,” says Elder Koelliker, who, with a degree in business administration, has worked for the Church in a variety of positions since 1966. “Sixty-nine temples have been built since I have been in this position. I have witnessed firsthand the mind and energy of President Gordon B. Hinckley. I believe his heart is with the work of the temples, and I sustain him in this sacred trust. He is a man for this season and a resource of truth. My witness of his prophetic call is strong.”