The following biographical sketch is largely adapted from the "News of the
Church: Elder Alvin R. Dyer Dies" in the May 1977 issue of the Ensign.
Elder Alvin Rulon Dyer of the First Quorum of the Seventy
died recently at his home. He had served twenty years as a General Authority
of the Church, since 1958 when he was called as an Assistant to the Council
of the Twelve. He was 74.
At funeral services, held on March 9 (three days
after his death) and conducted by President N. Eldon
Tanner, First Counselor in the First Presidency, President Ezra
Taft Benson of the Council of the Twelve said of Elder Dyer, “He has
left this Church a great legacy of example and leadership.”
His leadership began when he was in high school and
well known for his ability as a baseball pitcher. He set the example of
what a young man of the Church should strive for when he laid aside his
athletic activities to serve in the Eastern States Mission from 1922 to
1924. On his return, he had the opportunity of entering the professional
ranks of baseball, but because it would have meant playing on Sundays he
declined the offers, and instead he became a sheet metal journeyman studying
mechanical drafting and technical engineering through a correspondence
Elder Dyer was married in the Salt Lake Temple to
May Elizabeth Jackson on 2 June 1926.
In 1934 he became the manager of the heating and
air conditioning department of Utah Builders Supply. Fifteen years later
he formed the Dyer Distributing Company which he owned until 1954, when
he was called to serve as president of the Central States Mission. At that
time, he dissolved his business interests.
During these years, Elder Dyer gained stature as
a leader by magnifying his many opportunities to serve in the Church. He
served as first counselor in the Fifteenth Ward bishopric, Salt Lake Stake,
from 1927 to 1934; Salt Lake Stake high councilor,
1934-40; Riverside Stake high councilor, 1940-42; Sunday School superintendent,
Yalecrest Ward, Bonneville Stake, 1942-44; second counselor and then bishop
in the Monument Park Ward from 1944 until his call as a mission president.
As mission president Elder Dyer was active in both
the Missouri Historical Society and the Jackson County Historical Society.
His involvement in historical research and his knowledge of the area were
to pay rich dividends for the Church in later years on yet another assignment.
On his return from the mission field, Elder Dyer
was called to serve as first assistant in the Young Men’s Mutual Improvement
Association general presidency. On 11 October 1958 he was called as an
Assistant to the Council of the Twelve. In this capacity he served as European
Mission president from 1960 to 1962. While in Europe he helped negotiate
the microfilming of genealogical records in Poland.
Elder Dyer had a Priesthood career that is truly unique
as far as Grampa Bill has been able to determine. As mentioned above, Elder Dyer
was called as an Assistant to the Twelve in 1958. His priesthood office was that
of a High Priest.
In 1967, Elder Dyer was ordained an Apostle, although
he remained an Assistant and was not a member of the Quorum of the Twelve. Subsequently he was set
apart as a counselor in the First Presidency, and, said President Benson,
“He had the blessing pronounced on him that
he was to be a watchman over the consecrated lands in Missouri.”
President Benson said that in discharging this responsibility,
Elder Dyer was instrumental in recommending the construction of a visitors
center at Independence. “Today, it is one of our most influential centers.”
With the death of President McKay in 1970, Elder
Dyer was released from the First Presidency and returned to his position
as an Assistant to the Twelve, and he was then asked to oversee the work
of raising missionary funds for those who would otherwise not be able to
afford a full-time mission.
In 1972 he suffered a stroke that curtailed much
of his activity, but he still accepted a call to serve as managing director
of the Church Historical Department, still remaining an Assistant to the Twelve.
Then on October 1, 1976, with the dissolution of the
Assistants to the Twelve, he was ordained a Seventy
and placed in the First Quorum of the Seventy. Grampa Bill knows of no one else
who was ever ordained an Apostle and then later ordained a Seventy! Elder
Dyer served in the First Quorum of the Seventy until his death March 6, 1977.
At the funeral service, Elder Marion
D. Hanks of the Presidency of the First Quorum of the Seventy said,
“In his wide-ranging and far-reaching ministry across the earth, Alvin
Dyer has blessed many lives and lifted many hearts. He has done this with
courage, with greatness, and with gentility.”