Grampa Bill's General Authority Pages
Howard W. (William) Hunter
1907 - 1995
spacer
  • Born 1907, Boise, Idaho
  • Baptized 1920; Aaronic Priesthood as a youth; Melchizedek Priesthood as a young Man
  • Married Clara Mae Jeffers 1931, Salt Lake Temple; three children
  • Ordained High Priest 1940
  • Bishop, Stake President
  • Ordained Apostle and sustained to the Quorum of the Twelve, 1959-1994
  • Widowed by death of Clara Jeffers Hunter, October 1983
  • Acting president of the Council of the Twelve, 1985-1988
  • President of the Twelve 1988-1994
  • Married Inis Bernice Egan April 1990
  • Fourteenth President of the Church 1994-1995
  • Died 1995 Salt Lake City, Utah

Howard W. Hunter, fourteenth president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was the first president born in the twentieth Century. With a term in office of only nine months, his was the shortest tenure of any of the modern prophets. Still, despite ill health, it was a busy tenure with extensive traveling and speaking. He emphasized the importance of every member being temple worthy, holding a recommend, and attending the temple regularly.

Howard W. Hunter was born November 14, 1907 in Boise, Idaho to John William Hunter and Nellie Rasmussen. While his mother was an active member and his father descended from stalwart pioneers, his paternal great grandfather had fallen away and Howard's father was not a member of the Church. In fact, when Howard turned eight and desired to be baptized, his father forbade it, wishing him to be older before making the decision. It was only after Howard reached the age of twelve and could not receive the priesthood that his father acceded to the importunings and allowed the young lad to join the Church.

Howard suffered many ills during his life and it is a monument to his faith that he could achieve so much. At the age of four, Howard contracted polio, then a ravaging killer of the young. Although Howard escaped the paralysis that afficted so many polio victims, he suffered back pain the rest of his life. He was also color blind. In later years, he suffered from prostate cancer which spread to the bones.

Notwithstanding his ills, Howard developed a strong work ethic and worked hard even as a child. His early employment included picking fruit at local orchards, cleaning corn, caddying, soda jerk, copy writer for a newspaper, and bellboy and porter at a local hotel. Still, at the age of fifteen, he found time to earn the Eagle Scout Award, the highest in Scouting, becoming the second Scout in Boise to do so.

Howard developed an interest in music at an early age and took piano and violin lessons as a child. Later he learned to play the marimba, drums, saxophone, clarinet and then trumpet. Although he had thought to enter the University of Washington in Seattle, he decided instead to accept an opportunity for the band he had formed in high school to perform aboard a cruise ship during a two month tour of the orient. It was an adventurous trip. In Shanghai, he witnesssed a city on the edge of revolution. During a Chinese New Year celebration in Hong Kong, a British Bobby had to rescue him and a companion from pursuers. In the Philippines the band had the chance to play on a local radio station. Most memorable, perhaps, he found on his return home, that his father had joined the Church during his absence.

In 1928, he moved to Los Angeles where after a sucession of dead-end jobs including sorting lemons by color-quite dificult for one who is color blind, he secured employment at a bank and began to attend night school. While attending a Church social, he met Clara Mae Jeffers. A courtship ensued and on June 10, 1931 Howard and Clara were married in the Salt Lake Temple. They would later have three children, one of whom died in early childhood.

 

Soon after their marriage, the bank at which Howard was working went belly-up, and the Great Depresssion, which had seemed far away, was suddenly at their doorsteps. The couple was reduced for a time to living with Clara's parents and Howard working for her father painting bridges before he secured stable employment with the Los Angeles Flood Control District. His new job involved legal affairs and Howard developed an interest in the law. He returned to school where he earned a law degree in 1939, graduating cum laude from Southwestern University. He was admitted to the bar later the same year.

 

In 1940, he established his own private practice as an attorney. A year later, he was called as Bishop of his ward. Those who recall his days as Bishop remember him as a compassionate yet determined leader. One day during Sacarament Meeting, he observed that the Deacons, having served the Sacrament, slipped out of the meeting. Bishop Hunter left the stand, followed them next door to a drugstore where they were enjoying sodas, and collaring them completely, said, "Brethren, when you have finished your malts, we will continue the meeting." He served as Bishop for eight years.

 

Two years after being released as Bishop, the Hunters moved to nearby Arcadia where soon afterward he was called as the Stake President. During the nine and a half years he served as Stake President, he led numerous building funds projects including those for a new stake center and, starting in 1951, the Los Angeles Temple. During his tenure as stake president, he also served as chairman of the southern California regional council of stake presidents, encouraged family home evening for stake members fifteen years before its formal designation as a Church program, and pioneered the early-morning seminary program in southern California.

Howard was also active in doing temple work. On the occasion of his forty-sixth birthday he was in the chapel of the Los Angeles temple instructing members of his stake who were in attendance of a stake temple day. He received the suprise of his life and the best birthday present ever when his parents walked in, dressed in white, prepared to be sealed to one another and have him sealed to them.

Howard's law practice flourished and he was, in fact, nominated to a state judgeship. He declined the honor since he feared it would curtail his freedom to set his own schedule and thus adversely impact his time with family and church.

Howard might have looked forward to a more leisurely time with approaching retirement but the Lord would have none of it. In 1959, during a routine visit to Salt Lake City to attend conference he was called in for an interview with President David O. Mckay. President Mckay went straight to the point. "The Lord has spoken. You are called to be one of his special witnesses, and tomorrow you will be sustained as a member of the Council of the Twelve."

Howard could hardly speak when he called Clara who was in Provo with a new grandson. President David O. McKay ordained him an Apostle and set him apart as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve on 15 October 1959. Elder Hunter became the seventy-fourth Apostle to be called in this dispensation.

The new Apostle was called upon to travel the world in fulfillment of his responsibilities. He liked to plan his own itinerary and would study the history and culture of the regions to which he was assigned. Tonga, Norway, and Panama were all beneficiaries of his visits and loving counsel. He traveled so often that one of his young grandsons called him the "Grandpa who lives at the airport."

He served as President of the Genealogical Society of Utah from 1964 to 1972. His innovations there included computerizing the records for the first tiime. In 1970 he was named Church Historian.

The early seventies saw declining health of both Elder Hunter and his beloved Clara. She suffered two cerebral hemmorhages whic necesitated full time nursing care. Elder Hunter visited her every day, even as he was preparing for back surgery himself. Clara died in October 1983. In coming years he suffered a heart attack, coronary bypass surgery, and continuing lower back pain. An operation for a bleeding ulcer required nine units of blood, over a gallon! The operation left him in kidney failure. An additional operation relieved his back pain but left him with a constant severe pain in the legs.

At April 1989 general conference, President Hunter displayed typical composure and resilience while speaking on barely mobile legs with the help of a walker. Losing his balance, he fell backwards into a flower arrangement but was immediately helped up and continued his talk. Tests later showed he had broken three ribs in the fall.

In 1989 with the death of Marion G. Romney, Elder Hunter was named President of the Quorum of the Twelve. Then a year later he announced at the weekly meeting of the Twelve, "I’m going to be married this afternoon. Inis Stanton is an old acquaintance from California. I’ve been visiting with her for some time, and I’ve decided to be married." But his health problems were not over. He suffered internal bleeding, and later gall bladder surgery. He initially failed to respond after surgery but awakened some days later fully coherant and fully recovered.

On May 30, 1994 with the death of President Ezra Taft Benson, Howard W. Hunter was sustained by the Twelve and set apart as President, Prophet, Seer, and Revelator of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. On the following Monday, President Hunter spoke to the press: "I have shed many tears and have sought my Father in Heaven in earnest prayer with a desire to be equal to the high and holy calling which is now mine." The two emphases of his administration were the need to become more Christlike and to become a temple-worthy, temple-attending people.

Only nine months later on March 3, 1995, President Howard W. Hunter's earthly ministry came to an end. He was suceeded by President Gordon B. Hinckley.

Inis Egan Hunter and Howard W. Hunter
Inis Egan Hunter and Howard W. Hunter

Sister Iris Egan Hunter, widow Of Howard W. Hunter Sunday, Oct. 14, 2007, in Laguna Hills, Calif., at the age of 93.

The death of Sister Hunter was attributed to old age.

Inis Bernice Egan was born Aug. 19, 1914, in Thatcher, Box Elder County, to Horace Walter Egan and Anna Bernhardina Jacobsson Tengberg.

President Hunter's first wife, Clara Jeffs, died in 1983. She and President Hunter had three sons, John Jacob Hunter, Richard Allen Hunter and Howard William Jr.

In April 1990, President Hunter — who was serving as president of the Quorum of the Twelve — told his fellow apostles following a meeting that he had an announcement to make.

"I thought I'd just let you know that I'm going to be married this afternoon," he told the group, explaining that, "Inis Stanton is an old acquaintance from California. I've been visiting with her for some time, and I've decided to be married." At 2 p.m. on April 12, 1990, the couple was married by President Gordon B. Hinckley — then a counselor in the First Presidency — in the Salt Lake Temple.

The newlywed couple had become reacquainted while Sister Hunter worked in the main lobby of the Church Office Building, beginning in 1968. They first met when then-Bishop Hunter was serving a congregation in Pasadena, Calif., in 1945.

A biography on President Hunter includes a reflection on President Hunter's wedding anniversary two years later, when he wrote in his journal that the last two years had been happy ones. Sister Hunter had traveled extensively around the world with him, and he commented on how she made their home a delight.

An article in the 1995 Ensign magazine featured a story by President Boyd K. Packer that further illustrated President Hunter's love for his wife: "Three days before President Hunter's passing, Elder Russell M. Nelson and I visited with the president. He was seated in the sunroom which overlooks the temple and the gardens. We knelt before him, each holding one of his hands. As we talked with him, he kept looking over his shoulder into the living room and then called to his wife, Inis.

"Ever present and ever attentive, she responded immediately and asked what he needed. He said, 'You are too far away; I want you close to me.' I said, 'President, she was only thirty feet away.' He said, 'I know, that's too far."'

Inis Hunter loved to sing and won blue ribbons in state fairs as a doll hobbyist. After marrying President Hunter, she traveled with him as he fulfilled church duties and both spoke to church members worldwide.

During the closing session of LDS General Conference in October 2001, President Hinckley made a special note of her presence during the two-day event. "We very much appreciate her presence," he said.

Bibliography
The Ensign, April 1995; "The Lord's Good and Faithful Servant"; p. 8
The Church News, March 11, 1995; Multiple stories on death of President Hunter
The Church News, June 11, 1994; Multiple stories on succession of President Hunter
Deseret News, October 15, 2007; "Sister Enis (sic) Egan Hunter, wife of the late President Howard W. Hunter, dies"


Selected Discourses and Writings

Grampa Bill believes this to be the most complete listing available on the web of Howard W. Hunter's talks and articles. Please email the Grampa if you note any busted links, errors, or if you are aware of any Howard W. Hunter talks or articles not listed here but available on the web.

You will note that most are available only as text; while others are available in both text and MP3.

Talks marked with an asterisk (*) are not (to my knowledge) available anywhere else on the web. As a service, they have been copied onto this web site.
I Accept Without Reservation *
Note: This is the first address delivered by Elder Hunter after he was sustained in Solemn Assemby as a member of the Council of the Twelve Apostles.
General Conference 11 October 1959  
Primer in Genealogy Ensign, February 1971  
Prepare Every Needful Thing Ensign, June 1971  
Elijah the Prophet Ensign, December 1971  
A Teacher Ensign, July 1972  
The Real Christmas BYU Devotional 5 December 1972  
Spiritual Famine Ensign, January 1973  
“This Is My Gospel” Ensign, July 1973  
Of the World or of the Kingdom? Ensign, January 1974  
His Final Hours General Conference, April 1974  
To Know God General Conference, October 1974  
Faith—The First Step General Conference, April 1975  
The Tabernacle General Conference, October 1975  
Prepare for Honorable Employment General Conference, October 1975  
That We May Be One General Conference, April 1976  
The Temptations of Christ General Conference, October 1976  
Thoughts on the Sacrament General Conference, April 1977  
“Hallowed Be Thy Name” General Conference, October 1977  
“Bind on Thy Sandals” General Conference, April 1978  
True Religion General Conference, October 1978  
"All Are Alike Unto God" BYU Fireside, 4 February 1979  
Developing Spirituality General Conference, April 1979  
“All Are Alike unto God” Ensign, June 1979  
Reading the Scriptures General Conference, October 1979  
God Will Have a Tried People General Conference, April 1980  
No Man Shall Add to or Take Away General Conference, April 1981  
Conference Time General Conference, October 1981  
True Greatness General Conference, April 1982  
Commitment to God General Conference, October 1982  
Evidences of the Resurrection General Conference, April 1983  
Parents’ Concern for Children General Conference, October 1983  
An Apostle’s Witness of Christ Ensign, January 1984  
The Pharisee and the Publican General Conference, April 1984  
“Master, the Tempest Is Raging” General Conference, October 1984  
Christ, Our Passover General Conference, April 1985  
Fast Day General Conference, October 1985  
An Apostle’s Witness of the Resurrection General Conference, April 1986  
“Make Us Thy True Undershepherds” Ensign, September 1986  
The Lord’s Touchstone General Conference, October 1986  
What Is True Greatness? BYU Devotional 10 February 1987 MP3
Am I a “Living” Member? General Conference, April 1987  
What Is True Greatness? Ensign, September 1987  
The Opening and Closing of Doors General Conference, October 1987  
He Is Risen General Conference, April 1988  
Blessed from on High General Conference, October 1988  
"Fear Not, Little Flock" BYU Devotional, 14 March 1989 MP3
The God That Doest Wonders General Conference, April 1989  
The Church Is for All People Ensign, June 1989  
The Golden Thread of Choice General Conference, October 1989  
Standing As Witnesses of God General Conference, April 1990  
Walls of the Mind Ensign, September 1990  
"No Less Serviceable" BYU Devotional, 2 September 1990 MP3
“Come unto Me” General Conference, October 1990  
The Sixth Day of April, 1830 General Conference, April 1991  
The Gospel—A Global Faith General Conference, October 1991  
The Dauntless Spirit of Resolution BYU Devotional, 5 January 1992 MP3
“No Less Serviceable” Ensign, April 1992  
A More Excellent Way General Conference, April 1992  
To the Women of the Church General Conference, October 1992  
The Beacon in the Harbor of Peace General Conference, October 1992  
An Anchor to the Souls of Men BYU Devotional, 7 February 1993 MP3
“Jesus, the Very Thought of Thee” General Conference, April 1993  
An Anchor to the Souls of Men Ensign, October 1993  
“What Manner of Men Ought Ye to Be?” General Conference, April 1994  
“A Strong and Mighty Man” Ensign, July 1994  
He Invites Us to Follow Him Ensign, September 1994  
The Temple of Nauvoo Ensign, September 1994  
“The Pillars of Our Faith” Ensign, September 1994  
Come to the God of All Truth Ensign, September 1994  
The Great Symbol of Our Membership Ensign, October 1994  
"Exceeding Great and Precious Promises"
Note: This is the first address given by President Howard W. Hunter in General Conference following the Solemn Assembly in which he was sustained as President of the Church.
General Conference, 1 October 1994  
Being a Righteous Husband and Father General PH Session, October 1994  
Stand Firm in the Faith General Conference, October 1994  
"Follow the Son of God"
Note: This is the last address given by President Howard W. Hunter in General Conference prior to his death. Given the shortness of his administration, it was the concluding talk in the Conference in which he was sustained as President of the Church.
General Conference 2 October 1994  
The Gifts of Christmas
This address was given at the First Presidency Christmas Devotional, broadcast by satellite to the worldwide membership of the Church on 4 December 1994. It was President Hunter’s last public address to the Church.
Christmas Devotional, 4 December 1994  
A Temple-Motivated People Ensign, February 1995  
We Have a Work to Do Ensign, March 1995  


Hosted by The Dimension's Edge