This sketch adapted from; "News of the Church: Elder Milton R. Hunter Dies" The Ensign, August 1975, page 93 and other sources.
After a life of service to the Church, including 17
years as a seminary teacher and 30 years as a member of the First Council
of the Seventy, Elder Milton R. Hunter died June 25, 1975, [at Salt Lake
City] of congestive heart failure and other complications. He was 72.
Elder Hunter is survived by his widow, the former
Ferne Gardner, six children, and ten grandchildren. Members of his family
were with him when he died. He had been in poor health for the past few
Funeral services were held June 30 in the Assembly
Hall on Temple Square. Speakers were President Spencer
W. Kimball, Elder Bruce R. McConkie of the
Council of the Twelve, and Elder S. Dilworth Young
of the First Council of the Seventy.
Elder Hunter was born October 25, 1902, in Holden,
Utah, a son of John Edward and Margaret Teeples Hunter, and a grandson
of early Mormon pioneers who came to Utah from Scotland.
He graduated from Brigham Young University in 1929
and received his master’s degree there in 1931. That same year he married
Ferne Gardner in the Logan Temple. Elder Hunter’s first job in education
was principal of a junior high school in St.
Thomas, Nevada. He later served as principal of junior high schools
in Leamington and Lake View, Utah. In 1935 he was awarded a Ph.D. by the
University of California. At that time he was teaching seminary for the
Church in Provo, Utah, and his professors at the University of California
encouraged him to take a position at a major university in his field of
history. He declined, moving to Logan, Utah, to teach at the Institute
Elder Hunter said he had decided while taking seminary
in high school that “if I ever had the opportunity I should like to be
a seminary teacher and devote my time and my entire life to teaching the
gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.” When the opportunity
came, he “gladly accepted, and in happiness undertook the work.”
While teaching in Logan, Elder Hunter was called
to serve on the First Council of the Seventy; he was sustained April 6,
1945, and set apart May 23, 1945 by Pres. George F. Richards. His work as a General Authority took him to missions in many parts
of the world. He also visited Mexico, Central America, and South America
in studies of archaeological ruins and their relation to the Book of
Elder Hunter wrote 23 books, principally on religious
and historical subjects, and many articles, reviews, and papers. His book,
Utah in Her Western Setting, was used for many years as a text in Utah
schools and is now published in a revised edition, entitled The Utah Story.
He has served as national president of Delta Phi Kappa, the returned missionary
fraternity and was a cofounder of the New World Archaeological Foundation.
Despite his achievements in education, history, and
other pursuits, Elder Hunter always considered his mission in the Church
of prime importance. “I have always loved the gospel of Jesus Christ more
than anything else in life,” he said. “I have continuously labored in the
Church from my boyhood up, willingly and happily. The gospel and the opportunities
to serve in the Church have been the greatest blessing and joy in my life.”