The following biographical sketch is adapted from
the "News of the Church: Elder F. Arthur Kay Of the First Quorum of the
Seventy" published in the Ensign for November 1984 on the occasion
of Elder Kay's call to the First Quorum of the Seventy.
At critical times in my life, a door has always opened,”
said Elder F. Arthur Kay, a soft-spoken man whose kindly face reflects
his compassionate heart and abiding faith.
One of these critical times came early, when eighteen-year-old
Arthur (born 15 July 1916) faced the decision of going to college or staying
home to support a family in great need. When Arthur was just eleven, both
his father (Samuel Arthur Kay) and oldest sister had died, and his mother
(Medora Hooper Kay) had suffered a paralyzing stroke. The family farm near
Annabella, Utah, was lost as a result of the Great Depression, and Arthur
felt a keen responsibility for his mother and four younger sisters. Already,
he had taken two years out of high school to earn money for his family
by working for the Civilian Conservation Corps.
How could he possibly leave his family to seek an
education? Arthur’s mother was an educated woman who encouraged him in
that direction. So, with sixty dollars in his pocket, he left for Utah
State University. And, indeed, Arthur was able to graduate. During his
junior year, Arthur married his high school sweetheart, Eunice D. Nielsen.
The first of their six daughters was born two days after Arthur’s graduation.
After teaching school for a year in Elsinore, Utah
(“I taught almost everything—except music and dance, for obvious reasons”),
Brother Kay took his young family to Salt Lake City, where he worked as
a shift supervisor for the Dupont Company. A transfer took the Kays to
Hanford, Washington, in 1944.
Then, as the war began to phase out, Arthur began
to look for business opportunities with another company. “We had prayed
for a long time,” recalls Elder Kay, “and it was through the power of prayer
that I came to the conclusion that I should go to dental school at the
University of Oregon.”
After graduating from dental school with honors,
another door was opened. Arthur had no money to open his own practice,
but a dentist from Renton, Washington, offered to let him take over his
practice with no money down. Brother and Sister Kay
drove to Renton, determined to stay if the Church was there. After
some inquiry, they were directed to the site of a chapel under construction,
where members were pouring concrete in the halls and classrooms. Feeling
at home, the Kays decided to cast their lot with these good people.
After the move, Arthur Kay became an important part
of the work of the Lord in the Northwest. He served as a bishop’s counselor,
and later as bishop. Then, after a two-year stint in the army in Heidelberg,
Germany, he returned to Renton to become a stake high councilor and later
a counselor to the stake president. In 1960 he became president of the
Seattle Stake, where he served for ten years, until he became a Regional
Elder Kay also saw many doors opened in the
building of the Seattle Temple. For years, he had watched for promising
temple sites in the area, and he was able to be instrumental in acquiring
the site in Bellevue where the temple now stands. “The Lord’s hand is in
temple work,” testified Elder Kay. As first president and matron of the
Seattle Temple, Brother and Sister Kay enjoyed many marvelous experiences.
The Kays had been released from the temple presidency
just three weeks when the call to the First Quorum of the Seventy came.
Elder Kay described the days following his calling as
a time of introspection, a time of wondering what capabilities he might
have. Still, the decision to accept was no decision at all. “Whenever I
extend my all, help comes from on high. Knowing this has
happened in the past and would happen in the future, I dared accept.”
With faith that the Lord will always open a door,
Elder F. Arthur Kay was ready to accept whatever challenges lie ahead.
Elder F. Arthur Kay served in the First Quorum of the
Seventy until April 1, 1989 when he was transferred to the newly created
Second Quorum of the Seventy. He served the remaining six months of his
five-year call in the Second Quorum and was honorably released six months later on
October 1, 1989.
Elder F. Arthur Kay, 89, a former member of the Second Quorum of the Seventy, died Dec. 13, 2005, in Kirkland, Wash.
Elder Kay was sustained to the First Quorum of the Seventy Oct. 6, 1984, at age 68. He was sustained on April 1, 1989, to the Second Quorum of the Seventy and was released on Sept. 30, 1989. He was among nine General Authorities called during the April and October 1984 general conferences to serve for up to five years. (Please see the Oct. 14, 1984, Church News.)
The son of Samuel Arthur and Medora Hooper Kay, he was born in Annabella, Utah, on July 15, 1916. During the Depression, he interrupted his high school education to work in the Civilian Conservation Corps to help support his widowed mother and four sisters. Explaining how he coped with challenges, he once said, "It was a matter of knowing there wasn't any other way, that you simply had to buckle down and do it." (Please see Nov. 4, 1984, Church News.)
In 1939, he married his high school sweetheart, Eunice Nielsen, in the Salt Lake Temple. They are parents of six children and have 22 grandchildren and 34 great-grandchildren. Elder Kay practiced dentistry in Renton, Wash., for 30 years until his retirement in 1979, when he accepted the position to become the first president of the Seattle Washington Temple, where he served until his calling as a General Authority in 1984. His Church responsibilities took him to Mexico and Australia. He served in the presidency and later as the president of the South Pacific Area.
Elder Kay was also a former bishop, stake president and regional representative. After his release from the Seventy, he served as a sealer in the Seattle Washington and St. George Utah temples, as a gospel doctrine teacher, assistant to the high priests group leader and priesthood instructor.
Eunice D. Nielsen Kay, 88, widow of Elder F. Arthur Kay of
the Seventy, died in Reno, Nev., on Sept. 9, 2007. Funeral services were
held in Bellevue, Washington, Sept. 22 prior to interment there.
She was a former matron of the Seattle Washington Temple,
and accompanied her husband as he served in the presidency and later as the
president of the South Pacific Area. She and her husband were parents of
six children and had 22 grandchildren.