This biographical sketch adapted from "News of the Church: Elder Hugh
W. Pinnock of the First Quorum of the Seventy" in the Ensign, November
1977, page 98 on the occasion of his call to the First Quorum of the Seventy
and from other sources.
“Home teaching is fun, not drudgery,” said the man who
once made seventeen home teaching visits in one month. “It can be such
a friendly interchange between people—not just sitting down and talking
about the gospel, though that has to happen
once a month. But when a fence needs repairing, the home teachers should
be there helping—and that's rewarding for both parties. Any worthy exchange
And Elder Hugh W. Pinnock, sustained in October, 1977 general
conference as a new member of the First Quorum of the Seventy, should know
about home teaching. Not only has he been a home teacher for years—“and
loved every family”—but also he has served as chairman of the general priesthood
subcommittee on home teaching and family home evening.
“If the family you're home teaching knows you care,
then good things happen,” Elder Pinnock says—from experience. In fact,
caring about people seems to be a keynote in his life. As an insurance
executive, he built his agency from one of the smallest in Utah sixteen
years ago (“Eighteen people turned down the agency before I took it,” he
remembers, laughing) to one of the largest in the intermountain area—all
by caring about people.
“I must admit, I love business. I enjoy being in
the life insurance profession.” He looks at business as serving other people.
“You can't separate the gospel or the Church from the rest of your life.
If you love serving people in the ward, you'll love serving people in your
work, whatever it is.” And success in any field comes from following gospel
principles. “When I speak before audiences—Latter-day Saints or not—I stress
one thing: All the laws of success come from the scriptures. There are
no principles of success outside the scriptures.”
It all depends, of course, on how you define success.
Elder Pinnock has a simple definition—but it works. “Decide what you want
to do and then excel at it.” Not competition, but love and service are
the keys to the kind of success that brings happiness.
Important as his work in Church and business has
been, however, family has come first. As president of a foundation, he
was required to preside over a banquet—on the same night that three of
his sons were performing in a stake track meet. He thought it over and
decided that somebody could easily substitute for him at the banquet, important
as it was, but nobody could possibly substitute for him as a father. He
went to the track meet.
He has given a great deal of attention to his family,
and so has his wife, Anne Hawkins Pinnock. “We've found that we're never
so busy we have to ignore our children,” Sister Pinnock says. “We just
include them.” That means that when, as ward Relief Society president,
Sister Pinnock bakes something special for another family, she bakes the
same thing for her own!
It means that when Elder Pinnock, as a former Regional
Representative, went on trips, he often took one of his children along.
“They sit on the back bench a lot, but the travel itself is fun. And there's
a lot of private time together.”
It means that six children all feel like important
individuals. In fact, it seems that Elder Pinnock’s private life has been
a laboratory for his work on the home teaching and family home evening
subcommittee. “We want the Saints to know that family home evening is for
everyone, not just for families with little children. Everyone: older people,
young couples without children, single people, families with teenagers,
and so on.” And he lives the principles of family closeness. For years
they have taken the time to escape—just father, mother, and their children—whenever
they can. To an old farm home in Idaho. Or hunting or fishing together.
Or someplace they can be alone.
Born in 1934 in Salt Lake City, Elder Pinnock grew
up with the Church as a central part of his life—his mother, Sister Florence
B. Pinnock, was on the general board of the YWMIA for more than thirty
years, and his father has been an example of honest, peaceful living.
While a missionary in Denver, Colorado, in the mid-fifties,
Elder Pinnock met the Hawkins family—and upon returning home, he began
dating and eventually married their daughter Anne.
In the Church, he has served as a bishop, a mission
president, a Regional Representative, and a member of several Church committees.
That Church service has been paralleled by business and community service:
besides working for the growth of
his own company, he has also served as a member of the board of education
of Granite School District; state chairman of the University of Utah Alumni
Association; executive vice-president of Ballet West; and president of
the Deseret Foundation Board of the LDS Hospital in Salt Lake City.
Wherever he has been, Elder Pinnock has cared about
people—and as he himself has said, “When they know you care, good things
After serving in the First Quorum of the Seventy for
nine years, Elder Pinnock was called to the Presidency of the Seventy on
October 4, 1986. He served as one of the seven presidents for three years
before being released October 1, 1989.
Elder Pinnock passed away December 16, 2000 in Salt
Lake City, Utah from cystic fibrosis. At the time of his death, he was
serving as Second Councilor in the North America Soutwest Area Presidency.
President Gordon B. Hinkley and President James E. Faust were travelling
in Brazil at the time of Elder Pinnock's death and were notified by President
Thomas S. Monson. The First Presidency expressed grief at Elder Pinnock's death and conveyed its condolences to his surviving family.