This biographical sketch adapted from the "News of the Church: Elder
Franklin D. Richards Eulogized" from the Ensign, Jan. 1988, page
74 after Elder Richards' death.
Elder Franklin D. Richards of the First Quorum of
the Seventy was eulogized by members of the First Presidency, the Council
of the Twelve, the presidency of his quorum, and his family at funeral
services in the Assembly Hall on Temple Square November 17.
He died at his home in Salt Lake City November 13 .
His funeral was held the same day he would have celebrated his eighty-seventh
President Gordon B. Hinckley,
First Counselor in the First Presidency, conducted the funeral services.
He spoke of having had “an impression, strong and vivid,” to call on Elder
Richards to say a few words during last October general conference. He
did so after consulting with President [Ezra Taft]
Benson, feeling impressed that this would be the last time Elder Richards
would have the opportunity to bear his testimony to the Church.
“God bless his memory,” President Hinckley said,
describing Elder Richards as a man “qualified as a lawyer, respected as
a government administrator, admired and emulated as a teacher of eternal
President Thomas S. Monson,
Second Counselor in the First Presidency, said, “Franklin D. Richards was
… a giant, placed among men by his creator,” and added, “He truly lived
his own philosophy and practiced gospel principles in his daily life.”
“He was a man of enthusiasm,” said Elder Marvin
J. Ashton of the Council of the Twelve, adding that Elder Richards
lived by two guiding principles: “What is right, and what is best.”
Elder Richard G. Scott
spoke about Elder Richards’ personal plan for success: “Plan, simplify,
Franklin D. Richards, Jr., a son, spoke of the love
and gentle wisdom of his father and of the wonderful example Elder Richards
was to his family.
Elder Richards served as a General Authority for
twenty-seven years, after being called as an Assistant to the Council of
the Twelve on 8 October 1960. He was named a member of the Presidency of
the First Quorum of the Seventy when it was
organized 1 October 1976, and he served in that capacity until 1 October
1983. He served as president of the Washington (D.C.) Temple from October
1983 to January 1986.
Among his many accomplishments was a six part missionary
teaching program he introduced that was so successful it was later used
throughout the Church.
Franklin Dewey Richards was born 17 November 1900
in Ogden, Utah, to Charles C. and Louisa Letitia Peery Richards. His paternal
grandfather, Franklin D. Richards, was a member
of the Council of the Twelve from 1849 to 1899.
Franklin Richards graduated from Weber Academy, then
served in the Eastern States Mission from 1920-1922. There, he served as
president of the Brooklyn, New York, and Boston, Massachusetts, districts.
In 1923 he received his LL.B. degree from the University
of Utah. That same year he married Helen Kearnes of Salt Lake City in the
Salt Lake Temple.
He practiced law in Utah until 1934, when he was
named first Utah director of the Federal Housing Administration. He was
appointed national commissioner of the FHA, with offices in Washington,
D.C., in 1947. After resigning that position in 1952, he engaged in the
mortgage banking business in Washington, D.C.; New York City; and Salt
When Elder Richards was sustained as a General Authority,
he was presiding over the Northwestern States Mission. Prior to that call,
he had served as stake mission president, stake Sunday School board member,
and chairman of a ward genealogical committee.
Elder Richards is survived by his wife; two sons—Franklin
D. Richards, Jr., and David Kearnes Richards; two daughters—Louise (Mrs.
Robert L. Judd, Jr.) and Nancy Helen (Mrs. Robert J. Clark); fourteen grandchildren;
and fifteen great-grandchildren.