In 1960, Ross Workman, a young high school graduate who, on graduation night became
engaged to be married, was about to leave after priesthood meeting when he heard a knock on his car
window. The young man was just beginning to increase his activity in the Church and attended meetings
through the influence of his attractive fiancee and her family.
He had twice refused his bishop's invitation to serve a full-time mission.
As he rolled down his window, stake President Jack R. Prince "put his head right
into the car, right next to my nose. He didn't say hello. He just said one thing: 'I've been inspired
to ask you one more time to go on a mission,' " recalled now Elder H. Ross Workman, sustained March
31, 2001 to the Second Quorum of the Seventy.
"Powerfully impressed beyond my present ability to describe, I said, 'I'll go.'
That was my first experience with things of the Spirit."
A few minutes later his fiancee, Kaye Meyers, climbed into his car wearing "one
of those pouffy skirts like they used to wear, with her hair done up in a pony tail — I used to think
she was the most beautiful girl in the world, and I haven't stopped thinking that." She slid into the
car next to him. Instead of driving away, however, he put his hands on the steering wheel and looked
straight ahead. Then he told her, without looking at her, that there wouldn't be a marriage that year
because he was going on a mission.
"She was starting to cry, and then she said those critical words: 'I will support
you, and I'll be here when you get back.' "
That event was the first of many callings that changed their lives. He filled a
successful mission in the Southern States Mission and they were later married in the Logan Utah Temple.
He eventually received a juris doctorate from the University of Utah and became a
leading patent attorney with national clients in technology, electronics and medical products around
the United States. He was a founding partner in the largest patent firm between Chicago and Los Angeles
and was a board member and officer of the American Intellectual Property Association. He was also a
delegate to the World Intellectual Property Organization and served as a member of the Committee of
Experts for Harmonization of International Patent Laws in Geneva, Switzerland. Elder Workman and his
wife have just returned from Hawaii where he presided over the Hawaii Honolulu Mission.
Elder Workman considered his service one of many great adventures that have
highlighted his life. His adventures began in childhood when and he and his younger brother rode the
train, unescorted but watched over by a well-instructed porter, to visit their grandmother, who lived
in the woods in Washington State.
In Washington the boys played in hollows and floated on homemade rafts on ponds.
They accompanied their remarkable grandmother on many exciting excursions. "That filled me with a great
spirit of adventure that has never really left," he said.
Sister Workman grew up with a testimony of the gospel. "There was always a lot of
faith in my home and I naturally held that faith," she said. "My learning about the gospel has been to
study things in more depth, not to question if something is right or wrong. I feel I have been extra
blessed for that."
After their marriage in December 1962, he completed his undergraduate studies in
chemistry and worked as a medical technologist. An opportunity to work in the patent department at the
university influenced him toward law and away from a planned career in biomedicine. While in law school
he was called as first counselor in a bishopric. About the same time, their first baby was born.
"We decided to follow the counsel of the prophet, that is, for the mother to stay
home and raise the children," he said.
He began working 40 hours and "we had a lot of tight financial months" but were
"able to pay for our education as we went along."
After graduating, he was employed by Strong, Poelman & Fox to found a patent
practice. After 12 years that patent practice had grown to eight attorneys, but with the consent of his
partners, he pursued his dream of establishing his own firm. He and others started Workman, Nydegger
& Jensen, which soon extended to a national scope with multi-national clients and had 30 full-time
attorneys and 110 employees.
"My specialty was patent infringement litigation," he said.
He was in his downtown Salt Lake City office — that overlooks the Church
Administration Building — admiring the flowers in the adjoining gardens when he received a telephone
call from "somebody named Elder Hales."
"It can't be 'the Elder [Robert D.] Hales,' he said, "but I better talk to him just
in case.' "
Soon he and his wife were seated in that Church Administration Building, being
called to preside over the mission in Hawaii.
"It was a really big shock when he accepted his first mission call," said Sister
Workman. "I was just as shocked when he was called to be mission president. In this Church, you get
shocked pretty regularly."
Elder Workman smiled at his wife's words. He knows that shocks in this Church soon
turn to life-altering blessings of service. "The Lord has directed my life and even under challenging
circumstances I know the joy that comes from conforming my will to His will."
Elder Workman was released from the Second Quorum on October 6, 2007 at the 177th
Semi-annual General Conference of the Church. At the same time, it was announced that he and his wife
had been called to serve as President and Matron of the Laie Hawaii Temple, where they served until 2012.