Elder Claudio Daniel Zivic was born on December 19, 1948, to Latter-day Saint parents, Sergio Jorge Zivic and Eleonora Zalewski Zivic, in Buenos Aires, Argentina. His future wife, Dina Noemi Alvarez, was also born in the same neighborhood. They remember each other in their earliest memories.
"Always together" describes Claudio D. and Dina Noemi Zivic, who, from the time they were the babies in their mothers' arms, grew up together in the same tiny branch in Argentina.
"When people ask us when we met, we tell them we met in the pre-existence," said Sister Zivic.
The Zivics have deep roots in Argentina. Elder Zivic's maternal grandparents, he a former German soldier and she a Polish Jew, immigrated to Argentina after World War I. Elder Zivic's mother, who was born in Argentina, joined the Church when she was 14, along with her mother.
Sister Zivic's mother's family, of Italian ancestry, joined the Church when her mother was 17. Her father's family, of Spanish ancestry, joined the Church when he was very young, and her father, Jose Alvarez, became one of the first four native Argentine missionaries, and in his later years served as a stake patriarch.
Having a similar upbringing gives the Zivics common memories. One of the earliest of these was when they were 5 or 6 years old. Sister Zivic remembers a pretty dress she wore for the visit of President David O. McKay.
"It was a very special occasion," said Elder Zivic.
Each was baptized in the old Liniers meetinghouse, one of the first built by the Church in South America, and for years the only one with a baptismal font.
"Everyone in the Church was baptized there," said Sister Zivic, explaining that for baptismal services, they opened the stage to access the font.
The future couple were separated for a time shortly after her baptism. At age 9 she left the branch with her family to live in the the United States for three years. When she was 12, her father was called as a construction missionary to Chile. They spent three years in Chile building meetinghouses. She was fifteen when her family returned to Argentina, coincidently locating in the same ward where the Zivic family was living. "Only now," she said, "we weren't children anymore." They soon began dating.
"My wife and I met when we were children," he said. But Dina’s family moved to the United States for a period of several years and then lived in Chile for several more. When the Alvarez family returned to Argentina, Claudio and Dina began dating and were married in 1972. "Since then," Elder Zivic says, "she has been a source of inspiration and constant help in all the accomplishments and challenges of my life."
Meanwhile, Elder Zivic's family had remained in Buenas Aires, where he attended school and developed talents both in music and athletics. As a 15-year-old runner, he ranked second nationally in his age group in the 800 meters. His greatest desire was to compete in the Olympics, and his coach, a former Olympic decathlete, believed he could do it—if he would only give up his reluctance to compete on Sundays.
"I had to choose," said Elder Zivic. "In the end I felt competing wasn’t what the Lord wanted for me." "My earthly existence centers around the gospel of Christ," said Elder Zivic. "He is not just a part of my life, but He is my whole life. Thanks to the gospel, the perspective that my wife and I have of eternal life has been expanded to levels unthought of in our youth."
He told of another experience he had as a teenager: "On receiving my patriarchal blessing one day before turning 19 years old, I shed tears of emotion and gratitude throughout the prayer because I felt my Heavenly Father was the one talking through His servant, the patriarch. That experience marked my life with fire because I clearly knew the blessings that would come upon me and my future family if I strived to progress in every aspect of my life, especially working in the Lord’s service." Elder Zivic said that following the Lord’s guidance has helped him in his professional life as an accountant and in his personal life as a husband and father.
Elder Zivic faced another difficult decision when it came time to choose a vocation. For four straight years of secondary school, he had to take an additional end-of-year test in accounting because he did so poorly in the subject during the year.
"I really didn’t like accounting," he said. But when he prayerfully considered his career path, he felt strongly that he should go into accounting. Trusting in the Lord, he received his accounting degree from the University of Buenos Aires and enjoyed a career as a certified public accountant.
Elder Zivic could see the Lord’s guidance throughout his life. "If we’re living right, He will bless us," Elder Zivic said. "Things will fall into place most naturally."
Claudio and Dina were married 13 January 1972, at a time when there was not a Temple in all of South America. Then after his military service, when they had three children and he was serving as a young bishop, the Sao Paulo Brazil Temple was dedicated. That same year, they traveled to Brazil and were there sealed on January 9, 1979.
"The coming of the temple was a dream come true for the Argentines," said Elder Zivic.
"We saw the difference of having leaders that went to the temple," said Sister Zivic. "You can see it and feel it. The children strive to live the gospel better, and have a goal to be married in the temple. That is very, very important — the family can be sealed for all eternity. It changed their vision."
Elder Zivic's musical talents, developed as a teenager, became a family passion. "Music is an important part of our home," said Elder Zivic. His wife, Dina Noemí Alvarez, and all five of their children play the piano, and the two oldest teach music. Elder Zivic is a frequent vocal soloist at weddings, funerals, sacrament meetings, and other functions. "Especially," he said, "I will never forget the day I was able to sing a traditional song of our country for President Spencer W. Kimball, who was at that time a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and visiting for a regional conference."
Prior to his call to the First Quorum of the Seventy, Elder Zivic served as elders quorum president, institute teacher, bishop, stake high councilor, counselor to a stake president, temple ordinance worker, regional representative, president of the Spain Bilbao Mission, and Second Counselor in the South America South Area Presidency.
"When I was released as a Regional Representative, I was among those called in to be interviewed about the new stake presidency," he recalled. "But Elder John B. Dixon, a month or two after he had interviewed me, said, 'I wanted to call you as president of the stake, but the Lord said no, that you are going to be called as an Area Authority.' It was so. I served in the area presidency and, after a year, we were called to Spain Bilbao Mission. So I have never been stake president, but a counselor twice."
The Zivics said their mission in Spain was a very spiritual experience. "In general, missionary work is very difficult in Spain, but our missionaries were blessed with baptisms. They could feel the Spirit very strongly because they were worthy. The great love of all the members helped us to grow," he said.
Their children "were surprised but not surprised" when Elder Zivic was sustained to the First Quorum of the Seventy 31 March 2007 in general conference, said Sister Zivic. "They know their father. He is like Nephi; he has always had integrity and is very hard working. In every calling, he has always said, 'I will go and do.' We have received many blessings in our family because of his attitude."
Elder Zivic takes the same "go and do" attitude to his call to the First Quorum of the Seventy.