News Story

Family and Church Leaders Remember the Life of Elder Dean M. Davies

Elder Davies served for eight years in the Presiding Bishopric and one year in the Seventy

Elder Dean M. Davies was eulogized Saturday by his children and leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as a devoted disciple of Christ, a competent and skilled colleague, and a gentle and loving husband and father.

The former General Authority Seventy (since October 2020) and counselor in the Presiding Bishopric (2012–2020) of the Church died on Tuesday, August 31, after an extended struggle with cancer. Many Church leaders, including the First Presidency, attended and spoke at Saturday’s funeral at the North Salt Lake Utah Stake Center.

Elder Patrick Kearon of the Presidency of the Seventy read a letter from the First Presidency to Elder Davies’ wife, Darla.

“We express to you and your family our heartfelt sympathy at the passing of your beloved spouse and dear friend, and our dear friend, Elder Dean M. Davies,” the letter says. “At the same time, we rejoice with you in his life of devoted service. Elder Davies’ life was a model of diligence and hard work. He demonstrated love for the Lord throughout his life as he spent time in selfless service to his family and to his fellow man. He leaves a great legacy of hard work, personal integrity and dedication to righteous living. His devotion as a husband, father, grandfather and stalwart servant of the Lord influenced the lives of loved ones and of all with whom he came into contact.”

Before his nine years of full-time Church service, Elder Davies worked as managing director of the Church’s Special Projects Department. He oversaw special purpose real estate, temple design and temple construction. He also worked in the real estate investment, construction and management industries. He graduated from Brigham Young University with a bachelor’s degree in agricultural economics. He also completed advanced executive programs at Stanford and Northwestern Universities.

“We gratefully acknowledge your influence and loving support as you were by his side in many of his accomplishments,” the letter to Darla continues. “Elder Davies, now free from the pains and sufferings of mortality, has returned home to our Father in Heaven. There he is reunited with loved ones who preceded him in death and will await the happy time once again be with you and others left behind. Although there is no substitute for the love of a devoted companion, we pray that your knowledge of the gospel will bring you peace and that you will receive the comforting influence of the Holy Spirit at this tender time of parting.”

Saturday’s service also included comments from each member of the First Presidency, Presiding Bishop Gérald Caussé (who served alongside Elder Davies in various capacities for nearly 20 years), Elder Kearon and all five of Elder Davies’ children.

Excerpts of Tributes from Church Leaders

President Russell M. Nelson

“Someone once wisely said, ‘Most of the world’s work is done by people who don’t feel very well.’ Elder Dean M. Davies was surely one of those unsung heroes. Dean’s contributions to the Church and to the people throughout the world cannot be overestimated. He was totally tireless in his ministry. Even as he battled cancer, his love of the Lord and His devotion to duty propelled him to serve, even though he knew his malignancy carried a fatal prognosis. He brought his entire experience and education to the table of the Lord and offered them in humility. His wisdom, insight and influence have had an accelerating effect on the rolling forth of the kingdom of God.”

President Dallin H. Oaks, First Counselor in the First Presidency

“[Elder Davies] was a man of great faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. He was a man of immense worldly wisdom and inspired action that he brought to bear in his service to the Lord. He was also a man of unselfishness in his relationship with his fellow workers. We commend his model, his example, to his family, to his friends and to his associates.”

President Henry B. Eyring, Second Counselor in the First Presidency

“I can’t tell you the number of times [Elder Davies] came to my home with food and things. He was a servant of the Lord Jesus Christ. He was a minister for the Savior in everything I ever saw him do. I know that the Lord loved him, and he loved the Lord. And he is now, I’m sure, being greeted warmly by the Savior that he so valiantly served, [even] when it wasn’t easy—but always with a smile. … He always did the hard things, and he did them well.”

Presiding Bishop Gérald Caussé

“Dean was, for me and for my brethren of the Presiding Bishopric, the best colleague we could have ever hoped for. He was extremely competent, skilled, loyal, very diligent, devoted to the cause of the Lord. He was full of love, had a cheerful, delightful personality, and had unwavering faith in God. Above all, I was deeply touched by his closeness to the Lord. His way of worshipping and praying was unmatched — genuine, sacred and wonderfully beautiful.

“I first met Dean Davies in 2002. President Gordon B. Hinckley had assigned him to find a site to build a temple near Paris, France. One day, we had a productive meeting with the mayor of Saint-Cloud (a city just out of Paris). At the end of the visit, as we drove off to our next appointment, Dean suddenly asked me to pull over to the side of the road. I then saw him, seated in the car in the middle of traffic, bow his head and offer a most sincere and emotional prayer to express his gratitude to the Lord for His help in the meeting that had just ended.

“Elder Davies was this kind of a man. Never did he forget whom he was serving. Never.”

Elder Patrick Kearon of the Presidency of the Seventy

“When Dean last spoke at a gathering of his of his friends, brothers and colleagues, it was about two months ago. He was already in the midst of this of extraordinary battle. He said this: ‘Well, the Lord helps us in every situation. There is no situation where he can’t be with us. What an appropriate, warming, comforting expression from one who faced such torment, on day like today.”

Sister Sharon Eubank, President of Latter-day Saint Charities

[She shared these comments prior to the funeral]

“I worked closely with Bishop Davies for almost a decade in both [Church] Welfare and Relief Society. He had a wide-open heart for people who were poor or struggling. There were things in his own background that helped him understand them. He and his family spent many holidays serving food at one of the local meal kitchens. His voice often stuck with emotion as we discussed ways the Church could alleviate suffering, but he couldn’t stand to waste a single penny of the sacred money put into his charge. His overarching life goal was to make the vision of prophets a reality.

“I was always impressed by how he knew every person’s name and took the time to talk. If I met him rushing in an airport, he always stopped to say hello and express confidence in me for my assignment. He was a builder of people even more than a builder of temples.”

Excerpts of Tributes from Elder Davies’ Five Children

Rebecca Larson, Daughter

“Our Savior Jesus Christ has the authority and the ability to calm the storms in our lives. And the higher principle is for us to receive His peace even in the midst of the storms. My dad, Dean Myron Davies, is an example of one who had faith. I’m so grateful for the legacy he leaves.”

Jill Ottley, Daughter

“I will feel my dad’s tender heart each time I look at my boys and my daughter to remind me my dad was a tender-hearted boy once and a tender-hearted man. There are many great people and there are many great fathers in the world. I love you, Dad, because you were mine. You cared for me.”

Sarah Davies, Daughter

“As I gathered with [Elder Davies] and my mother and siblings near the end of his life last week to attend my father in his last days, and as we reached for each other, and together as we reached for him, I felt strongly that we had indeed achieved a sacred unity where what is disparate is gathered in and woven together without requiring uniformity. I hope that he felt that. Dad, I love you so. The day after you passed, I marveled at how I could feel these two things simultaneously: It wasn’t enough; it is enough. Your memory is forever a blessing to me.”

Jennifer Woodland, Daughter

“Dad and I both struggled with sleeplessness. Over the last two years, we did middle-of-the-night text conversations multiple times per week. The expressions of love and tenderness were invaluable and will be a precious gift to revisit when I long to feel him near. His ability to provide me with reassurance and constant support to evidence that he saw me and knew of my fears that are in anxiety — even in the midst of his own incalculable suffering — was an incredible gift.”

Aaron Davies, Son

“The beauty of his life well lived is that the treasures he shared with all of us do not corrode with time. A treasure he gave me was a map to find him where he has gone.”

Style Guide Note:When reporting about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, please use the complete name of the Church in the first reference. For more information on the use of the name of the Church, go to our online Style Guide.