News Story

Elisa Young Rogers Wirthlin Passes Away

SALT LAKE CITY — Elisa Young Rogers Wirthlin, wife of Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, passed away Wednesday night at the LDS Hospital. She died of causes incident to age. Funeral arrangements are pending and will be announced later.

Wirthlin is a direct descendant of Utah pioneers. Her father, Orson Madsen Rogers, was the grandson of Aurelia Spencer Rogers, the first president of the Primary, an association for children organized in Utah in 1878. Her mother, Bernice Young, was the granddaughter of Joseph Young, the brother of Brigham Young.

Elisa Rogers, the youngest of four children, was born 22 June 1919 in Salt Lake City. During the time she attended East High, Elisa often heard of a local high school football player, Joseph Wirthlin, but they did not become acquainted until he returned from a mission for his church and they were both students at the University of Utah. Joseph Wirthlin came to the Rogers’ home to visit Elisa’s sister and Elisa answered the door. Joseph called her a few days later for a date and she accepted. They were married in the Salt Lake Temple 26 May 1941 by David O. McKay, a member of the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Her husband, Joseph B. Wirthlin, was called to be an Apostle for the Church in 1986.

A graduate of the University of Utah with a degree in business education, Elisa worked as a secretary in the administration office of the university until she had her first child. Later she helped her husband with secretarial work in their home while he managed the family business.

The Wirthlins have lived in the same family home located south of the University of Utah for more than 50 years. Elisa and Joseph are the parents of seven daughters and one son. All of their children were students at Uintah Elementary, Roosevelt Junior High and East High — the same schools Elisa attended as a youth. While her children were going to school, she was active in the PTA and as an opera club member, she taught an opera appreciation class for children.

She did not travel often while the children were young and went on her first airplane flight when she was in her fifties. Since that time she has traveled to many countries with her husband on Church assignments. The Wirthlins lived in Germany for five years where she developed a great love for the country and the German people.

While attending the University of Utah, Elisa served as president of Lambda Delta Sigma, a religious sorority. Some years later the sorority honored Elisa as its Woman of the Year.

During her times of service in all the women’s auxiliaries in her church, she was deeply touched when opportunities came to her to assist families suffering with sickness or having other needs. With the philosophy that where you are is the best place to serve, she enjoyed every opportunity to give of herself.

In a special place in her home is an antique chair given to Elisa by her mother. Sitting in that chair, she read the scriptures for comfort and encouragement and other materials for personal enjoyment. Playing tennis, knitting and walking were additional interests Elisa pursued. She also delighted in the association she and her husband had with their eight children, 54 grandchildren and 60 great-grandchildren.

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