News Release

Sister Kathleen Eyring Celebrated as ‘a True Woman of God’

Beloved wife of President Henry B. Eyring ‘was true and faithful to the Lord Jesus Christ every day of her life,‘ writes President Nelson

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By Rachel Sterzer Gibson, Church News

Friends, family and other loved ones gathered in Bountiful, Utah, on October 21 for the funeral services of Sister Kathleen Johnson Eyring, celebrating her love of and commitment to her family and her quiet ministering, consecrated discipleship, and enduring and powerful dedication to the Savior Jesus Christ.

Sister Eyring, the wife of President Henry B. Eyring, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, died on Sunday, October 15, following a long illness. She was 82. She is the mother of four sons — Henry, Stuart, Matthew and John — and two daughters — Elizabeth and Mary — and grandmother of 34 grandchildren and great-grandmother of 31 great-grandchildren.

In the midst of vibrant autumn foliage, the late-morning service was held in the ward meetinghouse that the Eyrings have called home for 45 years.

In a written tribute, President Russell M. Nelson described Sister Eyring as “a true woman of God.”

“We admire her remarkable life,” President Nelson wrote. “I speak for all members of the Church in expressing to you our deepest love and compassion at this sacred time.”

Recovering from a recent fall that injured the muscles in his lower back, President Nelson was unable to attend Saturday’s service. Instead, his remarks were read by President Dallin H. Oaks, First Counselor in the First Presidency, who also offered the concluding talk.

Also speaking were John Eyring and Mary Eyring, a son and daughter of President and Sister Eyring; and Elder Lance B. Wickman an emeritus General Authority Seventy and a long-time friend of the Johnson and Eyring families.

President and Sister Eyring’s grandchildren and great-grandchildren sang “I’m Trying To Be Like Jesus” and LoiAnne Eyring, Sister Eyring’s sister-in-law, performed a violin solo of “O, Divine Redeemer.” Prayers were offered by Matthew Eyring and Elizabeth Peters, another son and daughter of President and Sister Eyring. Oldest son Henry J. Eyring dedicated the grave. Linda Margetts provided the prelude and postlude music.

President Christopher G. Jackson of the Bountiful Utah Mueller Park Stake conducted the service, which was broadcast to friends and admirers around the world. Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf and Elder Dale G. Renlund of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, and numerous friends, neighbors and ward members also attended.

Presidency Henry B. Eyring, Second Counselor in the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, family members, and pallbearers accompany the casket following the funeral for Sister Kathleen Eyring on Saturday, October 21, 2023.2023 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.
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In his tribute, President Nelson noted that the commemoration of Sister Eyring’s matchless life could also be a celebration. “Kathleen is an elect daughter of God who did everything she came to earth to do,” wrote President Nelson. “That is a cause for celestial celebration. Kathleen made covenants with God, and she kept those covenants. She was true and faithful to the Lord Jesus Christ every day of her life.”

In reflecting on her passing, President Nelson said he was drawn to a verse found in Doctrine and Covenants section 14. “If you keep my commandments and endure to the end you shall have eternal life, which gift is the greatest of all the gifts of God” (vs. 7).

To which he added, “Kathleen’s future, indeed, will be glorious.”

The sealing of Hal Eyring to Kathleen Johnson in the Logan Utah Temple on July 27, 1962, “set in motion a family that will thrive throughout eternity,” President Nelson wrote. “In time, Hal and Kathleen will experience the fulness of joy that God has in store for His faithful children. Their lives will be filled with ‘never ending happiness’ ” (Mosiah 2:41).

President Nelson promised listeners that each of them, if worthy, would see again “the glorified, redeemed, exalted and perfected Kathleen Johnson Eyring — sister, saint, wife, mother and daughter of the living God.”

In the concluding talk of the services, President Oaks testified of the Resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. “The Resurrection of our Savior assures the resurrection of each of us who has lived upon this earth. What a glorious reality!” President Oaks declared.

Those who advance to the spirit world continue to be concerned with family members who remain in mortality, President Oaks continued. He shared a quote from President Joseph F. Smith, who taught: “I believe that [they] will not be deprived in the Spirit World from looking down upon the results of their own labors. … I believe they are as deeply interested in our welfare today, if not with greater capacity, with far more interest behind the veil, than were they in the flesh, I believe they know more; I believe their minds have expanded beyond their comprehension in mortal life. … We are not separate from them. … [They] can see us better than we can see them. … [They] see us, they are solicitous for our welfare, they love us now more than ever. … Their desire for our wellbeing must be greater than that which we feel for ourselves.”

Speaking to Sister Eyring’s family, President Oaks noted that millions have prayed for her in the time she was bedridden. “What a blessing that she has endured this long trial without complaint, sweet and serene throughout.”

Presidency Henry B. Eyring, Second Counselor in the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and family members watch the loading of the casket following the funeral for his wife, Sister Kathleen Eyring, on Saturday, October 21, 2023.2023 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.
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Millions have prayed for Sister Eyring, President Eyring and their family — that the will of Heavenly Father would be realized, President Oaks said. “Now we continue our prayers that each of you will have the strength to adjust to the new condition you have with a beloved wife, mother and grandmother on the other side of the veil of death.”

When President Oaks’ wife, June, died 25 years ago, he did not know how keenly he would miss caring for her, he said. “That period of adjustment is ahead for each of you, but most keenly for your father, our dear associate in the work of the Lord. You will continue to be in our prayers as you grieve over this separation and adjust to this new circumstance.”

President Oaks concluded with the Prophet Joseph Smith’s description of the inevitable meeting on the morning of the first resurrection and the joy that will be felt at being reunited with “our dear friend” Kathleen Johnson Eyring: “The expectation of seeing my friends in the morning of the resurrection cheers my soul and makes me bear up against the evils of life. It is like they are taking a long journey, and on their return we meet them with increased joy.”

Elder Wickman recalled how he and his wife, Sister Patricia Wickman, knew Kathleen Johnson back when they were all young college students attending the University of California at Berkeley.

Elder Wickman described young Kathy as someone who was grateful for the opportunities she had been given, but had no interest in pursuing either wealth or station. She was “whip-smart” but not an “intellectual snob.” Though serious by nature, she had “a delightful personality and was a friend to all. She was utterly without pretense. She loved the Lord and His Church, but she did not wear her faith on her sleeve. Neither did she hide nor apologize for it.”

These contradictions might have seemed enigmatic. However, “those who knew her best understood that the Holy Ghost was truly her companion and guide,” Elder Wickman said.

Standing side by side, son John Eyring and daughter Mary Eyring spoke on behalf of all the Eyring children of their mother’s “quiet, consecrated discipleship,” her informal acts of selfless kindness and service, and her legacy of faith and love.

John Eyring recalled how the first time his dad saw his mom, he thought, “If I could just be with her, I could become every good thing I’ve ever wanted to be.”

Said John Eyring, “Together our parents did become every good thing we could ever imagine. Like our father, we so want to be with our mother again, and we so much want to become all the good things she hoped and knew that we could be.”

Added Mary Eyring, “But we know she would have the Savior and not herself be the focus of our lives, our Exemplar and the end of all our goals.”

While in the past few years, Sister Eyring’s memories began to slip, her ability to remember the Savior seemed to increase, Mary Eyring recalled. “The Savior was more than a memory for her. Her devotion to Him was her past, present and future during challenging years. She endured with unfathomable strength and grace.”

In conclusion, John Eyring testified: “This is the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. It is a gospel of happiness and living it is the only sure path to peace, safety, and happiness. Of the Savior our mother knew and taught us to trust, her children bear testimony.”

Interment was at the Memorial Lakeview Cemetery in Bountiful, Utah.

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