Church News - The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Elder Marion D. Hanks dies at age 89

Published: Friday, Aug. 5, 2011

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Upon the death on Aug. 5 of Elder Marion D. Hanks, an emeritus General Authority, the First Presidency issued the following statement.

Elder Marion D. Hanks

"The Church lost a valued and respected leader, educator and friend with the passing of Elder Marion D. Hanks. He was an admired leader who served in numerous Church callings, including the Presidency of the First Quorum of the Seventy and as an Assistant to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. We extend our sincere condolences to his wife, Maxine, and their family."

Elder Hanks was sustained in October 1953 to the First Council of the Seventy. Then 31, he was one of the youngest of the Brethren called as a General Authority.

He was sustained as an Assistant to the Quorum of the Twelve on April 6, 1968 and as a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy on Oct. 1, 1976. He served in the Presidency of the First Quorum of the Seventy from Oct. 1, 1976-April 5, 1980; and from Oct. 1984-Aug. 15, 1992. He was named an emeritus General Authority on Oct. 3, 1992.

Elder Hanks served in many positions within the Church. During his service, he spent time as an executive director of the Priesthood Department and as chairman of the Church Military Relations Committee. He also served as managing director of the Temple Square Mission and president of the Salt Lake Temple, as well as president of the British Mission and as Church Administrator in Southeast Asia/Philippines where he lived in Hong Kong. Under his direction a significant pioneering effort in refugee services by the Church was initiated in several countries in Asia.

Elder Hanks had been the oldest living member of the First Quorum of Seventy and the second-oldest General Authority. Former Church patriarch Eldred G. Smith, also an emeritus General Authority, is 104.

Elder Hanks was involved in many community and national organizations. He served for several years as a presidential appointee on the United States President's Citizens Advisory Committee on Children and Youth, and on the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports. In 1978, he was presented the Distinguished Service Award of the President's Council "in recognition of outstanding contributions to the National Program of Physical Fitness and Sports." He was a speaker and consultant at youth conferences throughout the United States and in foreign countries and participated in a number of White House Conferences on Children and Youth.

In Scouting, Elder Hanks served as a member of the National Executive Board and as chairman or member of several committees of the Boy Scouts of America. He was awarded the Silver Beaver, the Silver Antelope, the Silver Buffalo, the Order of the Arrow, and in 1973 was presented the first honorary award of the National Eagle Scout Association "in recognition of his distinguished service to Scouting."

Past president of Salt Lake City Rotary Club, he was District Governor of Rotary for 1977-78 and was an instructor at worldwide Rotary leaders' assemblies and a participant at several international conferences.

Among his civic services, Elder Hanks was the first chairman of the Utah Committee on Children and Youth, board member of Weber State College and Southern Utah State College, and a member of the Snow College Institutional Council. He served on the Board of Trustees of Brigham Young University and on numerous civic boards and committees. He was awarded the Minuteman Award from the Utah National Guard, the Exemplary Manhood Award from Brigham Young University and a number of other awards from students and young people.

Born Oct. 13, 1921, in Salt Lake City to Stanely Alonzo and Maude Frame Hanks, he attended West High School and graduated in 1948 from the University of Utah with a law degree. He was for many years a teacher and was awarded honorary degrees or awards from several institutions of higher learning. He was an author and editor. Elder Hanks married Maxine Christensen in the Laie Hawaii Temple, and together they are the parents four daughters and one son.

During World War II Elder Hanks served aboard a submarine chaser in the Pacific. While serving in the U.S. Navy, he was group leader of 600 Latter-day Saints in San Diego. The only Latter-day Saint aboard the ship on which he was placed for a long sojourn in the South Pacific, he conducted religious services and served as acting chaplain. The services usually had a large attendance.

Before he was called as a General Authority, he was principal of the West High Seminary in Salt Lake City, taught institute classes for students enrolled at the University of Utah and was an instructor in the Mission Home that was then located in Salt Lake City. Under Elder Hanks' direction for three years before he was called as a General Authority, a series of lectures on Temple Square — five evenings a week — attracted audiences of 300-800 people, many of them tourists.

In the early 1960s, Elder Hanks served as president of the British Mission. Among the missionaries he mentored were Elder Jeffrey R. Holland and Elder Quentin L. Cook, now members of the Quorum of the Twelve.

He is survived by his wife, their children and numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Funeral services for Elder Hanks will be held Saturday, August 13, at 11:00 a.m. at the Salt Lake Holladay South Stake Center, 4917 South Viewmont Street (approximately 2300 East), in Salt Lake City.

A public viewing will be held Friday, August 12, from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. at the stake center and Saturday morning prior to the services from 9:00 to 10:30 a.m.