Elder Monte J. Brough: 'A man for all seasons'
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Born in the rural town of Randolph, Utah, with a childhood and youth spent riding horses and playing in the school marching band, Elder Monte J. Brough would grow to found a highly successful computer services company and ultimately become a General Authority of the Church, what President Thomas S. Monson called "a man for all seasons."
President Monson made that characterization Sept. 26 in his address at the funeral of Elder Brough, who died Sept. 20. An emeritus General Authority since 2007 and a former member of the Presidency of the Seventy, Elder Brough was 72.
Speaking at the service in the Kaysville Utah West Stake Center, President Monson shared a letter he had written to Elder Brough's wife, Sister Lanette Brough, and their family, on behalf of the First Presidency.
"Elder Brough's life was a model of diligence and hard work," the letter read. "His example of devotion as husband, father, grandfather and stalwart servant of the Lord influenced the lives of loved ones and all with whom he came in contact. We are confident that your family members will take comfort in the quality of his life and the memories you share of his abiding love for his family, his humor, his lifelong efforts to accomplish his dreams, his testimony of the gospel."
The letter made reference to Elder Brough's service to the Church as a missionary, bishop, regional representative, member of the Young Men General Board, president of the Minnesota Minneapolis Mission "and the numerous assignments he willingly fulfilled as a member of the First and Second Quorums of the Seventy."
In remarks prior to reading the letter, President Monson said of Elder Brough, "You could put him with anyone, and that partner would become a better partner. You could put him anywhere in the world and that part of the world would be ready for harvest, because he knew how to build the kingdom of God in mortality. He's not only one in a million, he's one in your heart, and I thank God for him."
During his service as General Authority, Elder Brough was president of the Asia Area and North America Southeast Area of the Church.
A eulogy was given by Val Hanney, a half-brother to Elder Brough (Monte's father, Richard Muir Brough, died shortly after the births of Monte and his younger brother, Max, and their mother remarried). He recounted that while Elder Brough was executive director of the Family History Department, one of his assignments as a General Authority, he conceived of an Internet genealogy service. The Internet was new then, and Elder Brough had to explain it in terms the Brethren could understand. The idea Elder Brough had was developed into what today is FamilySearch.org, which has blessed millions of people.
Eldest grandchild Whitney Brough Smith read a letter from her younger brother, Mallin, currently serving a mission in Uganada, written to Elder Brough two months before his death. The letter alluded to the affliction that beset Elder Brough in his latter years. "I remember the many times you expressed to me that you wish I could have seen the man you once were," it read. "I want you to know, Grandpa, that I have seen, maybe not in the way you would want. The man you are and were is apparent all around this world. I have now had two General Authorities shake my hand while on this mission, look into my eyes and say, 'It is a pleasure to meet the grandson of Elder Brough.' "
Each of the seven Brough children, now grown with families of their own, gave a brief tribute to their father.
Youngest daughter Kami Kilgore said she was recently feeling discouraged about her pregnancy. Her father told her, "Oh, Kami, I wish there were an easier way to get them here," then said tearfully, "This is the greatest thing you could do. The work your mother has done is far greater than anything I've ever accomplished."
Eldest son Joe, who presides over the Guatemala Guatemala City Mission, wrote this in a letter read at the funeral: "Dad, you always found time for each member of your family, especially the children. While doing this, you were still able to place the Lord first."
One of the speakers was Max Brough, Elder Brough's younger brother by 13 months, who currently presides over the Baton Rouge Louisiana Temple. As boys close in age, he said, they shared a bedroom growing up. Some people know their hometown of Randolph, he said, only because it is frequently on the weather reports as the coldest spot in Utah.
"But I learned early to say my prayers before I went to bed," he said, "because he would come home, wake me up, and ask, 'Did you say your prayers?' If I hadn't, he'd get me out of bed in the cold, and we'd kneel down and say our prayers together."
The two developed the nickname "Brow" or "Browser" for each other, derived from the way professors at the University of Utah would mispronounce their last name, which is correctly pronounced "Bruff." President Brough said that in recent weeks he would call his brother every three or four days. Elder Brough's affliction got to the state that he was unable to make his speech understood on the telephone. At one point, Monte told Max, "Don't hang up, Brow. Even if we don't talk to each other, the fact that I know you're on the other end of this line makes me feel better."