Members of the First Presidency, Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, Area Seventies, General Auxilliary leaders, family, friends and members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints gathered in the Tabernacle in Salt Lake City for Elder Robert D. Hales’ funeral services on Oct. 6 at 11 a.m.
Elder Hales served for 42 and half years as a General Authority, participating in almost every committee or council at church headquarters and as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles for over 23 years, according to President Russell M. Nelson, president of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.
“His personal ministry to individual saints in every corner of the earth is beyond measure,” President Nelson said. “He has fully magnified his apostolic calling as a special witness of the Savior.”
Elder M. Russell Ballard, President Nelson, and President Henry B. Eyring gave tribute to Elder Hales at the funeral services.
“He was tireless in his ministry,” President Nelson said.
Each speaker touched on Elder Hales’ health, its steady decline over the years and Elder Hales’ continued and faithful service.
“He carried on despite…unrelenting challenges to his health,” President Nelson said.
“As we sat together over these many years,” Elder Ballard said, “I’ve witnessed the great courage and complete dedication of Robert D. Hales. Many times I have reached over, touched his arm, and held his hand and in a small way felt the pain and difficulty he was experiencing.”
President Eyring spoke of Elder Hales’ devotion to his family, friends, the prophet and the Lord.
Elder Hales had “the gift to be a perfectly loyal friend,” President Eyring said.
The congregation chuckled as Elder Ballard and President Nelson reflected on Elder Hales’ “quick wit” and “wonderful sense of humor.”
President Eyring told of a time when Elder Hales’ health was such that he was rushed to the hospital. President Eyring waited in the hospital and the doctor came out with the news that things were not good.
“I could see through the doorway a medical personnel trying to save him,” President Eyring said.
Eventually, President Eyring was led in to see Elder Hales.
“He was lying on his back, he opened his eyes wide, reached out to take my hand, gripped it hard and said, ‘They made me come back.’ Later he told me that he retained no memory of that moment. I have no way to know if he was deceased for a brief time that afternoon or if it was a dream. But this I do know, he felt in a moment of intense testing that he was supposed to do something difficult, and he was loyal to the command he received,” President Eyring said.
President Nelson spoke of Elder Hales’ bravery and determination in serving the Lord.
“With the courage of a jet pilot, the tenacity of a champion athlete, the humility and devotion of a disciple of the Lord, Elder Hales has completed his life’s mission in the most exemplary way,” President Nelson said.
Each speaker expressed their condolences to Elder Hales’ wife Mary Hales and their gratitude for her selfless service to her husband.
President Eyring closed the funeral services with the hope that Elder and Sister Hales’ examples will lead others to be loyal friends and loyal disciples to the Savior, Jesus Christ.