By Keri Adams
SALT LAKE CITY – Hundreds attended the funeral services of Marjorie Pay Hinckley to pay tribute to her and to show support for her husband, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saint President Gordon B. Hinckley, on Saturday morning in the Salt Lake Tabernacle on Temple Square.
Those in attendance of the service, besides President Hinckley and more than 60 family members, included the First Presidency of the LDS Church, many of the members of the Quorum of the Twelve and other general authorities, Sheri Dew, CEO of Deseret Book, and many more whose lives Sister Hinckley had touched.
Richard Hinckley, the Hinckley”s oldest son, conducted the service, which included a tribute by Sheri Dew and talks by President James E. Faust and President Thomas S. Monson, counselors in the LDS church First Presidency. The Mormon Tabernacle choir provided the music for the service, which was open to the public and also broadcast to thousands worldwide by television and satellite systems.
“If my mother were here right now,” Richard Hinckley said in his opening remarks, “she would say ”What is all this fuss about?””
Each of Sister Hinckley”s five children, Richard Hinckley, Kathleen Barnes Walker, Clark Hinckley, Virginia Pearce and Jane Dudley, shared stories and glimpses, among tears, about their mother”s life and the lessons they”ve learned from her.
“Thank you mother for helping us laugh at ourselves … Thank you mother for loving our children … Thank you for your love of missionaries and of missionary work … Thank you mother for your delightful independence … and for teaching us how to live joyfully,” the Hinckley children said.
Richard Hinckley then read an excerpt from a letter President Hinckley wrote to his wife ten years ago.
“What a treasured companion you have been,” President Hinckley said in the letter, “and when in some future day, the hand of death gently touches one or the other of us, there will be tears, yes, but there will also be a quiet and certain assurance of our redeeming and eternal companionship … I love you dear.”
Sheri Dew spoke about what an inspiration Sister Hinckley was to everyone she met because of her unique brand of optimism and unbelievable sense of humor.
“Sister Hinckley was bright and quick and real,” Dew said. “For everywhere she went, Marjorie Hinckley left everyone she met better than she found them. … Women, in particular, from small branches in Korea to the Marriott Center at BYU, soaked up everything she had to say.”
President Faust, in his talk, said Sister Hinckley was such an example because of her charming personality, her exceptional intellectual personality, her sensitivity to the Lord and so much more.
President Monson continued by calling Sister Hinckley an elect lady for all seasons because she loved all people, she faced challenges, she went about doing good and because she loved and lived the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Dew also urged members of the LDS church and others to help lighten the load of President Hinckley to help him through his time of sadness and she thanked President Hinckley for sharing the news of his wife”s failing health at last week”s LDS general conference.
“Thank you for trusting us with something so tender and for allowing us to add our prayers to yours,” Dew said to President Hinckley. “And while 12 million members altogether cannot take the place of one spunky, committed, deeply faithful, incredibly optimistic woman who was devoted to the Lord — in every time zone and on every continent, we will be praying that you will have the strength to carry on.”
President Faust said President Hinckley has also been a significant example to many because of the way he has treated his wife and children and showed what a husband and father should be.
“We need you so very much,” President Faust said to President Hinckley. “We need your example and guidance. …We love you, sustain you, and pray for you.”
As the Mormon Tabernacle choir sang “God Be With You Till We Meet Again,” Sister Hinckley”s grandsons carried out her casket, with President Hinckley and his family walking slowly behind. They then continued on to the Salt Lake Cemetery to say goodbye one last time.
“I will be grateful the rest of my life for the privilege of knowing and loving and learning from this magnificent woman,” Dew said.
The viewing for Sister Hinckley, which was also open to the public, was held on Friday evening in the Relief Society Building on Temple Square. Many were in attendance of this also, some having to wait hours to get in to pay their respect and condolences. At one point, the line was backed up to the Church Office Building plaza.