SALT LAKE CITY — Thousands gathered to the Salt Lake Tabernacle Thursday to pay their respects to Frances J. Monson, wife of Thomas S. Monson, president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Sister Monson passed away May 17 due to “causes incident to age,” according to the online Mormon Newsroom. She and President Monson were married more than 64 years.
President Henry B. Eyring, First Counselor of the Church, conducted the service. Several LDS Apostles also attended, as well as dozens of Church leaders from the Quorum of the Seventy. President Monson sat on the front row of the tabernacle with his family, just feet away from his beloved wife’s flower-adorned casket.
The Monsons’ children, grandchildren and their families attended in the front section of the tabernacle. Governor Gary Herbert was also in attendance.
Ann Dibb, daughter of President and Sister Monson, spoke for the Monson family, saying her mother “showed love during her lifetime” for four vitally important things: her parents, her family, the gospel of Jesus Christ and her husband.
Second Counselor President Dieter F. Uchtdorf praised Sister Monson’s example, telling the crowd of well-wishers in the Tabernacle that she exemplified the teachings of Jesus Christ.
“(Sister Monson’s) compassionate, kind and gentle life is full of sermons by which we, the membership of this Church, are richly blessed and which will never be forgotten,” Uchtdorf said. “The Lord promises that ‘those that die in me shall not taste of death.’ … She will receive an inheritance in Zion.”
Uchtdorf also addressed Sister Monson’s special relationship with President Monson as the two saw the world together during his travels as an Apostle and later as Church president.
“She has always been a comfort to her husband,” Uchtdorf said.
President Eyring comforted those grieving Sister Monson’s passing by inviting them to “turn to the Savior.”
“(Jesus Christ) feels your personal grief,” Eyring said. “The Lord will lift us up by the power of the Atonement.”
President Eyring also praised Sister Monson’s constancy.
“She was an example of strength and purpose, a witness of God’s love, a teacher of truth, a disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ,” President Eyring said.
Three of the Monsons’ granddaughters also performed an arrangement of the popular primary hymn “My Heavenly Father Loves Me.”
Shortly after the funeral service, close friends and family gathered for the burial and grave dedication performed by Thomas L. Monson, son of President and Sister Monson, at the Salt Lake City Cemetery.
The ceremony was simple, highlighted by a poem sent by a friend of the Monson family, Laurie Moore Larsen. Larsen sent the poem to the family shortly after Sister Monson passed away.
A relative at the funeral quietly remarked, “The Monsons love the written word, especially poems.”
The words of the poem seemed to comfort the Monson family as they sat at the cemetery listening to its last lines: “The Lord saw fit to transfer me … I must go now and serve the Lord; my new assignment has begun.”