Sister Patricia Terry Holland passes away at age 81

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After a life defined by service and love for the gospel, 81-year-old Sister Patricia Terry Holland, the wife of Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve, died Thursday, July 20, 2023, after a brief hospitalization.

Her death was announced in a news release published by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on July 20. Funeral arrangements are still pending.

Sister Holland served as a counselor in the Young Women General Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Patricia (Pat) Terry was born February 16, 1942, in Enterprise, Utah — a small pioneer-founded community in southern Utah where she grew up on a farm.

Terry moved to nearby St. George in her early high school years. While at Dixie High she met her future husband, Jeffrey R. Holland, whom she dated and eventually married on June 7, 1963. The couple just recently celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary.

Elder and Sister Holland have three children, Matthew, Mary Alice and David, and thirteen grandchildren.

Sister Holland attended LDS Business College and graduated from Dixie College, where she was trained by instructors from Julliard in New York City as a piano and voice student.

“She literally put me through school while she continued to go and had walked away from a musical career to come home and marry me,” Elder Holland said. “I can’t overstate the incredible gift that a companion can give to another.”

While serving as the president of Brigham Young University, Elder Holland fondly remembers how “she was a mother to that whole campus.”

Sister Holland will be remembered for her love of her family and dedication to the gospel.

Elder Mattew Holland, General Authority Seventy and son of the Hollands, said the family dinners were some of his fondest childhood memories.

“Every night was a kind of family home evening filled with laughter, compliments, encouragement, interesting conversation, testimony and expressions of love,” he said.

Sister Holland dedicated her life to service in the Church as she served four different times as Relief Society president as well as in the Primary and Young Women organizations.

Sister Holland also served as a counselor in the Young Women General Presidency while balancing her responsibilities as the wife of a university president.

“Her faith has always been as pure and powerful and strong as any person I have ever known. She’s a very charitable person,” Elder Jeffrey R. Holland said.

As she served in her various callings for the Church, Sister Holland always reminded the women of the Church of the importance of their contributions and various responsibilities.

“If your role or assignment is a supportive one — and many of us will often have that role — we must study and prepare ourselves enough to clearly state to the world that we are not apologizing for strengthening the home, but are rather pursuing our highest priorities, personally, socially and theologically. We will be noticed,” Sister Holland said.

Patricia Holland is also the author of several different books, including the award-winning title, “A Quiet Heart” and “Strength and Stillness: A Message for Women.” Other notable works include “On Earth as it is in Heaven” and “To Mothers: Carrying the Torch of Faith and Family,” which she co-wrote with her husband.

At a January devotional for young adults earlier this year, Sister Holland offered young adults some advice about how to live a religious life.

“Be quiet. Be still. Simplify. Be meek and lowly of heart and pray. I testify that miracles will come when we slow down, when we calm down and when we kneel down. All that the Father has can one day be yours. What a truly hopeful way to face your future,” Sister Holland said.

In a campus devotional in 1987, she talked about a “weird” dream she had about Billy Joel. Billy Joel had performed at the Marriott Center earlier that year, although she and then-President Holland did not attend.

In that dream, she said she and “Billy” were driving down the highway, talking about his experience at BYU. She was driving the car, in control, when she suddenly became terrified of something ahead. Instead of continuing on their journey, she said she veered off the road and sent the car over a cliff. However, instead of crashing, the car became perched safely on a ledge hidden from view.

“We sat comfortably, watching huge crowds of people milling down below. They were coming and going and looking around but never discovering the occupants of the battered car,” she said of her dream.

She decided her interpretation of that dream was that she had associated Billy Joel’s concert at BYU with her own, frequent assignments to speak to Marriott Center crowds.

She, in her address, compared that experience to how students may feel as they come to campus.

“I have felt that perhaps some of you, who may feel a bit shy and more than a little overwhelmed at a place like BYU, need to know that the rest of us are pretty shy, too, and that lots of people — maybe most people — have fears about new experiences with people we don’t know,” she said. “As long as I’m already on the analyst’s couch with my dream, I will go on to confess that I have always had my fair share of fears, too, and maybe you have as well. Life has lots of challenges, and some of them can be fearful.”

At the time of their campus presidency, students would often refer to their start-of-semester speeches as the “Pat and Jeff show.”

For more information about Sister Holland, view her obituary on the Church’s website. The public in invited to her funeral services on Friday, July 31 at 11 a.m. at the Conference Center Theater at Temple Square in Salt Lake City. According to the news release, the funeral will also be broadcast. The release will be updated with the link information. Interment will be in St. George, Utah.

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