Once an impoverished refugee from Mexico who eventually served as a General Authority for 47 years, President Marion G. Romney made major contributions to the Church throughout his life.
He was known for his powerful testimony, for his knowledge of the scriptures and for his ability to get things done, said associates. He served in the First Presidency for 12 years as a counselor to two Church presidents.President Romney was born in Mexico, a son of George S. and Artemesia Redd Romney. In 1912, George Romney sent his family to the United States when their hometown of Colonia Juarez was threatened by rebels during the Mexican Revolution. Young Marion, 15, was placed in charge of the move, and the family traveled by wagon to El Paso, Texas. His father later rejoined them, and they eventually settled in Rexburg, Idaho.. He learned the carpentry trade from his father and excelled in sports.
After graduating from Ricks Normal College in 1920, he was called to serve a mission to Australia. He returned to marry Ida Jensen, with her "golden hair and smiling face." They were parents of four children, two of whom died in infancy.
During the formative years of the Church's welfare program in the mid-1930s, he was a young bishop of the 33rd Ward in Salt Lake City. In 1935, he listened to President Heber J. Grant encourage bishops to follow welfare principles. He was a member and later chairman of the bishops regional council, one of the early forerunners of the welfare plan.
After his call as an Assistant to the Twelve, he was appointed assistant managing director of the welfare program. "President Romney took ideas and translated them into action; he put the meat on the bones," remembered Elder Glen L. Rudd, former manager of Welfare Square and now a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy.
During his long tenure in the Council of the Twelve, President Romeny was involved in many other areas of responsibility as well, supervising missionary work in Mexico, Europe, South Africa and Asia. He organized Mexico's first stake in 1961.
President Kimball once said that President Romney "is able to reflect on an issue before us in the context of the scriptures which he know so well, and he relates problems to the scriptures in an especially keen way."