He fulfilled duties in 'magnificent manner'

F.William (Bill) Gay, the longest-serving member ever of the Polynesian Cultural Center (PCC) board of directors, was honored at a special dinner in the Joseph Smith Memorial Building in Salt Lake City earlier this month.

Brother Gay, a member of the Kingwood 2nd Ward, Kingwood Texas Stake, retired from the board after having served more than 30 years. The Polynesian Cultural Center, located adjacent to the BYU-Hawaii campus in Laie, Hawaii, opened in 1963. Brother Gay was one of the original members of the center's board of directors.President Howard W. Hunter and President Thomas S. Monson, second counselor in the First Presidency, participated on the program Oct. 4 honoring Brother Gay and his wife, Mary. President Hunter and President Monson paid tribute to Brother Gay, as did Elder Dallin H. Oaks, chairman of the PCC board of directors. Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin, vice chairman of the board, also attended.

President Hunter, who helped establish the Polynesian Cultural Center as a missionary tool for the Church, served as chairman of its board for 10 years.

At the dinner, President Hunter spoke of his feelings regarding Brother Gay's service. He also spoke of the Polynesian Cultural Center and its role in helping preserve and showcase the cultures of the peoples of Pacific and Asian nations while providing, through jobs and scholarships, educational opportunities for students from those regions. The center is open six days each week throughout the year, and is a major tourist attraction.

President Monson noted that no member of the PCC board of directors receives remuneration or board fees. "Bill Gay, with his unique and multifaceted background, was able to bring to the board a point of view and business expertise which were invaluable," President Monson said. "Furthermore, he served as a board member through the administrations of many managers, never shirking his responsibilities and fulfilling them in a magnificent manner."

President Monson quoted the English essayist John Ruskin: " `Wherefore, when we build let us think that we build forever. Let it not be for present delight, nor for present use alone; let it be such work as our descendants will thank us for, and let us think as we lay stone on stone that a time is to come when those stones will be held sacred, because our hands have touched them; and men will say, as they look upon the labour and wrought substances of them: See, this our fathers did for us.' "

Those words, President Monson said, reminded him of Bill Gay.

Elder Oaks said that Brother Gay, because of his expertise and dedication, "has helped immeasurably to bless the lives of millions of visitors who have had an `Aloha experience' at the center, and thousands of students who have worked there learning and earning their way through school."

Elder Oaks spoke of Brother Gay's "vast array of successes and accomplishments," including being one of nine court-appointed lifetime trustees of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the world's largest basic biomedical research organization with assets over $7 billion.

"His heavy professional commitment of time and energy in the business world has not precluded Bill Gay from making some of his finest service contributions to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and to the Boy Scouts of America," Elder Oaks said. "He has served the Church in many ward and stake positions and as a member of the Sunday School general board. For over 50 years of service to the Boy Scouts of America in positions of leadership on local, regional and national levels, he has received Scouting's highest awards, the Silver Beaver, Silver Antelope, and Silver Buffalo. He is a member of the National Executive Board of the Boy Scouts of America."

At the dinner, Brother and Sister Gay's children were introduced: F. William Gay Jr., Robert Gay, Alissa Gay, and Kathryn G. Miller.

Norma Ashton accepted in behalf of her late husband, Elder Marvin J. Ashton of the Council of the Twelve, a posthumous award. Elder Ashton was a previous chairman of the PCC board of directors.

A number of contemporaries of Brother Gay on the board were present. Special mention was made of Wendell Mendehall, Edward Clissold, Michael Grilikhes, George Cannon, Howard Anderson and Larry Hanneberg for their contributions to the Polynesian Cultural Center.

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