Family, service bring greatest happiness to newly called leader

"I wish everyone could be as happy as we are," said Elder Richard D. Allred, just days after being sustained to the Second Quorum of the Seventy April 5.

Over the years, he explained, he, his wife and their children have found happiness in their daily routines - study, prayer and family home evenings - and from just being together as a family.Elder Allred said he learned the importance of family from his own parents.

His formative years were spent in Shelley, Idaho. When Young Richard was 5 years old, his family moved to Arizona, where his father taught seminary.

Three years later, in 1941, they moved again - this time to Burley, Idaho, where he attended high school and seminary classes taught by his father.

"My father was the greatest teacher I ever had," Elder Allred said. "He taught me to be constant, to be faithful, to fulfill my responsibilities, to pray and seek counsel with the Lord, to accept calls and do everything I could to magnify the call and to bring honor to the call," he explained.

It was also in Burley, Idaho, that he first met Gay Banner, his future wife.

She was secretary of the Sunday School and attended Church activities in Burley - but he didn't become romantically interested in her until his junior year at BYU. They dated and she waited for him while he served a 30-month mission to Mexico.

They were married in the Logan Temple Dec. 19, 1956.

In June 1958, he graduated from Utah State University and entered the U.S. Air Force.

That began years of work as an Air Force avionics officer in many locales. The young family lived in Colorado, Missouri, California, Montana, Greece and Texas. Elder Allred also spent a year away from his family in Greenland. "The military was a good way to finance my Church activity," he said, laughing. He and his wife had numerous leadership opportunities and "wonderful experiences" as they lived in the mission field.

"We never lived in a place that we would not want to go back to," he noted.

Moving frequently wasn't hard for the family. "It was something we had to do, so we did it," he said. Through it all the Allreds learned to depend on each other.

Today, in his spare time, Elder Allred enjoys doing just about anything - as long as he can do it with his wife. "We enjoy each other," he said. "We come looking for each other. . . . It is just being together and feeling of each other's spirit and sharing the choiceness and the beauty of the moment. We read together. We study the scriptures. We used to run together; now that we are getting older we walk together. We enjoy being one with another. Those are the important things."

Elder and Sister Allred also both speak fluent Spanish, enjoy visiting Church sites, and have documented much of their lives with photographs.

Elder Allred - who taught a photography class as a student at BYU - enjoys taking pictures that depict the atmosphere and feeling of a place; pictures with sunlight and bright colors; or pictures that show sensitivity and delicate situations. But most of all, he loves taking pictures of his family "just sitting and contemplating or involved in activities with one another."

Sister Allred said her husband has a great love for people and the ability to communicate that love to them. He is also a "wonderful husband, a wonderful father, and a wonderful son," she said.

He supported his sons when they were involved in little league football and school activities. The boys also spent happy times camping, hunting, and fishing with their father.

Today the family still occasionally goes fishing. "Have you ever tried to take six grandchildren fishing at the same time?" he asked. "If you have more than one line in the water at the same time, it is a successful trip."

But catching fish isn't the important thing, Elder Allred adds. It is a lesson of patience and love. It is just being together as a family that is important.

After all, with six grandchildren he has to bait six hooks and set up six fishing poles. He casts one line in the water, then moves to the next grandchild. After a few minutes with the second grandchild, Elder Allred notices "the first one has backed all the way up, not using the reel, but has backed up and got everything caught in the weeds and is saying, `Grandpa, something has happened to my worm.' "

Elder Allred wouldn't trade these experiences for anything. "Family is where it is," he re-emphasizes.

If he has one hope for his grandchildren it would be that each will marry a faithful companion and actively serve the Lord - the same things that have brought him happiness.

"I married over my head," he said. "I do not deny that if it were not for my beautiful faithful wife, I would be doing something else right now."

He and his wife have relied on each other and their testimonies to weather some of life's most difficult times. Faith and the power of prayer have seen them through. "The experiences in our lives that could have been traumatic, we evaluated in the context of the gospel," he explained.

While Elder Allred was away from his family, working in Greenland, his youngest son, then 3 years old, passed away.

"It was a heartache when he was taken, but we realize there was purpose in it," the new General Authority said. "We realized that we were an eternal family."

Sister Allred noted that she does not know what her family would have done without the gospel.

"I can never remember when I did not have a belief in the Savior and recognized Him as my Savior, as my Redeemer, as my special friend," Elder Allred said.

Because he and his wife have great testimonies, Elder Allred is anxious to serve the Lord full time - something he has done several times before as a Guatemala Quetzaltenango Mission president, Guatemala City Temple president, and Guatemala Mission Training Center president.

The Allreds' oldest son was on his mission when Elder Allred was called as a mission president. "By the time we got back off our mission the oldest son was married and had two children and the youngest son had been on a mission and come back and had fallen in love, and was married six days after we got home," said Elder Allred. "Out of our 12 grandchildren, seven have been born when we have been in the mission field."

He said his children and his grandchildren know that they cannot always be with them because they are in the service of the Lord. "It is a great thing for them to recognize that we love them and we love the Lord and what we are doing is for the eternity of the family as well as a love for the Lord."


Elder Richard D. Allred

Family: Born in Salt Lake City, Utah, Aug. 3, 1932, to Elwood B. and Glendora Malcom Allred. Married Gay Banner in the Logan Temple Dec. 19, 1956. Parents of three children: Kirk B., David Alan, and Richard Stanford (deceased); 12 grandchildren.

Education: Bachelor's degree in geology from Utah State University, master of business administration degree from the University of Arkansas.

Military service: Retired U.S. Air Force officer.

Employment: General manager of Kimball Armor Corp., realtor, and former chief executive officer of Rios Golden Cut.

Church Service: President of the Guatemala City Temple, 1990-1993; director of Missionary Training Center in Guatemala, 1986-1988; president of the Guatemala Quetzaltenango Mission, 1979-1983; former regional representative, stake patriarch, stake president and bishop.

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