Success is a matter of preparation, Elder Richard J. Maynes learned early

‘The better one is prepared,’ he contends, ‘the luckier he seems to be’

Life, for Elder Richard J. Maynes, is a journey of high adventure that was meant to be experienced, savored, even relished.

It's a philosophy for life that encouraged Elder Maynes to excel in athletics, serve a mission, and then view the world as his marketplace. "Like Henry David Thoreau," he said, "my concern is that one day I will come to the end of my life and learn that I have not lived."

At 46, Elder Maynes was called to serve in the Second Quorum of Seventy during general conference on April 5.

Elder Richard J. Maynes
Elder Richard J. Maynes, General Authority Seventy | The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

He has been president and co-owner with his brother of a manufacturing company which fabricates displays and fixtures for the retail industry. He also has been chairman and chief executive officer of Fountain Fresh International Inc., a beverage company recently starting to expand into foreign markets with distribution in Asia and Europe.

Over the years, he has distinguished himself by hard work, personal talents and an element of timing. But success in life, he said, is mainly due to quality preparation.

"The better one is prepared," he contends, "the luckier he seems to be."

This passion for preparation has become his trademark, a characteristic demonstrated early in life.

"I was a sports fanatic while growing up," he explained. "My dream as a high school freshman was to excel in football."

But during the last practice before the first game of the season, Elder Maynes broke his shoulder. The injury was extensive, breaking the bone through the socket. The shoulder was allowed to heal before doctors realized the injury had been misdiagnosed.

To correct the error, doctors broke the shoulder a second time and secured it with metal pins which still remain in place. During this ordeal, the growth plates in his arm were affected, stunting the growth of his arm by 11/2 inches.

Because of this injury, it became brutally obvious that "full-contact football would never again be an option for me," Elder Maynes said.

But the fires of athletic competition continued to smolder. So he exchanged his football cleats for gym shoes and began practicing basketball.

"I can vividly remember shooting one-handed baskets in our driveway while my left arm was immobilized and still healing," he said.

But Elder Maynes continued to shoot. For his devotion, he was named the most valuable player on his high school team in Hollister, Calif., during his sophomore, junior and senior years. He was one of the top scorers in California during his senior year.

"He was one of those who would stay after practice for extra shooting, then go home and shoot some more. He shot so much the coach gave him his own key to the basketball gym," said Nancy Maynes, his wife.

Following high school, Elder Maynes received an athletic scholarship to BYU in 1968. Reflecting on those days, Elder Maynes said, "When basketball at BYU didn't work out as I planned, I had to make what was probably my hardest, yet best, decision I've ever made. I decided to go on a mission rather than transfer to play at a different school."

He was called to serve in the Uruguay-Paraguay mission in South America, serving approximately half of his mission in each country.

"The Church was very young in Paraguay at the time," Elder Maynes said. "Several of the branches we formed then are stakes now."

Serving a mission was a formative experience for Elder Maynes. There, in the quiet of the South American jungle, he deepened the roots of his gospel knowledge and tasted the joys of an emerging talent to organize and lead.

Following his mission, Elder Maynes returned to BYU where, during the summer prior to his senior year, he went with some friends to work at a resort in Sun Valley, Idaho.

During the summer, a particular young lady, Nancy Purrington, caught his attention. On occasion, he would see her walking across the resort compound during lunch, or sometimes strolling casually in the evening. Several times he mentioned to his friend that he thought it would be nice to meet this young lady. His friends gave him some good-hearted razzing because he didn't seem to be able to muster the courage to ask her out himself.

One day, to his surprise, he and his friend bumped into her as they were entering the lodge just as she was leaving.

Grabbing her arm, the friend of Elder Maynes said, "My friend here has been talking about you for a couple of weeks. Would you please go out with him?" At first, Elder Maynes said, he was embarrassed at the abruptness, then pleased when she accepted.

The date consisted of four-wheeling in the mountains about Sun Valley. On that first date, he learned that Nancy was reared in Idaho Falls, Idaho, and that she was not a member of the Church. Later that evening, he gave her a Book of Mormon. Nearly six weeks later, he baptized her.

At the close of the summer, they went their separate ways. He returned to BYU while Nancy went to work as a legal assistant in Salt Lake City. They continued dating and were married in the Manti Temple the day following his graduation from college.

During the first 10 years of their marriage, Elder Maynes traveled extensively helping to build the family business. One division of the business specialized in food and beverage production. Because of his expertise, he was in one of the early groups of Americans first invited by the government of the Peoples Republic of China to enter the country to help analyze the possibility of high-speed can manufacturing in China.

"I became an expert in using chopsticks during the two weeks I was there because, in those days, silverware wasn't an option in China," he said.

When Elder Maynes was called to serve as a mission president in Monterrey, Mexico, Sister Maynes and their four children traded the comforts of their California home for life in a different culture.

"She didn't speak a word of Spanish when she gave her first talk that first week in Mexico," said Elder Maynes. "We translated the talk and she did a good job of reading it entirely in Spanish. But three years later, she could understand virtually everything and could participate in missionary, district and stake conferences using her own words.

"She could have easily worked in the legal profession," explained Elder Maynes. "I don't think she has ever been turned down for any job in which she applied. But she has chosen to stay home and be the best mom in the world to our children. By the way, she keeps the house several degrees cleaner than a hospital."

As Elder Maynes fills his assignments around the world as a new member of the Seventy, members of the Church will find that he is "likable, easy to get to know," and has the ability to make friends anywhere, "even while standing in line at Disneyland," explained Sister Maynes.

Biographical information

Family: Born in Berkeley, Calif., Oct. 29, 1950, to Stan and Betty Maynes. Married Nancy J. Purrington Aug. 15, 1974, in the Manti Temple. Parents of four children: Rob (21); Lara (18); Christina (16) and David (14).

Education: Bachelor’s degree in business management with a double minor in economics and accounting at BYU, 1974; master’s degree in international management, American Graduate School of International Management, 1976.

Employment: President of Raymond Production Systems Inc., 1984-89; international consulting, 1992-94; chief executive officer, chairman of the board of Fountain Fresh International Inc; co-owner, president of CS Wood Inc.

Church service: Stake mission president; president of the Mexico Monterrey Mission, 1989-92; high councilor; counselor in two bishoprics; elders quorum president; served in Uruguay-Paraguay Mission, 1970-72.

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