Menu
In the News

Special memorial section: Marjorie Pay Hinckley 1911-2004

Remembered for compassion, wit


After a life of dedicated service to her family and the Church, Marjorie Pay Hinckley, 92, — wife of President Gordon B. Hinckley — died Tuesday, April 6, 2004, at her home in Salt Lake City surrounded by her family. She died of causes incident to age.

Revered and loved by Church members worldwide, Sister Hinckley will be remembered for her compassion, wit, optimism, gentleness and unfailing testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

"We have walked together side by side through all of these years, coequals and companions through storm and sunshine," said President Hinckley in general conference just two days before her death. "She has spoken far and wide in testimony of this work, imparting love, encouragement, and faith wherever she has gone."

Born Nov. 23, 1911, in Nephi, Utah, Marjorie Pay was the first child of Phillip LeRoy and Georgetta Paxman Pay. She married Gordon Bitner Hinckley April 29, 1937, in the Salt Lake Temple; they are the parents of five children.

She spent her life as a devoted wife and mother, guiding her children with faith and supporting her husband as he served as an Assistant to the Twelve Apostles, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve, as a counselor in the First Presidency and as president of the Church.

"As I look back on April 29, 1937, there is no way that I could have possibly have imagined where our lives would take us," said Sister Hinckley on her 66th wedding anniversary last year. "I could not have imagined then the sites we would see, the events we would witness and the millions of people we have had the privilege of knowing and loving."

A constant companion to her husband for 67 years of marriage and the 46 years he has been a General Authority, Sister Hinckley traveled the world, greeting world leaders and ordinary Church members with ease and characteristic charm.

But her greatest joy, said Sister Hinckley last year after BYU established the Marjorie Pay Hinckley Chair in Social Work and Social Sciences, came from her family. "My role in life has mostly been a supportive one, and I have felt no need to apologize for that."

Identified by her husband as the "lodestar" of their family, Sister Hinckley participated in monthly family home evenings with her children, 25 grandchildren and 41 great-grandchildren and hosted annual grandchildren-only Christmas parties.

In recent years, Sister Hinckley continued to travel with her husband, visiting all continents except Antarctica. She greeted tens of thousands of members gathered for member meetings in countries such as the Philippines, Mexico and Brazil, and dozens of Church members in remote locations such as Pacific Island nations of Kiribati and Vanuatu, the Atlantic island of Sal, and the Caribbean island of St. Thomas.

She didn't have to speak a sermon, said one Church leader of her visits. Her life was a sermon. Members felt her love from her presence, her smile and her devotion to her husband.

Speaking to BYU married students in 1996, President Hinckley recalled looking at his wife who, like himself, was getting older.

"Tears came into my eyes as I thought of our lives together, of the sorrows we have known, of the defeats we have known, of the struggles we have had, of the triumphs we have enjoyed, the glad times, the sad times, the good times, the bad times," he said.

He remembered their early years in the Depression. Those "tough times," he said, were "rich and beautiful and wonderful because we loved one another."

Funeral service is scheduled for 11 a.m. April 10 in the tabernacle on Temple Square. In lieu of flowers, the Hinckley family has requested that donations be made to the Perpetual Education Fund (see lds.org/pef or mail to Perpetual Education Fund, 50 E. North Temple, Salt Lake City, UT 84105-1501) or to the BYU Marjorie Pay Hinckley Chair in Social Work and Social Sciences (see byu.edu/hinckley or call 1-800-525-8074).

E-mail: sarah@desnews.com

Newsletters
Subscribe for free and get daily or weekly updates straight to your inbox
The three things you need to know everyday
Highlights from the last week to keep you informed