Elder J. Thomas Fyans, an emeritus General Authority, died May 18 at his home in Sandy, Utah, one day after celebrating his much anticipated 90th birthday with family members. The cause of death was incident to age.
J. Thomas Fyans was born in Moreland, Idaho, May 17, 1918. He married Helen Cook in 1943 in the Salt Lake Temple. They are parents of five daughters.
Elder Fyans was called to the First Quorum of the Seventy on Oct. 1, 1976, after previously serving two-and-a-half years as an Assistant to the Quorum of the Twelve, and nearly seven years as a Regional Representative.
The Church saw tremendous growth in Mexico between 1974 and 1975, during which time Elder Fyans served as executive administrator of the area. In one day, 15 stakes were created when Elder Howard W. Hunter, then of the Quorum of the Twelve, visited Mexico in November 1975. Brother Guillermo Torres Villalobos, one of the 15 stake presidents called, recalled the efforts of Elder Fyans and the local members in preparing the area for stakes and said, "(Elder Fyans) had a saying, 'Let's stake the country of Mexico."'
In 1972, Elder Fyans became the managing director of the Church's Internal Communications Department. As managing director, he was involved with developing the Church's edition of the King James Bible.
Elder Fyans served as a member of the Presidency of the Seventy from October 1976 until October 1985.
After being named emeritus in 1989, he served as president of the St. George Utah Temple from August 1992 until September 1995.