In a memorial service May 23, President Gordon B. Hinckley referred to Elaine Anderson Cannon as a woman of remarkable character who was talented and "did well her part."
Sister Cannon, Young Women general president from 1978-1984, died of cancer at her home in Salt Lake City May 19. (Please see Church News, May 24, p. 12.)
President James E. Faust, second counselor in the First Presidency, and Elder Neal A. Maxwell of the Quorum of the Twelve joined President Hinckley in paying tribute to Sister Cannon at the memorial service in the (Salt Lake) Arlingon Hills Ward. Also attending were President Thomas S. Monson, first counselor in the First Presidency; Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin of the Quorum of the Twelve; several other General Authorities and their wives, and present and former general auxiliary leaders.
President Hinckley described Sister Cannon as lively, full of spirit and radiating happiness. "She just radiated sunshine wherever she went and whatever she did," President Hinckley said. He spoke of her talents in writing and speaking and "in whatever she tried to do. She was a great president of the young women of this Church. She represented them before all the world in a remarkable and wonderful way.
"Now, she's gone. I think those of us who can control our emotions in these circumstances recognize that this is not a time of sorrow, of grieving. When all is said and done, she has more on the other side than she has on this side. She's gone to join them."
He quoted Doctrine and Covenants 42:45-46: " 'Thou shalt live together in love, insomuch that thou shalt weep for the loss of them that die, . . . And it shall come to pass that those that die in me shall not taste of death, for it shall be sweet unto them.'
"Those great reassuring words fit her," President Hinckley said.
President Faust spoke of the long-time association between his and Sister Cannon's families and his friendship with her husband, James D. Cannon.
He spoke of her many callings and responsibilities. "I am sure that they are not all recorded. How many hundreds of lives she touched and blessed are known but to the Master," he said. "Her many articles were an outstanding labor of love. The messages of hope she gave to all women, particularly to the young women, are immeasurable. Her accomplishments were truly outstanding.
"All of our lives were enriched because we knew Elaine Anderson Cannon and D. James Cannon," he said.
He spoke of her "long and exhausting care" of her husband before he died in 1998, and of the deaths of three of their adult children. "She met all these challenges with a spiritual serenity and strength," President Faust said.
Elder Maxwell spoke of Sister Cannon's "spiritual effervescence," and of the work she now will be privileged to do without fatigue.
Of her commitment to the gospel, he said, "Elaine didn't merely go through the motions of Church membership. She went through the range of emotions that go with discipleship."
Further, he said that Sister Cannon was no stranger to the Master. "We can't force people to think about Jesus," he said. "We can reflect the eloquence of example of what it's like to be closer to Him. And, surely, Elaine did it. . . .
Bishop David C. Hamblin of the Arlington Hills Ward conducted the memorial service. One of Sister Cannon's daughters, Holly Metcalf, spoke on behalf of the family. Laurel Bailey, who was Sister Cannon's secretary when she was Young Women general president, also spoke.