Elder Wm. Grant Bangerter 'A great priesthood man'

Father remembered for life full of service

Elder Wm. Grant Bangerter, emeritus General Authority and former member of the Presidency of the Seventy, passed away in Provo, Utah, on April 18, 2010. He was 91.

"He thrived on Church service," Sister Julie Bangerter Beck, Relief Society general president said of her father. "He absolutely adored serving the Lord. It put a smile on his face and a spring in his step and he loved getting answers through the Spirit."

Elder Bangerter was sustained to serve as an Assistant to the Quorum of the Twelve on April 4, 1975, at the age of 56. A few months later, in January 1976, he was called to the First Quorum of the Seventy, where he served for 13 years.

While serving in that capacity he was over the Colorado/Nevada and Brazil areas until he was sustained to the Presidency of the Seventy, on Sept. 30, 1978.

While in that calling he served in the Chile, and Utah's Ogden and Provo areas, on the temple and genealogical executive council, in the temple department and as first counselor in the North America Northeast Area presidency.

He served in the Presidency of the Seventy until he received emeritus General Authority status, on Oct. 1, 1989.

Prior to his service as a General Authority, Elder Bangerter presided over the Brazil Central Mission, serving there with his wife, Geraldine, from 1958-63. After his service as a General Authority, Elder Bangerter served as president of the Jordan River Utah Temple from August 1990 to September 1993 and as a patriarch in the Alpine Utah West Stake.

Although his service in the Church was great, family members say it is his service in the family that really made a difference.

"He was a great priesthood man," said Sister Beck. "As much as he led in the Church, he led in the family. But in the family, the model was the perfect model of a mother and father leading together."

Whether it was singing, teaching or listening, Sister Beck spoke of memories of her father in their home as a child.

"When we were growing up, if Dad was home, it was family night," she said. "So we had more than one family night a week at home. He loved gathering the family together before bed, even if it was just a short moment."

And that family gathering continued even after children were no longer living in his home.

"He understood about eternal missions. He was happiest when his family got mission calls, temple marriages and new babies. That pleased him."

Most important, Elder Bangerter taught his children the importance of seeking direction from the Lord, Sister Beck said.

"The Lord spoke to him and revealed pieces of information to him as he needed them. ... He was one the Lord trusted to seek out answers and solve big problems because he was willing to do the spiritual effort to work for the revelation and wait for it to come," Sister Beck said. "He trusted, absolutely, that revelation would come in the Lord's time, to solve a problem that needed to be solved. ... He had a talent for helping other individuals unlock the greatness that was in them by instilling confidence in others. I watched it as he was a mission president and watched his missionaries develop over the years. He would take a missionary who didn't really have much of a sense of why he was really on a mission and build him into a powerful force."

Elder Bangerter was born on June 8, 1918, the second of 11 children of William Henry and Isabelle Bawden Bangerter in Granger, Utah. He and his first wife, Mildred Lee Schwantes, who passed away from leukemia in 1952, were the parents of four children, one of whom died at birth. He married Geraldine Hamblin in 1953 and together they had seven children. Funeral services will be held Saturday, April 24, at 11 a.m., in the American Fork Tabernacle, 110 E. Main, American Fork, Utah.

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