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Elder David E. Sorensen, emeritus General Authority, dies at home in California

SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO, CALIF.

Elder David E. Sorensen, 81, an emeritus General Authority since 2005, died Tuesday evening, Aug. 26, 2014, at his home in San Juan Capistrano, California.

Elder Sorensen served as a member of the Second Quorum of the Seventy from 1992-95, the First Quorum of the Seventy from 1995-2005, and the Presidency of the Seventy from 1998-2005. Elder Sorensen also served as president of the Canada Halifax Mission from 1985-88 and as president of the San Diego California Temple from 2005-2008.

Born in Aurora, Utah, on June 29, 1933, Elder Sorensen worked as a youth on the family ranch.

Commenting in a 1992 Church News interview on two bronze sculptures of cowboys displayed at his home, he remarked, “I have a lot of empathy for the common man. I think these sculptures stand for blood, sweat and tears, and I understand that.”

His wife, Verla, added on that occasion, “The cowboy is symbolic of David’s youth. His family background on a ranch taught him the discipline that has helped him achieve success in life. He’s extremely disciplined and capable of working for long periods of time.”

Educated at Brigham Young University, Utah State University and the University of Utah, he was obliged to go to work before graduation to resolve some debt on the family ranch. That led to business opportunities and success, eventually as a partner in a company specializing in long-term health care and psychiatric hospitals for people with developmental disabilities.

Meanwhile, following the death of his father, he expanded the family ranch into a significant agri-business.

The health care company was sold in 1984, not long before his call to be a mission president and, subsequently, as a member of the Seventy.

“I think we have been very blessed to see miracles through prayer, both in our family and in the lives of others,” he reflected in the 1992 interview.

Typifying the practical wisdom of his ministry is a talk he gave in April 2001 general conference comparing tampering with pornography to petting a rattlesnake.

Elder Sorensen is survived by his wife, Verla, their seven children, 35 grandchildren, and many great-grandchildren.

Funeral services were scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 30, at 11 a.m., in the Capistrano Ward Chapel located at 28291 Alicia Parkway, Laguna Nigel, California.

A viewing was held prior to the services.

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