During a visit to Omaha, Nebraska, on Aug. 19, President Russell M. Nelson, President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, and Elder Wilford W. Andersen, a General Authority Seventy, visited with Gov. Pete Ricketts and his father, Joe Ricketts.
During their visit, the Church leaders presented the governor with a detailed family history.
“Gov. Ricketts’ roots run deep in Nebraska and Iowa,” President Nelson said. “His ancestors were examples of industry and patriotism. As a Church we were very pleased to research his family history and were honored to present it to him.”
The gift — 647 pages of family history housed in four leather-bound volumes and a framed five-generation pedigree — highlights four generations of the Nebraska governor’s family history.
“ ‘People will not look forward to posterity who never look backward to their ancestors.’ Those words have been attributed to Edmund Burke, and they ring true for all people,” Gov. Ricketts said. “I would like to thank you for your generous gift to my family, and we look forward to learning more about our family tree and history through these beautiful volumes.”
The research provided to Gov. Ricketts and his father shows their male ancestors, like most settlers of the frontier, were hardworking men who worked in physical jobs such as a butcher, farmer, electrician, blacksmith and carpenter.
The governor has met with Church leaders in the past, including Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in 2015, and has worked together with the Church in different community events and projects over the last few years.
“Gov. Ricketts has been a strong voice in support of religious freedom in Nebraska,” Elder Andersen said. “He was honored to meet with President Nelson, delighted with the volumes of his family history and appreciative of the contribution the Church and its members make to his state.”
Although the meeting had been in planning stages for a while, it so happened to fall on the governor’s birthday. The Ricketts family owns the Chicago Cubs baseball team and Joe Ricketts is the founder of TD Ameritrade.
In addition to the meeting with the governor, President Nelson and his wife, Sister Wendy Nelson, also held meetings with missionaries and other Church members in the area.
“President and Sister Nelson met with nearly 2,000 young people and their parents,” Elder Andersen said. “It was a wonderful meeting that none of us will ever forget.”
“We were pleased to meet with President Chad R. Gardner, his wife, Susie, and more than 200 missionaries who serve with them in the Nebraska Omaha Mission,” added President Nelson. “They are doing a great work there.”