Elder Asay eulogized for lifetime of service

President Gordon B. Hinckley described Elder Carlos E. Asay, who died April 10, as "a great and good man who served his life in lifting and helping and teaching and strengthening others in the ways of the Lord."

President Hinckley was among those who paid tribute April 13 to Elder Asay at funeral services in the Assembly Hall on Temple Square. Elder Asay, who had been a member of the Seventy from 1976-1996, was president of the Salt Lake Temple at the time of his death following a massive heart attack. He was 72.

Also speaking at the funeral were President Boyd K. Packer, acting president of the Quorum of the Twelve, and Elder Dean L. Larsen, emeritus member of the Seventy and now president of the Provo Utah Temple. Elder L. Aldin Porter, senior president of the Seventy, conducted the service.

Among those attending the funeral were President Thomas S. Monson and President James E. Faust, first and second counselors in the First Presidency, respectively, members of the Quorum of the Twelve, the Seventy, and Presiding Bishopric.

A double quartet from the Tabernacle Choir provided music for the funeral.

President Hinckley said, "All of our lives are the richer for having known Carlos Asay. He was our brother . . . associate . . . friend."

He spoke of the small Utah community of Sutherland, in the "flat farmland of Millard County," where Elder Asay was born and of Monroe, Utah, where he was reared. He said he wondered what motivates a boy born and reared in such small places "to move forward and excel in all his callings upon the earth." President Hinckley added, "There is something wonderful about each of those places. . . . To be able to look up at the stars as a boy and dream of the things to come is a marvelous and wonderful thing."

President Hinckley described Elder Asay as a great achiever who had a diverse experience in life. "He served as a missionary, as mission president (in Texas), as president of the International Mission, as executive director of the Missionary Department of the Church. He was well educated. He received a bachelor's degree from the University of Utah, a master's from Long Beach State, and a doctorate from Utah. I never knew, until I read it in the obituary, that he had a doctorate. He never talked about it, never boasted about it, never mentioned it. He never tacked it onto his name. He just quietly went his way with all the training that he had had."

He spoke of Elder Asay's honorable military service during World War II, and of his distinguished career as an educator in high schools and universities, including BYU in Provo and also in Hawaii.

"He was an athlete of the first magnitude in high school and a four-year letterman at the University of Utah," President Hinckley said. "One of his great dreams was fulfilled when the university went to the National Invitational Tournament [at] Madison Square Garden in New York to play there. (The year was 1947; his team won.) He was honored for academic excellence while playing basketball.

"His Church career was long and varied. No matter where he was called, he served with distinction. He ably handled the call of a bishop. His general Church service began in the office of the Presiding Bishopric. He was then called as a regional representative, and from that responsibility to serve as a member in the First Quorum of the Seventy. This sacred ministry took him far and wide across the earth. For three years he domiciled in Europe and was responsible for the work of the Church in that area. He came to know Europe, north and south, east and west — that great, marvelous, fascinating and interesting part of the earth. He served as executive director of the Curriculum Department and Correlation Department of the Church, as director of Church magazines and, on two separate occasions, as a member of the Seven Presidents of the Seventy."

He spoke of Elder Asay's call to serve as president of the Salt Lake Temple. "In this service he was constantly engaged in work which reaches from immortality into the eternities beyond. He has now entered that realm. He was a dutiful servant; I am confident that he has indicated his willingness to accept whatever duty might be awaiting him."

President Packer commented that Elder Asay's funeral was being held just a few steps from where he and his wife, Colleen Webb Asay, had served the last two years. "One short step through the veil is where he is now," President Packer declared.

He said that after doctors announced that Elder Asay's brain had stopped functioning, some asked in the ensuing days before his death, "Where is Carlos now? Where is his spirit?" President Packer said, "I answered, 'I do not know. . . . I do not know the answer to that, but I do know the answer to some things. I know what Carlos knew, beloved friend and associate."

President Packer then spoke of the certainty of life after mortal death, of the continuation of the spirit and the unity of families in the eternities.

He spoke of the work Elder and Sister Asay did in the temple uniting families eternally. "How deeply and profoundly blessed we are because we know what families are. The purpose of the temple, where they labored, is to seal them together."

President Packer said that death is part of the Great Plan of Happiness. "The separation called physical and mortal death is nothing to be afraid of, when the time comes, nor is it to be resisted."

Elder Larsen, emphasizing that Elder Asay continues to live, used the present tense, saying, 'He is a wonderful, loving and beloved husband and father, a dear friend and brother. Above all else, he is a devoted, loyal follower and disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ."

He said that as he prepared to speak at the funeral, he had the strong impression that Elder Asay would say, "Don't talk about me. Talk to my family. Tell them the things I would have told them if I had not been taken so suddenly." Elder Larsen then referred to scriptures and teachings about eternal life.

"Elder Asay might say to his family, 'It's so busy here . . . there is so much to do. I will miss you during this brief time of separation . . . but it is time for me to move on.' "

Elder Asay was born to A.E. Lyle and Elsie Egan Asay on June 12, 1926. He married Colleen Webb on Oct. 20, 1947, in the Salt Lake Temple. In addition to his wife, Elder Asay is survived by seven of eight children.