Elder William Grant Bangerter: A light to all those that knew him

Friends and family filled the American Fork Tabernacle on Saturday, April 24, for funeral services to honor the life of Elder William Grant Bangerter, an emeritus member of the Seventy.

Representing the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve, Elder Richard G. Scott of the Quorum of the Twelve, spoke of the great service Elder Bangerter gave throughout his life.

"We rejoice with you in his life of devoted service," Elder Scott read from a letter from the First Presidency. "Elder Bangerter's life was a model of diligence and hard work. His example of conviction as a husband and father and stalwart servant of the Lord influenced the lives of loved ones and all with whom he came in contact."

Elder Scott also spoke of the comfort of the plan of salvation and the importance of the sealing ordinances performed in the temple.

"I rejoice in the day we’ll have the privilege of being with him again eternally," he said. "That will happen, absolutely."

All ten of Elder Bangerter’s living children were a part of the funeral services, participating in talks, prayers and musical numbers. Speakers during the funeral service included two of his sons, Cory Bangerter and Howard Bangerter, and his daughter, Julie B. Beck, Relief Society general president.

Each of the speakers said Elder Bangerter’s life was full of service and missionary work.

"His love for the Savior was manifested with his devotion to His cause, never failing, ever ready to go and do what was asked of him by his master," said Brother Cory Bangerter.

Sister Beck spoke of a recent conversation she had with her father in which he asked her what her mission in life is. He asked what his purpose was and why individuals are here on earth. She then recalled her father’s answers — responding very powerfully to his own questions.

"We are here to develop ourselves and build the kingdom of God," she recalled him saying. "A high level of employment is an interesting thing. But serving as a bishop and leaders is something very special. … I was not sent on earth to be a farmer or a carpenter, I was sent to serve and respond where I was sent and be carried around the world in the Lord’s service."

Brother Howard K. Bangerter spoke of the missionary service his father accomplished both as a young missionary and as a mission president years later. As a young missionary the number of convert baptisms weren’t high, but the lessons he learned were great, he said.

"While these faithful missionaries didn’t baptize thousands, they developed unwavering testimonies for the gospel," he said.

Returning years later as a mission president to Brazil, Elder Bangerter saw the growth of the Church in great numbers. While he was there, he focused not only on the growth of the Church, but also the integration of the new members. Just as important as the convert baptisms were his missionaries, Brother Howard Bangerter said.

"He was their friend and they knew he loved them and all else flowed from that," he said. "He saw in every new missionary the nugget of a powerful leader that was just green and raw and untapped."

Using a concept from a talk his father gave in general conference in 1977, Brother Howard Bangerter spoke of the many footprints his father left behind, focusing on the lessons that can be learned as individual’s look to his father’s example.

"Each of us, from the Primary chorister to the bishop, or in whatever calling we may be serving can seek, number one, to learn the will of the Lord through personal revelation, and number two, to move forward with faith and use our influence to bring to pass the Lord’s will. In doing so, may we become sanctified."

Elder Bangerter served as a General Authority from 1975 – 89. During that time he served as an assistant to the Quorum of the Twelve apostles, a member of the Seventy and a member of the Presidency of the Seventy.

"William Grant Bangerter was a light to all those who knew him, and his good works for many who did not know him," said Michael W. Crossley, bishop of the Alpine 5th Ward. "The greatest work that Elder Bangerter did was raise up a righteous posterity."

A graveside service was held after the conclusion of the funeral at the Elysian Memorial Gardens in Murray, Utah.