Elder Keith W. Wilcox dies at age 90

Elder Keith W. Wilcox, who served in the First and Second Quorums of the Seventy from 1984 to 1989, died Friday evening, Dec. 16. Elder Wilcox,a resident of Ogden, Utah, was 90 years old.

An architect before he was called as a General Authority, he is perhaps best known for his design of the Washington D.C. Temple. He also designed the Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah; the Ogden Federal Building, McKay-Dee Hospital in Ogden, Weber Memorial Hospital, the Roy, Bonneville and Skyview high schools, and the Union Building, Arts Building and Browning Center for the Performing Arts at the Weber State College and other buildings.

He served twice as a regional representative and as president of the Indianan Indianapolis Mission from 1974-1977. Earlier, he was bishop of the Ogden 50th Ward and served for 15 years as president of the Weber Heights Stake in Ogden.

He served in the U.S. Navy during World War II, was a member of the Utah House of Representatives for two years and a member of chairman of the Weber Planning Commission for 10 years.

Ever since his youth, he was known and respected for his honesty. Shortly after he was sustained to the First Quorum of the Seventy on Oct. 5, 1984, he related to the Church News an experience he had while he was a second-year engineering student at Weber State College. Soon after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, he decided to enlist in a naval officer training school. He went to Salt Lake City to make the application. At the bottom of the application form was what he called “a catch question,” asking if the applicant had hay fever.

“I knew if I told the truth something would happen that I wouldn’t like,” he said. “It would be so easy to say ‘no’ but I had hay fever bad so I thought it over and said ‘yes.’ And just as he had feared the officer tore up his papers and said the draft would take care of him.

He went home and soon transferred to the University of Utah as an upper division engineering student. After graduating in 1943, he once again went to the recruiting office and “was treated like a VIP. They needed engineering officers so badly in the Navy, they couldn’t do enough for me.”

They told him his hay fever was no longer a problem and commissioned him as an ensign in the U.S. Navy.

His wife, Sister Viva May Wilcox, said Elder Wilcox was always honest. One time while traveling to Yellowstone National Park, the family stopped to buy eight bottles of soda pop, she recalled. Once back on the road, someone opened the sack and discovered there was a ninth bottle. “He made us drive several miles back to pay for that bottle of soda, so the children learned the importance of honesty,” she said.

He was born May 15, 1921, at Hyrum, Utah, to Irving C. and Nancy Mary Wilson Wilcox. He is survived by his wife and their six daughters and many grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Funeral services will be held Thursday, Dec. 22, at 2 p.m. in the Kingston Ward meeting house, 1425 Kingston Drive, Ogden, Utah. A public viewing will be held Wednesday, Dec. 21, from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Lindquist's Ogden mortuary, 3408 Washington Blvd., and Thursday prior to the services from 12:45 p.m. to 1:45 p.m. at the meetinghouse.