Elder Waldo P. Call, emeritus General Authority Seventy, dies at age 92

Elder Waldo P. Call, an emeritus General Authority Seventy, died Tuesday, Oct. 20, in Colonia Juarez, Mexico, at the age of 92.

Elder Call’s patriarchal blessing, given to him by his grandfather, mentioned his testimony would be heard by thousands. That promise was fulfilled as he served as a stake president, mission president, regional representative and then as a General Authority Seventy from 1985 to 1990.

“I have always tried to bear a testimony every time I was called on to speak, whether in sacrament services, stake meetings or [devotionals]. I’ve always felt compelled to give voice to my testimony,” he said.

Waldo Pratt Call, a direct descendent of Elder Parley P. Pratt, was born in Colonia Juarez, a picturesque town nestled amongst gentle hills in north central Mexico, which was settled by Latter-day Saint pioneers in 1885.

Of his hometown, Elder Call said, “It’s dry desert there — and the most beautiful place in the world.”

The hazel-eyed Church leader lived several places during his life but was proud of his home. “Mexico is my country, the land of my birth. I love it,” he said. He was fluent in both Spanish and English.

He learned hard work from his parents, Charles Helaman and Hannah Skousen Call, who taught their 13 children to work and to pray and to serve in the Church.

Elder Call met Beverly Johnson during their senior year at Juarez Stake Academy. On Mexico’s Independence Day, he entered to participate in the bull riding and roping events during the celebratory rodeo. He recalled trying a little bit too hard to get her attention and taking a horn to his foot. 

Elder Waldo P. Call, a former General Authority Seventy, and his wife LaRayne, at the dedication of the Colonia Juarez Mexico Temple.
Elder Waldo P. Call, a former General Authority Seventy, and his wife LaRayne, at the dedication of the Colonia Juarez Mexico Temple. Credit: John L. Hart

After they both graduated and served missions to the Mexico-Central America Mission, they were married in August 1950 in the Mesa Arizona Temple. Together they raised seven children. Beverly died in October 1986, and he married Erma LaRayne Whetten in 1987.

One of Elder Call’s grandmothers thought he should be a doctor. His mother thought he should be a pianist. He decided he wanted to be a farmer. 

He earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Brigham Young University in agronomy and horticulture and took Beverly and their family back home to Mexico, where he became an orchardist of apples, peaches and pears. Besides tending his orchards and farm, he taught for nine years at the Juarez Stake Academy.

He and Sister Beverly Call served as president and companion over the Uruguay Montevideo Mission from 1982 to 1985 before his call as a General Authority Seventy in 1985.

Following his release as a General Authority Seventy in 1990, he served as president and Sister Erma LaRayne Call served as matron of the Mexico City Mexico Temple from 1990 to 1993.

Elder Waldo P. Call, a General Authority Seventy, speaks during the October 1990 general conference.
Elder Waldo P. Call, a General Authority Seventy, speaks during the October 1990 general conference. Credit: Screenshot

In the October 1990 general conference, Elder Call quoted the admonition found in Mosiah 3:19, to put off the natural man and become “submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict.”

“My dear brothers and sisters and family, can’t you see what we need to do?” he said. “Be submissive, do not murmur, endure to the end. If we will do this He will show us the way if we will but follow His prophets and apostles.”

He was preceded in death by a grandson, Adam Hatch, in 2013, and his first wife, Beverly, and is survived by his wife, LaRayne; daughters Sandra, Rebecca, and Nancy; sons Pratt, Robert, Mark and Dana; 38 grandchildren; and 104 great-grandchildren.