The First Presidency honors Elder Davies for his tireless, valiant ministry

As a “courageous disciple of Jesus Christ,” Elder Dean M. Davies served with “unusual unwearingness” and “unparalleled skill, patience and persistence,” said President Russell M. Nelson

“Dean’s contributions to the Church and to the people throughout the world cannot be overestimated. He was tireless in his ministry, even as he battled cancer.” 

President Nelson and his counselors in the First Presidency, President Dallin H. Oaks and President Henry B. Eyring, spoke during Elder Davies’ funeral on Saturday, Sept. 4, at the North Salt Lake Utah Stake Center. Elder Davies, a General Authority Seventy and former member of the Presiding Bishopric, died Tuesday, Aug. 31, at age 69.

President Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and his wife, Sister Wendy Nelson, arrive for the funeral for Elder Dean M. Davies in North Salt Lake, Utah, on Saturday, Sept. 4, 2021.
President Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and his wife, Sister Wendy Nelson, arrive for the funeral for Elder Dean M. Davies in North Salt Lake, Utah, on Saturday, Sept. 4, 2021. Credit: Spenser Heaps, Deseret News

President M. Russell Ballard, Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, and other members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, Presidency of the Seventy and Presiding Bishopric joined the First Presidency and Elder Davies’ family and friends to honor, remember and celebrate his life. Several other General Authority Seventies and general officers were also present. 

“Dear children and grandchildren and those yet to come,” President Nelson said, “as you face your future, you can depend upon the rock solid testimony of this great patriarch, this exemplary, noble and humble man: Elder Dean Myron Davies.”

President Oaks said the members of the First Presidency have a combined 100 years experience of working closely with and knowing Elder Davies.

“He was a man of great faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. He was a man of immense worldly wisdom and inspiring action that he brought to bear in his service to the Lord. … We commend his model, his example to his family, to his friends and to his associates, and testify of Jesus Christ, whom he served so valiantly and so thankfully,” President Oaks said.

President Eyring added: “He was a minister for the Savior in everything I ever saw him do. I bear you my testimony that I know the Lord loved Him and he loved the Lord. … He always did the hard things and he did them well.”

Presiding Bishop Gérald Caussé recalled meeting Elder Davies for the first time in 2002. Bishop Caussé was serving as a stake president and Elder Davies came on assignment from President Gordon B. Hinckley to locate a site for a temple in Paris, France. They had met with a mayor of Saint-Cloud, a city just outside of Paris, and were driving to their next appointment when Elder Davies asked Bishop Caussé to pull over. 

“And then I saw him bow his head,” Bishop Caussé said. “In the middle of traffic, with all the noise around us, in the most sacred way, he offered the most sincere and emotional prayer. I could hear him express his gratitude for the Lord, for His help in the meeting that had just ended. Elder Davies was this kind of a man. Never did he forget who he was serving. Never.” 

Read more: How Elder Davies and Elder Sikahema helped secure the Philadelphia Pennsylvania Temple site

Elder Davies is survived by his wife, Sister Darla Davies, five children and 17 grandchildren. The Davieses are the parents of a son and four daughters — Aaron Davies, Rebecca Larson, Jill Ottley, Sarah Davies and Jennifer Woodland — each of whom spoke during the funeral. 

Darla Davies, widow of Elder Dean M. Davies, second from left, receives an embrace after the funeral for Elder Davies in North Salt Lake, Utah, on Saturday, Sept. 4, 2021.
Darla Davies, widow of Elder Dean M. Davies, second from left, receives an embrace after the funeral for Elder Davies in North Salt Lake, Utah, on Saturday, Sept. 4, 2021. Credit: Spenser Heaps, Deseret News

Elder Patrick Kearon, senior president of the Seventy, read aloud a letter the First Presidency wrote to Sister Davies:

“Elder Davies’ life was a model of diligence and hard work. He demonstrated love for the Lord throughout his life as he spent time in selfless service to his family and to his fellow man. He leaves a great legacy of hard work, personal integrity and dedication to righteous living. His devotion as a husband, father, grandfather and stalwart servant of the Lord influenced the lives of loved ones and all with whom he came in contact. …

“We gratefully acknowledge your influence and loving support as you were by his side in many of his accomplishments. … Although there is no substitute for the love of a devoted companion, we pray that your knowledge of the gospel will bring you peace, and that you will receive the comforting influence of the Holy Spirit at this tender time of parting.” 

Aaron Davies reflected on memories of father/son campouts and home teaching with his father. “The beauty of his life well-lived is that the treasures he shared with all of us do not corrode with time but grow richer and deeper. … I love my father, and I know I will see him again. A treasure he gave me was a map to find him where he has gone,” he said.

Rebecca Larson said her father often prioritized family time in the form of Saturday outings to parks and lakes, holiday celebrations at home, playing board games and card games, watching movies, and uniting the family for vacations and reunions. 

“During the past few months as dad’s illness progressed, Dad and Mom and all five of their kids were able to spend significant family time together. Sometimes we played games or watched movies. Sometimes we shared meaningful conversations or sang favorite songs. And sometimes we just sat quietly together. What a treasure,” she said. 

Jennifer Woodland said, “Though Dad’s cancer journey was heart wrenching and devastating on so many levels, I will be forever grateful for the ways in which it served to enrich our relationship and deepen our love and appreciation for each other.” 

Jill Ottley recalled once asking her father, “Dad, how is that you are calm even when people, even when your children, tell you things that are hard to hear?”

He responded, “I found that many situations, even things that seem very terrible, are often resolved over time, or they simply aren’t that important after a year or two goes by.”

Sarah Davies shared memories of her father being there for her during challenging times. “Time and again, Dad showed up with love and support,” she said. 

Following the funeral, Elder Davies was buried at Bountiful City Cemetery.

Family members accompany the casket after the funeral for Elder Dean M. Davies at a meetinghouse in North Salt Lake, Utah, on Saturday, Sept. 4, 2021.
Family members accompany the casket after the funeral for Elder Dean M. Davies at a meetinghouse in North Salt Lake, Utah, on Saturday, Sept. 4, 2021. Credit: Spenser Heaps, Deseret News