Sister Aileen H. Clyde, former member of the Relief Society general presidency, dies at 93

Sister Aileen H. Clyde, former member of the Relief Society general presidency, died Tuesday, Dec. 24, in Springville, Utah at the age of 93.

Sister Clyde and her late husband, Hal M. Clyde, had three sons and 11 grandchildren.

Born in Springville, Utah, on May 18, 1926, Sister Clyde lived in Utah nearly all of her 93 years and was well known in the community for her involvement with several nonprofit organizations and work regarding social justice and equality.

In addition to serving as second counselor in the Relief Society general presidency from 1990 to 1997 — with Sister Elaine L. Jack, president, and Chieko N. Okazaki, first counselor, — Sister Clyde served in various capacities in the Church, including as a member of the Young Women general board member. 

While working with the Utah Citizen’s Council on the group’s 2015 Assessment of Public Policy Progress, Sister Clyde told the Deseret News that the strength of Utah society is dependent on “fundamental fairness and equal opportunity for all of those in our increasingly diverse society and state.”

She continued: “We believe that meeting the challenges that face us in Utah requires joint action by governments, nonprofits, religious groups, families and individuals. While valuing our tradition of self-reliance, we must work together to solve intractable problems.”

Throughout her Church and civic service, Sister Clyde’s focus on fairness, equality and the importance of working together across societal borders was constant. 

Speaking in general conference during October 1995, Sister Clyde said, “Consider how the very powers of modern communications that promise to make of our world an interconnected network are the cause of much public worrying about our increasing isolation from one another. Even privately, in our wards and, yes, in our families too, we sometimes find ourselves, and often hear of others, feeling isolated or downright unloved because there is neither the time nor a sufficiently legitimate purpose to connect across the hall or across the street. It is that increasing vacuum of connecting, one to another or among our families or within our ward family, that calls us increasingly to participate in Relief Society.”

After graduating with honors from Brigham Young University, Sister Clyde taught English at the Church-owned school for 10 years. Later, in 2000, she was awarded an honorary doctor of humanities degree from Southern Utah University. She also worked for several years as a certified construction flag person, a position that she is said to have enjoyed because of the uproar the unconventional job caused among those who saw her while working.

In 2014, the Aileen H. Clyde 20th Century Women’s Legacy Archive at the University of Utah was established in Sister Clyde’s honor. The archive — which contains journals, letters, photographs, news clips and other materials — serves to document and preserve the history of women whose lives and work have helped to create social and cultural change. 

Sister Clyde was involved in various civic and public affairs in Utah over the years. She was a founding member of the Utah Women’s Forum and served as the chair for the Utah Task Force on Gender and Justice, and as a chair of the Coalition for Utah’s Future. Additionally, Sister Clyde served on the Board of Trustees of the University of Utah Hospitals and Clinics, as the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education, as well as 12 years on the Utah State Board of Regents.

The American Judicature Society awarded her the Herbert Harley distinction for the promotion of the effective administration of justice and she was also awarded the Amicus Curiae Award by the Utah Judicial Conference for uncommon commitment to the Judiciary’s goal of equal justice for all. 

Through her work, both in the Church and in the larger community, Sister Clyde was an example of such changes and often spoke about the importance of understanding the value of each person on this earth. 

The mortal life of every individual on the earth has eternal meaning, Sister Clyde taught during a general conference address in April 1995. “We are central in [God’s] great work,” she said. “He teaches that as we receive His light, we can reflect that light in the world.”