Joanne Wells Tingey, 88, wife of Elder Earl C. Tingey, remembered for many talents that blessed her family and the Church

Joanne Wells Tingey, 88, wife of emeritus General Authority Seventy Elder Earl C. Tingey, died April 16, 2022, in Bountiful, Utah.

A gifted teacher, Sister Tingey used her various talents and interests to bless those around her, especially her family and those she came in contact with throughout her service in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 

Joanne Wells was born on Dec. 18, 1933, and grew up on a farm in Logandale, Nevada, in the Moapa Valley, about 50 miles north of Las Vegas. Her parents, Edwin Gordon and Amy Earl Wells, were descendants of the hardy early pioneers who settled the dry, desolate valley. 

In a Church News article published at the time her husband was called as a general authority, Sister Tingey recalled the total dedication of her parents to the Lord and the Church.

“My father and mother held family home evenings long before the program was called that. I remember gathering together regularly to talk about the gospel and other things. It was a good place to grow up,” she said.

Elder Earl C. Tingey of the Presidency of the Seventy and his wife, Sister Joanne Wells, prior to speaking at the Church Educational System fireside in the Marriott Center Sunday Jan. 13, 2004. Photo by Brea Runyan
Elder Earl C. Tingey of the Presidency of the Seventy and his wife, Sister Joanne Wells, prior to speaking at the Church Educational System fireside in the Marriott Center Sunday Jan. 13, 2004. Photo by Brea Runyan Credit: Brea Runyan

Following in the footstep of her mother, who was a schoolteacher, Sister Tingey earned an education degree at Brigham Young University and taught elementary school in Provo, Utah, for several years before she met Earl Tingey through her cousin. After a year-long courtship, the two were married June 17, 1960, in the St. George Utah Temple.

After Elder Tingey’s graduation from the University of Utah with a juris doctor degree, the two spent many years on the East Coast. During their time there, Elder Tingey was called to be bishop of the Manhattan Ward in the heart of New York City and eventually earned an advanced legal degree in corporate law from New York University.

In the 1970s, she and her husband moved their four children — all under the age of 12 — 10,000 miles to Sydney, Australia, where they served as leaders of the mission there. 

Eventually they settled their family in Bountiful, Utah, where Sister Tingey provided leadership to the Bountiful Community Theater, Main Street Alliance and owned and managed her own small business.

Her love for color was reflected in her clothes, decor and in the vibrant maze of flowers in her backyard that served as the backdrop for many family and ward activities.

In an article published in the Ensign magazine, Elder Tingey described his wife as “extremely insightful,” whose counsel he respected. She was a strong mother, he said, whose life reflected strong Church service.

Besides faithfully fulfilling many callings within the Primary, Young Women, Relief Society and Sunday School, she supported her husband as he served for 17 years in full-time Church service, including his 12 years in the Presidency of the Seventy.

During that time she traveled to more than 25 countries where she ministered and taught alongside her husband.

Following Elder Tingey’s release from the Presidency of the Seventy in 2008, the two served as the president and matron of the Washington D.C. Temple, which her obituary called “her crowning experience as a teacher.”

She is survived by her husband, Earl C. TIngey; four children — Tricia (Jean-Eddy), William Earl (Lela), Julia (Blair) and Alan Wells (Kerry); 26 grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren; and her brother Samuel Wells.