Elder Paul E. Koelliker, emeritus General Authority Seventy, dies at age 79

Elder Paul E. Koelliker served as a General Authority Seventy from 2005 to 2013 and as managing director of the Temple Department during President Hinckley’s temple-building era

Elder Paul E. Koelliker, who served as a General Authority Seventy from 2005 to 2013, died Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2022, in Salt Lake City. He was 79.

Elder Koelliker served as managing director of the Temple Department from 1997 to 2005 during a great temple-building period of the Church. 

Throughout those years, he assisted Church President Gordon B. Hinckley in the construction and dedication of 69 temples.

In a Church News article when was called as a general authority, Elder Koelliker shared his love for the temple and serving in the Temple Department. Each of the 69 temple dedications he attended was unique and specific for the area, and yet there was a powerful, uplifting spirit at each, he said.

Paul Edward Koelliker was born on March 12, 1943, in a military tent hospital in Pittsburg, California, where his father was stationed. As the oldest of five children of Edward Conrad and Lois Bernice Olson Koelliker, he learned about working hard and loving the Lord. 

In his first address in general conference, he paid tribute to the righteous example of his parents. “To my angel mother, I can only say thank you for keeping the chain of love and gospel ordinances strong in our lives.”

He served a full-time mission to Germany in 1964, when the Berlin Wall separated East Germany from West Berlin, what he called “a little bastion of freedom.”

Not only did his mission confirm the truths of the gospel but it also helped him further cherish the blessings of freedom. Elder Koelliker called the German Latter-day Saints “a sacred set of people.”

Paul E. Koelliker (Submission date: 04/02/2005) | The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

In an Ensign article, he said of his mission: “We met with people who had been thrust out of their homes. The meaning of family became evident to me as we taught families whose parents were on the other side of the Berlin Wall.”

He met his future wife, Freda Ann Neilson, in high school, but the two didn’t date until they were students at the University of Utah after Elder Koelliker’s mission. He and Ann married in the Salt Lake Temple on March 18, 1966. They are the parents of seven children and have 34 grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

“I am grateful for the covenant of marriage in the temple to a gracious eternal companion, whom I love and cherish,” Elder Koelliker said in his October 2005 conference address. “She continually sets an example of caring service to those who are in need.”

After gaining a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Utah, Elder Koelliker worked in several different Church departments. Besides his service as a general authority, he served in many ward and stake callings, including as a bishop, stake president and gospel doctrine teacher. 

In his 2005 conference address Elder Koelliker also expressed his love for his family and his happiness in knowing he was bound to them in the holy temple. “I express my love for the covenants and ordinances of the temple and commit to redouble my effort to participate in these holy houses of God. I know, as we make and keep sacred covenants, the Lord will bring us to His sacred presence,” he testified.

He is preceded in death by a son, David, in 2019, and two grandsons. He is survived by his wife, Ann; daughters Karri, Amy, Lisa and Jennifer; sons Ryan and Robert; 26 grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.

Funeral services will be held on Saturday, Dec. 17, at noon at the chapel located at 1400 S. 1900 East, Salt Lake City, Utah.

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