Elder E Ray Bateman, emeritus general authority, dies at age 85

Elder E Ray Bateman retained a deep love for the gospel and desired to share it with the world

Elder E Ray Bateman, an emeritus General Authority Seventy, died on Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2023, in Sandy, Utah. He was 85.

Elder Bateman was sustained a general authority in April 1998 general conference while serving as president of the California Carlsbad Mission from 1996 to 1998.

In a biographical article in the Church News at the time of his call, Elder Bateman shared his deep love for the gospel and his desire to share it with the world.

“Missionary work, if you have ever done it, is the greatest feeling in the world,” he told the Church News. “If you have not done it, you ought to.”

Elder Bateman spoke once in general conference. His topic focused on the responsibility of members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to gather Abraham’s seed and bring them unto Christ.

“Let us join in this great balanced effort for conversion, retention, and activation, to assist the Father and Son to turn those grains of sand into pearls in our Father’s kingdom,” he said in October 1998 general conference.

Elder E. Ray Bateman, a General Authority Seventy, speaks during general conference on Oct  3, 1998.
Elder E. Ray Bateman, a General Authority Seventy, speaks during general conference on Oct 3, 1998. | Paul Barker, Deseret News

A native of Sandy, Utah, E Ray Bateman was born Oct. 20, 1937, to Marlon Samuel and Mary Armstrong Bateman. His family had a half-acre garden, and young Elder Bateman and his three brothers were expected to take care of it. Together they weeded, irrigated and harvested the annual crop. Most of it went to neighbors.

He learned hard work and responsibility and to be an early riser — a trait, he said, which helped him at home, Church and work.

Another important lesson from his childhood was the realization that the gospel was important to him. He served a full-time mission to Toronto, then part of the Canadian Mission, from 1957 to 1959. Upon his return, he attended the University of Utah, where he studied general business.

While in college, he met Mira Dorene Odette from Monticello, Utah, who was not a member of the Church. Elder Bateman asked her if she would you like to know more about the Church. She said yes, both to the missionary discussions and later his marriage proposal.

They were sealed in the Salt Lake Temple July 25, 1963, and have five children and many grandchildren.

Instead of finishing his degree, Elder Bateman began a career at Bristol Myers Squibb Co., where he worked for 32 years. The myriad of positions he held took him and his family to California, New York, Colorado and Missouri. 

Through the years, he served in a variety of Church callings: bishop’s counselor, a bishop, a high councilor, Sunday School teacher, a stake mission president, a multi-region welfare agent, and a counselor in an inner-city branch presidency.

The variety of places and callings offered ample opportunities to do missionary work, he said. 

In July 1997 in the San Diego California Temple, the Batemans witnessed the marriage of their youngest daughter. “It was the first time in our lives that we’ve been in the temple with all five of our children and their spouses. … That was a great experience, a glimpse of heaven,” he said in an Ensign article.

Funeral arrangements are pending.

Correction: A previous version of this article misidentified Elder Bateman’s age. He died at age 85.

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