President Hinckley passed away in his home last night at 97 due to causes incident with age. The details of his funeral have not been released yet. This is my opportunity however, to share a thought or two about this wonderful human being.
If there was anyone who was a great example of working hard and giving it all he had to the very end it was him. A friend told me not too long ago about a speech he heard him give to a group of BYU monetary contributors. He said, "My tank is running on empty, but I have the pedal pushed to the floor until the very end."
Thinking of his loss saddens me in a way. For the members of the church from my generation he was very much like David O. McKay to my parent's generation. He was in the First Presidency for 26 years, and literally was the only one healthy enough to attend general conference for many years. He was a man we were proud of as a church, who stood up and defended our church, and welcomed any and all questions from the outside media. During his time, our church's temples doubled in population, and he traveled more than any other leader throughout the world to be with the saints in far reaching places such as Zimbabwe, The Phillipines, and Hong Kong. To the 13 million church members who knew this wonderful human being, he was a friend to all.
I had the privilege of hearing him speak in person twice. First was a trip he made to Denver while in High School during my senior year. He taught us the importance and value of being great in all we do. He later would share the same talk to the entire church 4 years later in a CES fireside. The second time I heard him speak was at the University of Denver. It was the first time I had seen him in a secular situation. It was great because we were able to applaud him during his speech, something we don't do during church meetings. He was also interviewed by one of the deans at DU. He was a kind, funny, and sweet man.
All in all, I am happy for him. He was married to his wife for nearly 70 years when she passed away in 2004. I am sure the celebration must be sweet as he is reunited on the other side with family, friends, and other people he spent his life serving. For that alone, I am so excited.
That being said, I also look forward to Thomas S. Monson's opportunity to serve as President. He was a dear close friend of President Hinckley and will undoubtedly continue the legacy that was forged by previous Church Presidents.
Here's a great video I found on YouTube that is sure to bring tears to your eyes.
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