SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) — Kathleen Johnson Eyring, wife of President Henry B. Eyring, Second Counselor in the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, passed away peacefully this morning, Oct. 15.
Kathleen, 82, passed away surrounded by her family in Bountiful, according to the Church.
Kathleen was reportedly born in San Francisco, California, on May 11, 1941. She is remembered by family and friends as an outgoing and fun-loving woman who excelled in sports and academics. After high school, Kathleen reportedly attended the University of California at Berkeley.
In 1961, while attending summer school in Boston, Kathleen reportedly attended a devotional where a young Harvard student, President Eyring, noticed her. He said he was “immediately impressed” by her goodness and recalled thinking, “If I could only be with her, I could be every good thing I ever wanted to be,” according to the Church.
They reportedly met one week later, began dating, and got married on July 19, 1962 in the Logan Utah Temple.
In 1977, President Eyring was named deputy commissioner of Church Education, so the Eyrings moved to Utah. Together they had six children, according to the Church.
The Church said Kathleen’s primary efforts were supporting and offering counsel to her husband and focusing on motherhood, a role her family said she was completely devoted to. She reportedly viewed it as her most important responsibility.
Kathleen’s son, Henry J. Eyring, said she was extraordinarily talented and ambitious. He said her overriding concern “has always been to serve our Heavenly Father and His children,” according to the Church.
Kathleen served in multiple capacities in the Church, including teaching lessons, visiting teaching, and producing a newsletter for her congregation. According to her son, Matthew J. Eyring, her most important service was “quiet compassion for those who had experienced difficulty and sadness in their lives. She would always seek out ‘the one’ without fanfare and help that person feel her love and the love of the Savior,” the Church stated.
Kathleen was reportedly a gifted writer — she offered editorial counsel to President Eyring throughout his career and Church service, as well as recorded family memories, wrote scripts for family events, and helped co-publish a monthly family newsletter. Additionally, she wrote a young adult novel and won a statewide prize for young adult literature in 1979, according to the Church.
Kathleen’s memory reportedly began to fade in the early 2000s, and President Eyring cared for her — often bringing her to his office to read and rest while he was in meetings.
The family said her faded memory was a challenge, but said her “loving spirit grew sweeter and a greater connection with the divine became apparent as she grew older and the memory loss progressed,” according to the Church.
“Kathleen has always been a person that made me want to be the very best that I can be,” President Eyring said.
Funeral arrangements are pending.