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Elder David B. Haight Dies

Elder David B. Haight Dies

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Carole Mikita reporting/AP The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has lost another of its leaders. Elder David B. Haight passed away this morning, one month shy of his 98th birthday.

Elder Haight died at 4:15 a.m. of "causes incident to age," the church said.

He was the oldest member of the Church's Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, and he was the second member of the Quorum to die in the past 10 days.

Family, friends and those in the community remember Elder Haight as a leader in government and business, as a man with a charming sense of humor, and as one who never hesitated to share his faith.

Elder David B. Haight, October 2002: "I wish at this time to pay tribute and gratitutde to my Heavenly Father for the blessings I've received all the years of my life."

David Haight was born on September 2, 1906 in Oakley, Idaho. He lost his father when he was only nine years old.

He enjoyed sports and loved learning, finishing his education at Utah State University.

He married Ruby Olson in 1930. They have three children, 18 grandchildren and 78 great-grandchildren.

A noted California business and civic leader, he was mayor of Palo Alto from 1959 to 1963.

His son, Robert, spoke today of his father's influence.

"He was able to get and reach out to all these people, (who had) different beliefs, different faiths, different principles, and bring them together to build a city," Robert Haight said.

David Haight left those responsibilities to accept church assigments. He serve as president of an LDS church mission in Scotland, and was named to the Twelve in 1976 at age 69.

Elder David B. Haight, 1976: "The weight of this new calling and the responsibility to which you have just sustained me would be overwhelming were it not for my knowledge of the Savior."

He worked as an executive with the ZCMI department store in Salt Lake City and was the regional manager for Montgomery Ward and Company. He also served as a commander in the U.S. Navy during World War II.

A a member of the boards of trustees of Brigham Young University, BYU-Hawaii, BYU-Idaho and LDS Business College, Elder Haight also served as director of Bonneville International Corp., First Security Bank, Huntsman Chemical Corp. and Deseret Management Corp.

For years he oversaw the church's global missionary effort, and had long been a member of the church's Public Affairs Board, helping the church in its outreach to other faiths.

Elder Haight spoke last April at General Conference, reminding the audience that just a year before, after a serious illness, he had only been strong enough to wave to them.

Elder Haight, April 2004: "I've heard from some people who thought I was waving a farewell. But I've come here today to tell you that I'm back."

Today The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints First Presidency released a statement that reads in part: "We deeply regret the passing of our beloved friend and associate. He stirred the hearts of people across the earth with his declaration of faith and his testimony of the living reality of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Elder Haight recently attended the funeral of his friend and colleague, Elder Neal A. Maxwell. Despite his failing health, he wished to lend support and share his faith, just as he did many times to those within the sound of his voice.

Elder Haight, 2002: "God lives. He is our Father. I know that. I testify to you."

Just last weekend Elder Haight returned to his birthplace, Oakley, Idaho, for a final visit.

Funeral services are scheduled for Thursday at noon at the Salt Lake Tabernacle.

(The Associated Press contributed to this story)

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