Elder Robert D. Hales died at 12:15 p.m. Sunday in the hospital at age 85 from causes incident to age. He was surrounded by his wife and family at the time of his passing.
Robert Dean Hales was born in New York City on August 24, 1932. He was a graduate of the University of Utah and held a master of business administration degree from Harvard. He also served in the U.S. Air Force as a jet fighter pilot. He married Mary Crandall, and they have two sons.
Elder Hales was sustained on April 2, 1994, to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and received his call as a general authority on April 4, 1975. As a general authority, he first served as an assistant to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and later as a member of the Quorum of the Seventy. He was Presiding Bishop of the Church from April 1985 until his call to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in 1994.
“He lived his testimony,” said President Henry B. Eyring, a member of the First Presidency. “He knew God. He knew the Savior, and he loved the Savior. … And he behaved as if God was close, Heavenly Father was close.”
The call of an apostle is to be “a special witness of Jesus Christ” in all the world. Elder Hales taught, “If we will have faith in our Savior, He will see us through our trials and tribulations, and we will be able to endure to the end and return to His presence after this mortal probation. He lives and knows and loves each one of us. He so much wants to bless us if we will come unto Him.
Prior to his call as a general authority, Elder Hales served as a regional representative for five years, overseeing several Church congregations. He also served as a branch president, bishop(three times), high councilor and stake president’s counselor, all lay positions with significant responsibilities. He was president of the England London Mission in the late 1970s and has served as first counselor in the Church’s Sunday School general presidency.
“Elder Hales is a builder of people,” President Eyring said. “He has been helping people quietly over many years. When he finds out that someone has a need, he does something about it.”
Before being called to full-time Church service, Elder Hales had a distinguished business career, serving in executive positions with three major companies. President Eyring described Elder Hales as a “phenomenal” businessman who was “sensitive” and loyal and possessed “an ability to read people.”
The Church will announce details regarding funeral arrangements as they become available. It is undetermined when the vacancy in the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles will be filled.
Condolences can be shared on the Elder Robert D. Hales Facebook page