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Sister Patricia Terry Holland Passes Away

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Patricia Terry Holland, the wife of Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and a former counselor in the Young Women General Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, passed away peacefully on July 20, 2023, after a brief hospitalization. She was 81.

Click here to learn how to watch her funeral broadcast.

Sister Patricia Terry Holland and Elder Jeffrey R. Holland

Patricia (Pat) Terry was born February 16, 1942, and grew up on a farm in Enterprise, a small pioneer-founded community in southern Utah. Pat is the daughter of Maeser and Marilla Terry.

“I came from a community of faith where the entire community believed and taught it. I couldn’t get away with anything,” she recalled.

Pat milked and herded cows, drove farm trucks and skipped school in the fall for the potato harvest. “I was quite a tomboy.”

She also grew up hearing of the strong convictions and faith of her pioneer ancestors, which influenced her throughout her life.

“I learned everything that I have with the gospel from my mother at my mother’s knee,” she said. “She loved to study, and she loved to read, and she studied gospel things, and she would impart that to her children and to me particularly. I was the only girl with five boys for a good part of my life. I had a little sister born when I was 16.”

At the beginning of her high school years, her family moved into the nearby community of St. George, Utah, and as a self-described shy and less-than-confident newcomer to Dixie High, she quickly extended her charitable demeanor and made many new friends. One of those friends was “the handsomest boy in the school,” Jeffrey Holland, whom she dated, wrote during his mission to England and eventually married on June 7, 1963, in the St. George Utah Temple following a five-year courtship. She and Jeffrey have three children, Matthew, Mary Alice and David, and thirteen grandchildren.

Pat attended LDS Business College (renamed Ensign College) in Salt Lake City and graduated from Dixie College (now known as Utah Tech University) in St. George, Utah. She was trained by instructors from Julliard in New York City as a piano and voice student. She supported Jeffrey as he earned advanced degrees at Brigham Young University and Yale University and worked for the Church Educational System.

“She literally put me through school while she continued to go and had walked away from a musical career to come home and marry me,” Elder Holland said. “I can’t overstate the incredible gift that a companion can give to another.”

The Holland children were raised in the stretched financial circumstances of graduate school, moving frequently to accommodate Elder Holland’s new employment. Eventually they were in the public eye as Elder Holland was called to be the president of Brigham Young University in 1980.

“She was a mother to that whole campus,” said Elder Holland. “We wanted to be parents of that campus.”

Pat worked diligently to keep the children in as normal circumstances as possible. She once said, “Though they were raised in unique circumstances, I didn’t want them to think of themselves as unique.”

Pat will be remembered for her commitment to faith and service and for her love of family. Her son Matt, now a General Authority Seventy, said the family dinner table conversations are among his fondest childhood memories. “Every night was a kind of family home evening filled with laughter, compliments, encouragement, interesting conversation, testimony and expressions of love,” he said.

Pat dedicated her life to service in the Church, serving four different times as a Relief Society president and working in the Primary and Young Women organizations. In 1984, with many responsibilities as the wife of a university president, she was called as a counselor to Ardeth Kapp in the Young Women’s General Presidency. Throughout, she found time to be still and draw close to God through prayer.

Pat’s cumulative years of service in the Church focused on women of all ages, reminding them of their significant contributions and responsibilities in their various roles. In one public address, she said, “If your role or assignment is a supportive one — and many of us will often have that role — we must study and prepare ourselves enough to clearly state to the world that we are not apologizing for strengthening the home, but are rather pursuing our highest priorities, personally, socially and theologically. We will be noticed. We should be a light on a hill … to clearly teach the truth about our priorities and privileges as women in the Church.”

In addition to her lifetime of Church service, Pat is the author of several books, including the award-winning title, “A Quiet Heart, and Strength and Stillness: A Message for Women.” She also co-authored, with her husband, “On Earth As It Is In Heaven and To Mothers: Carrying the Torch of Faith and Family.”

On another occasion, Elder Holland said “her faith has always been as pure and powerful and strong as any person I have ever known. She’s a very charitable person. She has given and given and given of her time and of her love all of her life.”

Pat’s faith in Jesus Christ blessed the entire Church. At a worldwide devotional for young adults earlier this year — broadcast from her native St. George, Utah — she offered young adults a simple approach to the religious life: “Please have faith in God, hope that He will help you, and receive the charity that enables Him to work through you to accomplish what only you can do.”

“You can’t get these blessings by chasing them,” she concluded. “Please stop running to the point of exhaustion. Be quiet. Be still. Simplify. Be meek and lowly of heart and pray. I testify that miracles will come when we slow down, when we calm down and when we kneel down. All that the Father has can one day be yours. What a truly hopeful way to face your future.”

Funeral arrangements are pending.

Update: The church has announced funeral arrangements. Read about it here.

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