BOUNTIFUL — Elder Glenn L. Pace, a former counselor in the LDS Church’s Presiding Bishopric and emeritus general authority, passed away early Tuesday morning in Bountiful at the age of 77.
Combining his time in the Presiding Bishopric and the First Quorum of the Seventy, he gave 35 years of service as a general authority of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Elder Pace had battled serious heart problems for a decade and half.
"Fourteen years ago, he had major bypass surgery and wasn't expected to come out of it," recalled Rikki Riggs, one of his daughters.
He had been hospitalized again with ongoing heart problems through the past weekend, speaking very little while under medical care, Riggs said.
He made one last return home Sunday afternoon, and by the evening, he was engaged with his wife, six children, their spouses and his 35 grandchildren in what would be a meaningful and memorable final family exchange.
"He was making us all laugh — there were funny moments, tender moments," Riggs said. "He spoke individually with each family member and each grandchild, sharing a testimony or a thought. That was indicative of how his ministry went — he wanted to minister to the rank and file of the church."
Besides taking a little time with each one surrounding him in the living room, Elder Pace also gave a charge to the family collectively.
"He challenged all of us to look for the person who is hurting and to love them," Riggs said, adding that he said "we need more spontaneous compassion and charity."
In April 1985, Elder Pace was called as second counselor to then-Presiding Bishop Robert D. Hales. In a general conference message following his new call, he spoke of how he had never before been a bishop — and what happened when he was set apart by President Gordon B. Hinckley, then a counselor in the church's First Presidency.
"Since Friday afternoon I have felt puzzled, almost bewildered and overwhelmed, at how a man could be called to be a member of the Presiding Bishopric without having had the experience of being a bishop," he said then. "I agonized for 24 hours until yesterday afternoon, when President Hinckley laid his hands upon my head and ordained me a bishop. I heard the voice of the Lord say in my heart, 'No, Glenn, you have never been a bishop, but now you are a bishop, and always will be.'"
He served in that Presiding Bishopric position until his call as a Seventy in 1992. During his tenure as a General Authority Seventy, he was the first president of the Australia Sydney North Mission beginning in 1992, he served in the church’s Sunday School general presidency from 1997 to 1999, and was second counselor in the Young Men’s general presidency form 2001 to 2004.
In October 2010, he was released and given emeritus status.
Glenn LeRoy Pace was born March 21, 1940, in Provo, the son of Kenneth LeRoy and Elizabeth A. Wilde Pace. He served as an LDS missionary in the New England States Mission from 1960 to 1962. He married Jolene Clayson; they are the parents of six children — four sons and two daughters.
He received bachelor’s and master’s degrees in accounting from Brigham Young University and worked as an accountant for several large firms and as chief financial officer for a land development company. He later was managing director for the church’s Welfare Department for nearly a decade prior to his call to LDS Church leadership.
Elder Pace, who died two days after Mothers Day, paid tribute to his mother in one of his final public address as a General Authority Seventy.
"Of course, the first woman in my life was my mother. How can I describe the impact of my mother’s love?" he asked.
"A lullaby, being tucked in bed, are you warm enough, a kiss goodnight, Glenn, you’d better get up, you don’t want to be late for school, a kiss good morning, you are such a special boy, oh honey, how I love you, I made some chocolate chip cookies, I want to take your picture, I’m so proud of you, I know you can do it, are you going to go on a mission, you are going to go on a mission, I miss you so much, frequent love notes, let’s go look at the roses, did you see the full moon, aren’t the mountains beautiful today, the love in her eyes, her touch, her smell, her elegance, her tender heart, her sensitivity, her femininity.
"That was just a blink in a lifetime of nurturing."
Funeral services will be Saturday at 12:30 p.m. at the Bountiful 13th Ward meetinghouse, 1356 N. 650 East, Bountiful. Viewings will be at the same building from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday and the day of the funeral from 11 a.m. to noon.