Eldred G. Smith

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Eldred G. Smith was the final Patriarch to the Church of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He served in that capacity from April 10, 1947, until he was granted emeritus status on October 6, 1979. His primary responsibility was to travel to areas of the world where there were no ordained patriarchs to bestow patriarchal blessings. He also spoke at General Conference. After his release, he remained an ordained patriarch and was permitted to give patriarchal blessings. Afterward, no other man filled the responsibility of Patriarch to the Church, “because of the large increase in the number of stake patriarchs and the availability of patriarchal service throughout the world.”[1]  As a descendant of Hyrum Smith, he inherited several artifacts that he displayed at firesides and other occasions.

Smith was born on January 9, 1907, in Lehi, Utah. His father, Hyrum Gibbs Smith served as Patriarch to the Church from 1912 to 1932. When his father died, Eldred was only 25-years-old and believed that he was not ready to serve. Church president Heber J. Grant therefore left the position vacant (three men served as Acting Patriarch) until he appointed Joseph Fielding Smith in 1942.

From 1926 to 1929, Smith served as a full-time Missionary in the Swiss-German Mission. He earned a degree from the University of Utah and worked as an engineer. He registered several patents. From 1944 to 1946, he lived in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, while working on the Manhattan Project.

Smith married Jeanne Audrey Ness in 1932 and they were the parents of five children. After her death in 1977, he married Hortense Child.

Smith lived to be 106 years old and died on April 4, 2013. He was the longest-serving general authority.