Kathleen Johnson Eyring

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photo by Gerry Avant

Kathleen Johnson Eyring was the wife of Henry B. Eyring. She was born in San Francisco, California, on May 11, 1941, and reared in the Bay area. She attended Castilleja School, an all-girls' prep school in Palo Alto. She was the assistant editor of the yearbook, captain of her school’s tennis team, and served as student body president one year. She received her bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of California, Berkeley. She also attended the University of Vienna and the Sorbonne in Paris where she learned to speak German and French, respectively.

She attended summer school at Harvard the summer before her senior year and met Henry Eyring. He courted her through the summer and then by mail and phone when she returned to school at Berkeley in California. They were married on July 19, 1962, in the Logan Utah Temple and are the parents of six children, four sons and two daughters.

Kathleen served as a Primary president, stake Relief Society board member, counselor to a stake Relief Society presidency, as nursery coordinator, served on their ward activities committee and as a Relief Society teacher.

She wrote a novel, “Who Wants to Be a Nobody,” that won the first prize for a juvenile book in the Utah Arts Council’s 1983 creative writing competition.

In a November 2018 Deseret News article about President Eyring’s art, her declining health was mentioned. “His wife has lost much of her memory, and President Henry B. Eyring's effort to capture his memories with her makes a surprising new exhibit of his water colors especially poignant.” He said much of his watercolors are tied to a memory with his wife.[1]

For example, the couple once took a trip to Washington, D.C., but stopped in the Bahamas on the way when they realized the cost of their flight would be the same. Sister Eyring suggested they go sailing, and he balked because they didn't have a boat. She said they could rent one.
”It was only because of her enthusiasm that we went out," he said. "To this day I can't forget looking down out of that catamaran with her sailing in the Bahamas on the way to the White House because she said, 'We can do it, we've got time.' She was always that way. You're hoping that's what these can remind you, not just the wonderful times but the way she was, always into it and all the way in."
He said that as his memories with her are obviously in the past, his desire is to capture in his paintings what their life together was and look ahead with hope to the afterlife together.
”Now I don't know if there will be boats over there, don't get me wrong," he said, laughing, "but it's in the hope that if you really believe in sealings and if you really believe in the afterlife" he can relive these feelings with her again.[2]

Sister Eyring passed away peacefully on Sunday, October 15, 2023, surrounded by her family in Bountiful, Utah. She was 82.

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