Aileen Clyde, a Springville native who served in the general presidency of the Relief Society of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints between 1990 and 1997, died on Tuesday at age 93, according to Wheeler Mortuary of Springville.
The former Latter-day Saint leader received widespread recognition and praise for her message of philanthropy and advocacy of women in the church and in Utah. The University of Utah named the Aileen H. Clyde 20th Century Women’s Legacy Archive after her, which aims to “collect and preserve life history interviews of women who represent social and cultural change,” according to the archive’s website.
Sharlee Mullins Glenn, a former adjunct faculty at Brigham Young University and founder of Mormon Women for Ethical Government, remembers meeting Clyde for the first time about three years ago. She described the woman she looked up to as a young mother as being bright, compassionate and having a sharp sense of humor.
“She was just delightful,” Glenn said.
At the organization’s conference at BYU in 2018, Mormon Women for Ethical Government honored Clyde as the year’s “Woman of Valor” for her contributions to the community and social justice efforts.
“She probably did as much for women in Utah as anyone who has lived in the past several decades,” said Glenn.
During a 1994 General Conference talk, Clyde spoke about the roles that charity and service play in being a woman in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
“The Relief Society organization offers women opportunities that can augment their personal endeavors to develop and exercise charity,” Clyde said. “Through our cooperative efforts, Relief Society members can help one another feel supported and loved, particularly in times of need and crisis.”
In addition to serving in the Relief Society, Clyde chaired the Utah Task Force on Gender and Justice, her biography on the Aileen H. Clyde 20th Century Women’s Legacy Archive website states. Additionally, she spent 12 years on the Utah State Board of Regents and chaired Envision Utah’s Coalition for Utah’s Future.
Kathleen Flake, a professor of Mormon studies at the University of Virginia who knew Clyde personally, said Clyde was a powerful figure who served as a role model for women of the Latter-day Saints faith.
“She was a bridge between her generation and the three generations that followed,” Flake said.
Up until the moment she passed, Clyde would read newspapers, keep up on current events and engage “in the happenings of the world,” said Glenn, adding that Clyde was always excited to see women of her faith “stepping up.”
“We certainly owe her tremendous appreciation and gratitude,” Glenn said.