Elder Robert D. Hales, late member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, was described as a brother and friend during funeral services memorializing his life.
The memorial services were held Friday in the Tabernacle on Temple Square in Salt Lake City.
His brothers and associates in the Quorum of the Twelve used words like tender, humorous, insightful and wise, but mostly described Hales as an example to the world and witness of Christ.
In his invocation, Elder Neil L. Andersen said Hales, “lived a righteous life with devotion to God and Christ as a treasured witness. This is a holy time to say goodbye to a dear friend.”
President Henry B. Eyring, first counselor in the First Presidency, was a friend and associate of Hales for 70 years. He spoke of Hales’ loyalty and friendship.
“There are legions of dear friends across the world,” Eyring said. “One of his spiritual gifts was being a perfectly loyal friend.”
Eyring noted that Hales was a legend in the business world at age 42 when he was asked to leave his career and to serve the Lord, which he did.
But Hales also faced many earthly struggles with health concerns throughout his life.
“I was an eyewitness to his many brushes with death,” Eyring said. “He was playing golf and felt something was wrong. His friends encouraged him to go to the hospital but he said no — he wanted to make one long putt, which he did.”
Eyring continued that, at the hospital, things turned worse, but that he was with Hales when he opened his eyes.
“He looked at me and said ‘they made me come back,’” Eyring said, joking. “He retained no memory of that moment. I don’t know if he was briefly deceased or a dream, but he felt intense testing and was loyal to the command.”
Eyring continued, “He was loyal to his family and friends, to the Lord and the Lord’s prophet.”
Most recently, Hales was laboring over his talk for general conference, the effort was so great, his strength began to fail, Eyring added.
Each speaker recognized the extreme devotion and staying power that Mary Hales, Robert D. Hales’ wife, had through their years of service and health struggles.
“My prayer is that Bob and Mary’s example will lead us to be loyal disciples,” Eyring concluded.
Elder M. Russell Ballard spoke of his brother apostle and said he would miss his dear friend as they had served 40 years together.
“I will miss his quick wit and funny comments,” Ballard said. “He has always been a hero to me.”
Speaking of his professional life, Ballard noted Hales’ ability to take things apart, examine them and then build a solution for the problem.
“Living in the world of business, Bob was on the fast track to be CEO of a stock exchange corporation,” Ballard added. “He thrived on getting things done.”
Ballard noted that Hales had his first heart attack in August 1991.
President Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve added in his comments, “I know Bob’s heart — literally. I stood by him when he had open-heart surgery.”
Nelson said Hales was legendary. “How he could do it — he had grit and determination.”
He noted Hales had the courage of a pit bull and the tenacity of an athlete.
Nelson said of his friend, “He knew his Savior and preached of the atonement. He has returned home with highest honors.”
Hales will be interred at the Bountiful City Cemetery. A private family service was held at the cemetery.
Pallbearers included grandsons and nephews of Hales. Honorary pallbearers consisted of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.
During the funeral services, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir provided the musical numbers that included: “Each Life That Touches Ours for Good,” “Lead, Kindly Light,” “I Need Thee Every Hour,” and “God Be With You.”
Prayers were offered by Elders Neil L. Andersen and Ronald A. Rasband of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.