LDS faithful bid farewell to Elder Robert D. Hales

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SALT LAKE CITY – Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints paid tribute to Elder Robert D. Hales Friday. The beloved apostle passed away October 1 at the age of 85.

A service was held at the Salt Lake Tabernacle Friday morning. The Mormon Tabernacle Choir set the tone for the farewell for Elder Hales.

The apostle served the church wholeheartedly for four decades despite health challenges.

“Elder Hales' quick wit and sometimes very funny comments will be missed,” said Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.

Ballard worked with Hales for 40 years. He spoke about his friend “Bob’s” success as a businessman. But, more importantly, his ability to lead.

“He gives others the responsibility for solving their own problems, and the power to do what needs to be done," he said. "When the problem is solved, he gives them the credit. He thrives on helping to get things done, anonymously.”

Russell M. Nelson, President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, reflected on their special bond

“I know Bob's heart: Literally," the surgeon joked.

Nelson was at Elder Hales' side two decades ago when he underwent coronary bypass surgery. His tireless efforts to serve others was remarkable.

“Having since served closely with Bob for so long, I know that his spiritual heart is pure,” Nelson said.

President Henry B. Eyring, First Counselor to the First Presidency, admired Hales for being a loyal friend. He said when Hales was asked to leave his career to serve as a general authority, his loyalty to the Lord never wavered.

“He felt in a moment of intense testing that he was supposed to do something difficult, and he was loyal to the command he had received," Eyring said.

With the courage of a jet pilot and the tenacity of a champion athlete, President Nelson bid his friend farewell from this life.

“He's completed his life's mission in the most exemplary way," he sad. "He has passed the test of mortality and returned home with highest honors.”

Elder Hales was laid to rest at the Bountiful City Cemetery.