Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin

Last night my sweet Granddad passed away. He was 91 and so ready to be reunited with my Grandma who died over two years ago. I've been trying to gather my thoughts and put into words how he has affected my life, but I don't know how to do it. We have so many fond memories of spending time at their home on holidays and after General Conference and of going to their cabin in Midway with all of the family. He'd always tell Olivia that she had a beautiful name, just like Olivia de Havilland, the actress. When I was in an Institute class (Teachings of the Living Prophets) at USU my instructor said that Elder Wirthlin's talks were always so much better in written form because he struggled with delivery and wasn't that good of a public speaker. If he had only known how much Granddad disliked that teleprompter. I agree though, that reading his talks always brought further insights and understanding. He then tried to teach us that he was married to Eliza Rogers--and while Eliza is a beautiful name, it wasn't hers. I raised my hand and told him it was "Elisa" and he tried to insist that it was Eliza... when I told him of my relation to her, it dawned on him that that made me Elder Wirthlin's granddaughter. He tried to backtrack and say that Elder Wirthlin was in fact a great speaker, and it was pretty comical. One comment this morning on ksl.com said that he must have died a happy man, because Utah had won their last football game against the Cougars. He was a Utah man through and through (his nickname was either "Speedy" or "Swifty" when he played there). When someone we love dies, it seems that life can't possibly go on without them, and my Granddad was certainly a strong force in our lives. He leaves behind a legacy of steadfastness, righteousness, and hard work. We love him and will miss him, but I can't help but feel extremely happy to know that he is with my Grandma again and is at peace. I feel so blessed that I am a part of his family and that I have had so many opportunities to be with him and learn from him. I know that I am a better person because of my relationship with him.

15 comments:

Valerie said...

I'm just a stranger who happened upon your blog today. I enjoyed reading the personal things about Elder Wirthlin. I'm sorry that we won't get to hear more talks from him, but I'm so glad that he is with his wife ELISA. (I happen to love that name so much that I named my first daughter Elisa.) It must be so difficult to write about his passing so soon, but thank you for doing it. You have a beautiful family!

Sally said...

I emailed you before I knew you had posted, but I so liked everything you said about him. He seemed so merry. :) Did your mom adapt your name from Elisa? Just curious.

Jenny said...

I was thinking about you and your family today. I am sorry to hear about your loss but your mom always told us how much he missed your grandma so I'm glad they are together again now. We love you guys.

Bobette said...

Lisa, I am so sorry about your grandpa! I thought of you as soon as I heard that he had passed away. I hope your family is doing okay and please know that our prayers are for you and your family! I loved him! I loved his last talk in General Conference and I often think of his quote "come what may and love it". Love ya!

Linn said...

Lisa, I am thought about you all day. I wanted to write and say how sorry I am, but wanted to wait until you posted about him. You cannot imagine the impact he had on my life. Please know you and your family are in our thoughts and prayers. Love, Linn

Momma Fidler said...

I was happy and sad to hear about your granddad. I don't know if you knew it or not but he married Alan and I over 30 yrs ago so he holds a special place in my heart. All of our love to you and your family-Aunt Dianne

Cheri said...

Hi Lisa,
I read this morning first thing about your granddad and texted brooke and hayley right away(they were in seminary). We all send our love to you and everyone there. We know he is so happy to be with your grandma and others though. Our bishop just gave a combined lesson last Sunday and made a few references to him and his wonderful talk and humor last conference. He is truely a great man an a wonderful example to all of us. I think of his last talk often when I get too caught up in things and forget to laugh:)We love you guys tons and hope all goes well this week especially. Love John, Cheri, Brooke, Hayley, and McKenzie

Amanda D said...

I'm sure that you have read all the wonderful tributes to your grandfather that are on various blogs. He was a wonderful man. Prays to your family at this time.

Mary said...

Hi Lisa - I am sorry for your loss. He was such a great man. I really enjoyed his last conference talk. I am sure there was a great reunion with your Grandma. Know that your family is in our thoughts and prayers.

Mary, Brandon, Dillon and Daniel

Nicole said...

I didn't know that Elder Wirthlin was your grandpa. I am sorry for you loss. I lost my grandma a few months ago, and even though you know they are happy were they have gone, saying good bye is always so hard. I will be thinking of you.

sara said...

I felt exactly the same way about your grandad's talks. They were always much more powerful to me when I read them. It was like I was reading things I didn't hear when I watched him speak. My thoughts and prayers are with all of your family.

When you see Elisa on Friday ask her how she found out. I couldn't help but chuckle.

Victoria said...

We were so sad to hear about Grandpa Wirthlin. I enjoyed reading snippets of your memories. Wish we could be there tommorrow. Let us know if ya'll need anything.

♥Shally said...

He truly was (and is) a great man!

Kristy said...

What an amazing man and what a legacy he will leave behind! It is hard to let go of our close loved ones and leaders.But so much happiness on the other side.Take care.

Rebecca said...

I love what you wrote! (hugs.)