Grampa Bill's General Authority Pages
Jacob de Jager Jacob de Jager

1923 - 2004
  • Born 1923 The Hague, Netherlands
  • Married Bea Lim; Two children
  • Branch President, Regional Representative
  • First Quorum of Seventy 1976-1993
  • Named Emeritus General Authority 1993
  • Died 2004 Salt Lake City, Utah

    Intently and earnestly, Brother de Jager quoted the thought that he called “my Liahona”: “I shall pass through this world but once. Any good, therefore, that I can do or any kindness that I can show to any human being, let me do it now. Let me not neglect it for I shall not pass this way again.” He smiled, a joyous smile, “That is strongly written in me.”

    Born in The Hague, he was the first man of his nation called to be a General Authority. He served with love and kindness as counselor in the elders quorum presidency in Toronto; as Sunday School superintendent in Mexico City; as branch president in Nijmegen, the Netherlands; as a counselor in the presidency of the Netherlands Mission; and as Regional Representative to the Netherlands, Spain, and France. Remarkably international in his background and experience, his fluency in four languages he called a “gift,” but he developed it with hard study during almost two years of hiding from labor conscription during World War II.

    About that last assignment, he quoted Alma 29:8, “The Lord doth grant unto all nations, of their own nation and tongue, to teach his word, yea, in wisdom, all that he seeth fit that they should have,” then added his personal testimony: “I studied that scripture and prayed about it and I know why I was called to be a Regional Representative.” He tells of meeting with the small priesthood class in Barcelona and telling those new members: “You are now in the school of the prophets and I am their messenger.”

    Elder de Jager described his family as “international”—a modest understatement. In Indonesia, “10,000 miles from home,” he met and married his wife, Bea Lim, who was Dutch-Chinese. Their son Robert Michael was born in Java and was the first missionary called to the new Djakarta Indonesia Mission in June 1975. Their daughter Audrey Inez was born in Toronto.

    “My wife,” he said emphatically on the occasion of his call to The First Quorum of Seventy, “gives me 100 percent support. We haven’t had a vacation as a family in ten years but our compensation was that the children had opportunities to meet such wonderful people in the Church and that we were always united through our prayers.”

    In his patriarchal blessing, given in Mesa, Arizona, while they were living in Mexico, “the Lord revealed to me that my wife had been given to me as a companion to be helpful in building the kingdom and that I had known her and loved her in the preexistence.” His eyes crinkled, “And it’s very unusual to have that in writing.”

    He had unstinting praise also for his former company, Philips Electronics. (He was sales vice-president of a large incandescent lamp factory.) Because of it, he has traveled all over the world with opportunities on every continent for missionary work. When conference assignments ate up his vacation time, they granted him a few more days here and there—“thirty days of paid vacation in 1975,” he marveled. They telephoned “full understanding, great admiration, and congratulations” when he telegraphed his resignation Saturday afternoon.

    He left, his long stride devouring the distance to his next appointment, leaving behind a firm handshake, a warm smile, and a great exit line: “See you in church!”

    Elder de Jager served in the First Quorum of the Seventy for over seventeen years before being granted emeritus status on October 2, 1993.

   He was known to his associates among the Brethren as "the happy Dutchman," a description he applied to himself in April 1976 in his first general conference address. Now, Elder Jacob de Jager, emeritus General Authority since October 1993, is spreading the glad news of the gospel in the hereafter, an assurance affirmed by speakers at his funeral in Salt Lake City March 1, 2004.

   Elder de Jager, 81, died at home Wednesday, Feb. 25, 2004, after a full life that included tireless service as a regional representative, then as a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy, and, after receiving emeritus status, bishop of the Canyon Road Ward in Salt Lake City.

   Presidents Thomas S. Monson and James E. Faust, first and second counselors in the First Presidency, were speakers at the funeral, as was President Boyd K. Packer, acting president of the Quorum of the Twelve, and Elder Charles Didier of the Presidency of the Seventy. Audrey de Jager Poulson, daughter, delivered a eulogy.

   "I've never met a person who said a bad word about Jacob de Jager," President Monson said. "It didn't matter what the subject, every time you asked about Jacob de Jager, you got a smile."

   "News of the Church: Elder Jacob de Jager of the First Quorum of the Seventy," The Ensign, May 1976
   "Tireless service: Church leaders eulogize Elder de Jager, international General Authority," Church News Archives March 6, 2004
   2005 Church Almanac, pp. 18, 81

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