Grampa Bill's General Authority Pages
J. Thomas Fyans J. Thomas Fyans

1918 - 2008

  • Born 1918, Moreland, Idaho
  • Baptized as a child; Aaronic Priesthood as a youth; Melchizedek Priesthood as a young man
  • Missionary to Spanish American Mission 1940-1943
  • Married Helen Cook 1943, Salt Lake Temple; five daughters
  • Bishop, Counselor to Stake President, Regional Representative
  • President of Uruguay Mission 1960-1964
  • Regional Representative of the Twelve 1967-1974
  • Assistant to the Twelve 1974-1976
  • First Quorum of Seventy 1976-1989
  • Granted Emeritus Status 1989
  • President of the St. George Utah Temple 1992-1995
  • Died 2008 at his home in Salt Lake City, Utah

    Elder J. Thomas Fyans of the First Quorum of the Seventy was born May 17, 1918, in Moreland, Idaho, Joseph and Mae Farnsworth Fyans. From 1940 to 1943, he was a missionary in the Spanish American Mission.On May 28, 1943, he married Helen Cook in the Salt Lake Temple. Their home was blessed with five daughters.

    then in 1947 he served as bishop of the Butler Ward. Later, he served for ten years as first counselor in the East Jordan Stake presidency.

    He was called as President of the Uruguay Mission from 1960 to 1964, where he saw the mission membership increase from 3,000 to 10,000 members. When he returned to the States, he served as a member of the Church Missionary Department until October 1967, when he was called as one of the first Regional Representatives of the Twelve.

    In March of 1972, it was announced that Elder Fyans, then a Regional Representative of the Council of the Twelve, was appointed to the newly created position of director of internal communications for the Church. Elder Fyans’ broad assignment, under the guidance of the First Presidency, was to direct the planning, preparation, translating, printing, and distribution of all communications, instructional materials, and periodicals prepared for Church members. He had the additional responsibility of insuring that all communications materials under his supervision were correlated, that they were of high quality, and that they reflected Church policy, doctrine, and standards.

    He was called to the First Quorum of the Seventy and named to the Presidency thereof on October 6, 1976.

    On October 6, 1985 President Gordon B. Hinckley, then Second Counselor in the first Presidency announced that Elder Fyans had been released as the Senior President of the Seventy and had been called to go to Buenos Aires, Argentina, to serve as Area President of the South America South Area of the Church. President Hinckley commented that, "we have no more faithful or competent man in the Church. He remained as a member of the quorum.

    Then in the October 1989 Semi-annual General Conference, Elder Fyans was granted Emeritus Status from the First Quorum of the Seventy, "in consideration of factors of age and health."

    Elder Fyans’ business and civic activities were as impressive as those for his church. For 20 years he was a department executive for Zion’s Cooperative Mercantile Institution, a large department store chain in Utah. He has been on the board of directors of three corporations and is a past president of the Salt Lake Junior Chamber of Commerce and past national chairman of the Jaycee Speakers Committee. In 1952 he was selected as the outstanding young man in Salt Lake City and the following year as one of the three outstanding young men in Utah.

    Elder Fyans might have been aged and his health might have been guarded, but the Lord wasn't ready to put him out to pasture just yet. In 1992, he and Sister Fyans were called to serve as President and Matron of the St. George Utah Temple. They served the standard three year term for Temple Presidents, being released in 1995.

    Elder J. Thomas Fyans, an emeritus LDS general authority and former ZCMI executive, passed away Sunday May 18, 2008 in the evening at his home after celebrating his 90th birthday with family members on Saturday. The cause of death was incident to age, according to a statement from the LDS Church.

    Elder Fyans' widow, Helen Cook Fyans died peacefully May 11, 2010 surrounded by her daughters.

    “Policies, Procedures, People,” Ensign, March 1972, p.77
    “News of the Church,” Ensign, May 1974, p.122
    Lowell M. Durham Jr., “The New Brethren,” New Era, June 1974, p.7
    “The Sustaining of Church Officers,” Ensign, November, 1985, p.71
    “Report of the 155th Semiannual General Conference,” Ensign, Nov. 1985
    “Report of the 159th Semiannual General Conference,” Ensign, Nov. 1989
    1999-2000 Church Almanac, p.70
    "Retired LDS Church leader, ZCMI executive dies." Dereret Morning News, May 19, 2008

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