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