This biographical sketch is adapted from "News of
the Church: Elder Duane B. Gerrard of the Seventy" in the Ensign,
May 1997 on the occasion of Elder Gerrard's call to the Second Quorum of
Elder Duane B. Gerrard, who retired on 1 April 1997
as a pilot has been called to serve in the Second Quorum of the Seventy.
He is a former system manager of flight safety for Delta Airlines.
Born on 22 April 1938, Elder Gerrard grew up in Taylorsville,
near Salt Lake City, and attended Utah State University. During his junior
year he married his childhood sweetheart, Kay Bennion. After graduation
Brother Gerrard joined the Air Force, where he trained as a pilot. One
of his tours of duty was to Vietnam, where he flew 350 combat hours. His
service with the Air Force also took him to Florida, Oklahoma, Hawaii,
and finally back to Hill Air Force Base in Utah.
Upon leaving the Air Force, he began flying for Western
Airlines, which eventually merged with Delta. While living in Kaysville,
Utah, he was called to serve as stake president. Two years after that call,
Western Airlines asked him to take over as vice president of flight operations
in Los Angeles, and he commuted to southern California for two and one-half
years, helping to put the airline on a solid footing while serving as stake
During this time he and his wife, Kay, raised their
own four children and became foster parents to four other children whose
parents, good friends of theirs, had died. “I had just designed and built
a home with seven bedrooms,” he explains. “At the time we had only four
children. But we had room for four more.”
The decision to take in four more children was made
prayerfully, a pattern Elder Gerrard learned to apply early in his life.
When he was 19, his father walked him to the car one night as Duane prepared
to drive back to the university. Taking him by the shoulder, his father
said, “Son, do you pray every day? On your knees and out loud?” Those were
the last words he was to hear from his father, who died of a heart attack
within a week.
“His words made a lasting impression on me,” says
Elder Gerrard. “Every important decision we have made since has been through
thoughtful, heartfelt prayer, and we have always received the proper answers.”
In 1989 the Gerrards moved to Atlanta, Georgia, where
he served as stake president, then Regional Representative. After returning
to Utah, Elder Gerrard was called to serve as an Area Authority in the
Utah North Area.
Elder Duane B. Gerrard served as a member of the Second Quorum of the Seventy from April 1997 to October of 2003. His most recent assignment was as a counselor in the presidency of the North America West area. He previously served as president and as a counselor in the Philippines area presidency, providing ecclesiastical supervision and training for leaders in that country.
In October of 2003, having served the Second Quorum and The Lord with distinction for the term of his call, Elder Gerrard was honorably released and given a vote of thanks from the Church in General Conference assembled.