Grampa Bill's General Authority Pages
Devere Harris Devere Harris

1916 - 2006
  • Born 1916 Portage, Utah
  • Baptized as a child; Aaronic Priesthood as a youth; Melchizedek Priesthood as a young man
  • Married Velda Gibbs, 1930, Logan Utah Temple; five children
  • Elders Quorum President, Stake Mission President, Stake High Councilor, Bishop
  • President of Idaho Falls Idaho Temple 1980-1984
  • First Quorum of Seventy 1984-1989
  • Second Quorum of Seventy 1989
  • Honorably released 1989
  • Died 2006 Logan, Utah

    The following biographical sketch is adapted from the "News of the Church: Elder Devere Harris of the First Quorum of the Seventy" published in the Ensign for May 1984 on the occasion of Elder Harris' call to the First Quorum of the Seventy.
    When Devere Harris, president of the Idaho Falls Temple, walked into President Gordon B. Hinckley’s office, he had no idea what was coming. Maybe he was doing something that needed changing in his temple assignment.

    “Are you tired of the temple?” President Hinckley asked. President Harris’s answer was quick and sure.

    “No! I want to stay there!”

    It was not to be. But President Harris would bring to his new calling a deep love for the House of the Lord.

    “Serving in the temple for these past four years was the greatest thing that ever happened to us. Things have happened there that are too sacred to relate.”

    Elder Harris, who was sixty- seven years of age at the time of his call as a General Authority, grew up in the little town of Portage, Utah, near the Idaho border. At Bear River High School he starred in both basketball and track. After graduating, he attended business college in Salt Lake. He later became a salesman for an insurance company, rising to the position of manager of three states. In 1930 he married Velda Gibbs, also of Portage, in the Logan Temple.

    Elder Harris was kept busy in the Church. Among other callings, he served as elders quorum president, stake mission president, and high councilor. At the same time, he was traveling sixty to eighty thousand miles a year for his company and supervising some forty men. Then he was called to be bishop of the Portage Ward. When Elder Harris was set apart, Elder Boyd K. Packer promised him that as long as he did the Lord’s work, his business would prosper.

    And that’s exactly what happened.

    “I have never hesitated since that day to ask people to serve the Lord, in any capacity. I’ve never thought I could put a hardship on anybody that way—never.”

    With so many demands on his time, Elder Harris learned to give quality time to his family, even when time was scarce. “One summer,” he recalls, “we took our children on a trip to Canada, Mexico, and about twenty-four states. Later someone asked my son what he considered the most exciting thing he’d done all summer. My chest kind of stuck out a little, and I thought, ‘Well, he’s got plenty to choose from,’ but he said, ‘The most fun I’ve had this summer is the night I lay out on the lawn with my dad and watched the Milky Way and made up poetry.’ ”

    The Harris’s son and four daughters have all been married in the temple and have provided a proud grandpa and grandma with twenty grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

    Of his new calling, Elder Harris says, “I feel inadequate, of course, but I’m thrilled with the call, and I’m willing to give it everything I’ve got. I don’t have any doubt in my mind that if I get myself in a condition to serve the Lord, that he will sustain me.”

    Elder Harris’s assurance comes from a deep faith. “I’ve had a witness borne to me of the Spirit that the gospel of Jesus Christ is true, that the Church is true, that God lives. I have enjoyed some beautiful manifestations of the Spirit. But I don’t believe that a man’s testimony can be built on beautiful manifestations. I think it’s more important to hear the whisper of the still small voice that gives assurance, day after day and year after year, that the gospel is true. I have heard that whisper.”

    Elder Harris served in the First Quorum of the Seventy until April 1, 1989 when he was released and called into the newly created Second Quorum of the Seventy. There he served faithfully until honorably released on October 1, 1989.
    Elder Harris died Thursday, July 6, 2006, at his home in Logan, Utah. He was 90 years old. Interment was in the Portage, Utah, cemetery. Elder Harris was survived by his wife, six children, 26 grandchildren, 31 great-grandchildren, and a sister and a brother.

   2005 Church Almanac, p. 82
   "News of the Church: Elder Devere Harris...," Ensign, May 1984
   “The Sustaining of Church Officers,” Ensign, May 1989, p.17
   "Released from Second Quorum of the Seventy," Church News Archives, Oct. 7, 1989
   "Elder Devere Harris, 90, dies," Church News Archives, July 15, 2006

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