Grampa Bill's General Authority Pages
Oscar H. Kirkham Oscar A. (Ammon) Kirkham

1880 - 1958

  • Born 1880 Lehi, Utah
  • Baptized 1888
  • Mission to Germany 1900-1903
  • Married Josephine Murdock 1905, Salt Lake Temple; nine children
  • Ordained Seventy 1905
  • First Council of the Seventy 1941-1958
  • Died 1958 Salt Lake City, Utah

    Oscar Ammon Kirkham , of the First Council of the Seventy and executive secretary of the Y. M. M. I. A. for many years, was born Jan. 22, 1880, in Lehi, Utah, the fourth child of nine born to James Kirkham and Martha Mercer.

    He was baptized Jan. 1, 1888, and filled a mission to Germany in 1900-1903.

    Upon his return he married on May 24, 1905 in the Salt Lake Temple Miss Josephine Murdock. She would bless Elder Kirkham with nine children.

    Elder Kirkham was ordained a Seventy February 26, 1905 by Joseph W. McMurrin.

    He graduated from the Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, then studied music in Berlin, Germany and taught school in the Latter-day Saints University.

    He was Scout Executive of Region 12, Boy Scouts of America. During the International Boy Scout Jamboree, held at Artowe Park, Birkenhead, England, in 1929, he was a member of the national staff, was general morale officer and member of the program committee, and had charge of the religious exercises of the American scouts and assisted in the general supervision of the American contingent.

    On October 5, 1941 Elder Kirkham was sustained to the First Council of the Seventy at the age of sixty one He was set apart by President Heber J. Grant.

    In 1953 Elder Kirkham spoke in General Conference of the importance of our youth, "As youth goes, so will civilization go. Thus we must safeguard their future with noble example on the part of worthy parents and leadership, with devoted personal attention, then our civilization will continue to progress."

    President Kirkham continued to serve in the First Council of the Seventy until his death March 10, 1958 in Salt Lake City, Utah. Sister Kirkham's death was mentioned in the Statistical Report for 1976.

   Some years later Elder Cree-L Kofford of the Seventy spoke of President Kirkham: "Oscar Kirkham was one of the great men of the Church and among the Church's most respected Scouters. He served in the First Council of the Seventy and was a significant presence wherever he went. Often in meetings he would rise to a "point of personal privilege" and then, when recognized, would proceed to say something good about someone. Near the end of his life, he spoke briefly at Brigham Young University on the theme "say the good word." On the morning that Elder Kirkham died, Elder Marion D. Hanks was invited to the Kirkham family home. There he was handed a small, inexpensive notebook in which Elder Kirkham had kept his notes. The last two entries were: "Say the good word" and "Your name is safe in our home" (see Marion D. Hanks, foreword to Say the Good Word, by Oscar A. Kirkham [1958], p.4).

   Jenson, LDS Biographical Encyclopedia, Vol. 4, p.241
   Encyclopedia of Mormonism, Vol.4, Appendix 1
   2005 Church Almanac, p.73

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