Grampa Bill's General Authority Pages
W. Don Ladd William Don Ladd

1933 - 2009

  • Born 1933 San Mateo, Florida
  • Baptized 1952
  • Married Ruth Pearson 1962, Logan Utah Temple; four children
  • Branch President, Stake president, Regional Representative
  • Second Quorum of the Seventy 1994-2000
  • Died 2009, Snellville, Georgia

This biographical sketch adapted from the "News of the Church: Elder W. Don Ladd of the Seventy" from the Ensign, May 1994.
Don Ladd’s son Christopher had a paper route, a large route that wasn’t close to home. So Christopher’s dad or mom had to get up early, often before sunrise, to help their son deliver the newspapers. One dark, cold morning, Don found the following words scrawled on the dusty car: “Dad + Chris = Fun.” Don smiled. It was obvious his son had inherited his optimism.

By his own admission, Elder W. Don Ladd tends to make lemonade out of life’s lemons. “I can always find something positive,” he noted.

His wife, Ruth Pearson Ladd, and his four children agree. “In all our years of marriage [the couple were married 20 December 1962 in the Logan Temple], I can’t remember a time when he’s been negative,” she observed. “He knows that things will work out.”

The gospel has only reinforced that natural tendency. Born 14 July 1933 in San Mateo, Florida, Don grew up with some exposure to the Church. His mother was a member, but his father was not. However, a dedicated bishop took the teenage Don under his wing and made a lasting difference in the boy’s life.

“It was this man’s influence that got me going,” Elder Ladd noted. And once he got going, he never quit. Baptized at nineteen (“My father wanted me to wait until I was an adult”), Elder Ladd was serving in a bishopric by the time he was twenty-one. Drafted into the army after the Korean War, he was called as a branch president while stationed in Germany. After that, he has served as a stake president, regional representative, and as a Church adviser on governmental and public affairs.

After his army service, Elder Ladd headed to Washington, D.C., where he worked as an administrative assistant to a U.S. congressman. He then spent fifteen years with the U.S. Department of Agriculture before being named vice president of government affairs for Marriott International, Inc., in 1982.

“The Church has always been my focus,” Elder Ladd said. “Everything I have ever achieved or accomplished has been because of the gospel and its influence.”
Having fulfilled the term of his five-year call, Elder Ladd was honorably released from the Second Quorum of the Seventy on October 7, 2000.
Elder W. Don Ladd, former member of the Second Quorum of the Seventy, passed away peacefully in his home in Snellville, Georgia, on Oct. 6, 2009. He was 76.

At his funeral in the Lilburn Georgia Stake Center, family members and friends remembered him as a great leader in Church callings, work and home.

Representing the First Presidency at the funeral was Elder Ralph W. Hardy Jr., an Area Seventy in the North America Northeast Area. In his remarks, Elder Hardy recalled Elder Ladd's distinguished leadership in the Church, specifically in the greater Washington, D.C., area.

Elder Ladd was called to the Second Quorum of the Seventy in 1994, where he served in the North America Northeast Area presidency from 1994-97, the North America Southeast Presidency from 1997-98 and the North America East Area Presidency from 1998-99.

Prior to his call to the Seventy, Elder Ladd served in many capacities in the Church, including regional representative, stake president and bishop. He served for more than 20 years as the chairman of Washington, D.C., Public Affairs Advisory Committee.

In his professional career, Elder Ladd spent much of his time involved in government and politics. He worked for more than 20 years in different government jobs including: vice president of government affairs for Marriott International from 1982-94, assistant to U.S. Secretary of Agriculture from 1967-82 and as an administrative assistant to a U.S. congressman from 1959-67.

Elder Ladd grew up on a farm in Florida. Although he wasn't baptized until he was 19, he had attended Church activities his entire life and developed a testimony through Scouting and other Church functions.

During the funeral, family members remembered Elder Ladd for his testimony and constant example of living the principles of the restored gospel in his home. Printed on the back of the funeral program were Elder Ladd's words from the October 1994 general conference: "The most important thing we can do - young or old - is develop a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. If we do, we will always be comfortable with ourselves. Any questions of self-esteem and self-worth will diminish and we will have a quiet confidence that will see us through any trial."

Elder Ladd was born on July 14, 1933, to Joseph Donald and Phyllis Rose Anderson Ladd in San Mateo, Fla. He and his wife, Ruth, have four children, 17 grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

"News of the Church: Elder W. Don Ladd...," Ensign, May 1994
"Changes for Several General Authorities," Church News Archives, October 7, 2000
"Elder Ladd was a constant example of living the gospel" Church News, October 29, 2009
2005 Church Almanac, p.90

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