The following biographical sketch is adapted from
the "News of the Church: Elder Spencer H. Osborn of the First Quorum of
the Seventy" published in the Ensign for May 1984 on the occasion of Elder
Osborn's call to the First Quorum of the Seventy.
Elder Spencer H. Osborn, sustained as a member of the
First Quorum of the Seventy on 7 April 1984, sat in his office at the Salt
Lake Temple where he has been serving in the temple presidency. On his
desk was a picture of his wife and seven children. Through the window could
be seen the falling flakes of a spring snow storm.
“I will miss working here,” he said a little wistfully.
“But I am delighted to be of service. I feel this new plan of short-term
general authorities is inspired.”
“We received a call asking us to come for an interview
with President [Gordon B.] Hinckley the next
morning,” Elder Osborn said. “It was not a restful night.” Then when he
issued the call “we were dumbfounded and numb.” But, as always, the Osborns
had their answer ready. They were ready to accept the call.
Church service and heavy responsibility are not new
to Elder Osborn and his wife, Avanelle. When they were married, they agreed
to serve the Lord regardless of their situation and circumstance. As a
young couple, they lived in Los Angeles, California, while Elder Osborn
attended UCLA. At the young age of twenty-four, he was called to serve
in a bishopric. Since that time he has served twenty-two years in the Granite
Stake presidency—ten years as president; as mission president in the Florida
Tallahassee Mission; as a counselor in the Salt Lake Mission Home; and
as a full-time Regional Representative in the Philippines.
Elder Osborn recalls his work in the Philippines
with fondness. “We saw a great work there,” he said. “During the sixteen
months that we served there, we organized twelve stakes. The growth in
the size of the Church and in the spirituality of the members was a real
Through it all, Elder Osborn has received great strength
and support from his wife and children. Sister Osborn has been by his side
through many Church assignments and through the struggling first years
of the now thriving Osborn Apparel Manufacturing Company, which he started
with his brother. “If you ask me about my wife,” Elder Osborn says, “I
will become misty-eyed. She is a great woman, full of dedication; she has
always been totally supportive. She is talented and efficient as a homemaker.”
Sister Osborn, a lively woman with a smile on her
face, says supporting her husband has been a joy. “When Spencer was in
the stake presidency, we had seven children under the age of ten. It was
not always easy, but it didn’t seem a burden to me. We just enjoyed the
blessings that were ours.”
“She would have family home evening several times
a week,” adds Elder Osborn. “I’d come home from a meeting, and they’d be
singing around the piano or having a gospel discussion. It was a happy
sight. I have always been grateful for such support.”
The Osborn’s seven children—David, Richard, Judith,
Joseph, Mark, Patricia, and Camille—are also supportive of their father’s
“I am committed to this great work of the restored
gospel,” Elder Osborn concludes. “I know that God lives, and I know of
the divinity of the Lord Jesus Christ. I am grateful for this call, for
the opportunity to be of further service in the kingdom of our Father.”
Elder Osborn served in the First Quorum of the Seventy
until April 1, 1989 when he was released and called to the then newly created
Second Quorum of the Seventy. There he served faithfully until honorably
released October 1, 1989.
He considered some of his happiest years to be service in the temple where he served as counselor in the Salt Lake Temple, 1982-84; and as president, 1990-93. He also served as sealer for 23 years.
Avanelle Richards Osborn, 80, wife of Elder Spencer H. Osborn, former member of the First and Second Quorums of the Seventy, died Dec. 11, 2001, in Salt Lake City. Sister Osborn was a former matron of the Salt Lake Temple. Among many other responsibilities, she served in the Salt Lake Granite Stake Primary presidency when a Primary program for children with disabilities was piloted.
Elder Spencer Hamlin Osborn, emeritus member of the Seventy and former president of the Salt Lake Temple, died May 1, 2006, in Salt Lake City at the age of 84 after a bout with pancreatic cancer.