The following biographical sketch is adapted from
"President Rex D. Pinegar of the First Council of the Seventy" by David
Mitchell, Editorial Associate, The Ensign, January 1973, page 18
on the occasion of Elder Pinegar being called to the First Council of the
Seventy, and from other sources.
President Rex D. Pinegar, the newest member of the First
Council of the Seventy, was raised in a family richly endowed with love
and concern for the individual member. These choice traits have not been
diminished by the transition from childhood to
adulthood, as President Pinegar demonstrates love and respect in his
attitude toward his own wife and children.
President Pinegar was born September 18, 1931, in
Orem, Utah, a twin son and one of twelve children born to John F. and Grace
Murl Ellis Pinegar. He was reared in the agricultural community of Spanish
Fork, Utah, where he and his brothers and sisters earned their pocket money
working in the local orchards and on farms.
As a youth of twelve, he followed his older brothers
into a job with the local creamery, and worked for a construction company
throughout his junior high and senior high school years.
His work and experiences conditioned him for championship
football and wrestling activities in high school and aided him in his energetic
pursuit of his schooling and his Church activities. He was active in his
priesthood quorums and in the Scouting
program. After graduation from high school in 1949, he entered the
U.S. Navy for four years.
“For about a year I was instructing officers in cargo
handling, and for the remainder of the time I served in the Pacific. I
enjoyed my experience as an instructor, but when I completed my term with
the navy and entered Brigham Young University, I was thinking of becoming
a commercial artist.”
However, after his first year in college he decided
to become a teacher, thus fulfilling an unvoiced hope of his mother. During
this first year he also decided to marry Bonnie Lee Crabb.
“We grew up together in the same ward. She was much
younger than I—at least that's what I thought at the time. On my return
from the navy I found that the little neighborhood girl had grown up and
had completed her freshman year at BYU.”
The Pinegars were married in the Salt Lake Temple
on January 24, 1955, and they now have five children: Kevin, 17; Lisa,
15; Suzanne, 12; Shelley, 10; and Kristen, 5.
After graduating from BYU, President Pinegar took
his family to California, where he did graduate work at San Francisco State
College for his master's degree and at the University of Southern California
for his doctorate in education.
While pursuing his graduate studies in California,
President Pinegar served as a stake missionary, stake YMMIA president,
and was active in his seventies quorums in Hayward Stake and then in Glendale
Stake. He also taught seminary and institute of religion classes.
Upon receiving his doctorate in 1967, he returned
to BYU as a member of the special education faculty and later became chairman
of educational psychology in the College of Education.
He was serving as a member of the Sunday School general
board when he received a call in 1971 to preside over the North Carolina-Virginia
Mission. (His twin brother Max was called at the same time to preside over
the Netherlands Mission.)
“When the call came for me to be a mission president,
it made me very happy. I had never served as a full-time missionary and
had thought the opportunity to do so might never come. Now to serve as
a mission president is a wonderful, rewarding experience for me and my
entire family. Our association with our faithful missionaries and members
has been a choice blessing for us.”
It was while he was away from the mission home holding
a zone conference in early October that he received a telephone call from
the First Presidency’s office. When he returned the call, the telephone
was answered by President Harold B. Lee
“That was quite startling. I had expected to speak
with his secretary. President Lee was very understanding of my feelings
at that moment, and he immediately asked if I were seated. I had no thought
at all that I would be called to this position or any other.”
His calling as a member of the First Council of the
Seventy will be a continuation of his missionary work and an outgrowth
of his love and concern for the individual.
With the dissolution of the First Council of the Seventy
in 1976 and the restoration of the First Quorum of the Seventy, Elder Pinegar
was called into that Quorum. Then on September 30, 1989, he was called
into the Presidency of the Seventy where he served until August 15, 1995.
Though released from the Presidency, Elder Pinegar remained a member of the First Quorum. Then on October 6, 2001, a grateful Church, assembled in the 171st Semi-annual General Conference, gave him a vote of appreciation as he was released from the First Quorum and named an Emeritus General Authority.