Grampa Bill's General Authority Pages
Rex C. Reeve, Sr. Rex C. (Cropper) Reeve, Sr.

1914 - 2005

  • Born 1914 Hinckley, Utah
  • Baptized as a child; Aaronic Priesthood as a youth; Melchizedek Priesthood as a young man
  • Married Phyllis Mae Nielsen; seven children
  • Counselor in Stake Presidecy, Stake President, Patriarch, Regional Representative
  • President of California Anaheim Mission
  • First Quorum of Seventy 1978-1989
  • Named Emeritus General Authority 1989
  • Died 2005; Salt Lake City

    Years ago, when Sister Jessie Evans Smith wanted ice cream, she would call Rex Reeve, a dairy company executive. He would bring Sister Smith and her husband, President Joseph Fielding Smith, a couple of half-gallons of ice cream and then sit and talk with them for a few minutes. He felt privileged—“I felt like I was on holy ground.”

    When called a General Authority himself, Elder Rex Cropper Reeve treasured the moments spent with Church leaders. At the Saturday morning session of annual general conference in April, 1978 Elder Reeve was sustained a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy.

    The son of Arthur H. and Mary Cropper Reeve, he was born in Hinckley, Utah, on Nov. 23, 1914. In his boyhood and youth, he drove a hay wagon and had a newspaper route. Growing up during the Depression, he saw the bank come and take the family's sheep. "Since those days, I have had a healthy respect for staying out of debt. I have never felt much like plunging," he said at the time of his calling as a General Authority.

    He was serving as president of the California Anaheim Mission when a telephone call came from President Spencer W. Kimball a few days before conference. President Kimball spoke to both Elder Reeve and his wife, Phyllis Mae Nielsen Reeve, as he extended the call.

    “This wasn’t the first time President Kimball had blessed our lives. He set me apart as a counselor in a stake presidency thirty years ago,” Elder Reeve said. After that, Elder Reeve served as a stake president, stake patriarch, Regional Representative of the Twelve, and mission president. In his church work, he knew six of the presidents of the Church. To call their influence on him “profound” is an understatement, he said.

    The Reeves became acquainted with President David O. McKay before they were married, when they took an evening class from him on courtship and marriage. He agreed to officiate at their marriage ceremony.

    “He taught how to be happy—the secrets of living a happy life,” said Elder Reeve. “One thing he taught was to never let the sun set on a misunderstanding. I can say we’ve done that. And we’ve prayed together—with few exceptions—every morning and night.”

Phyllis N. Reeve    The Reeves first met at a Mutual dance in Salt Lake City. “I knew the first night that she was the one,” he said. They dated a year before they were married. “We had a marvelous courtship. We studied the Book of Mormon together, went for walks together, and took the class from President McKay.”

    They decided before marriage to have as large a family as they could and to always put the Lord and his work first.

    That foundation has served them well through several hardships. They nearly lost their oldest son, Rex C. Reeve, Jr., who became director of the institute at Orem Technical College.

    Their oldest daughter, Rebecca Ann, was paralyzed sixteen years ago, in an automobile accident while she was serving a mission in New Mexico. “She is an inspiration,” Elder Reeve says. “She’s not bitter at all; she has an electric wheel chair, and she gives a lot of talks to encourage people.”

    “But we’ve been blessed,” Elder Reeve said. He spoke happily of the accomplishments of all his children—including his sons Roger Warne Reeve of Phoenix, Arizona, and David A. Reeve, a law student at Brigham Young University; and of his daughter, JoAnne Reeve, who taught at Ricks College; and of his two other daughters, Mrs. Garth (Venice) Finlinson of Oak City, Utah, and Mrs. Lane (Barbara) Nielson of Monett, Missouri.

    And he spoke proudly of his pioneer ancestors, some of whom are buried along the Mormon trail.

    “For a long time I felt I had been riding on a ticket purchased by someone else,” he said in tribute to his progenitors. “The work ahead will be difficult, but I am grateful for this opportunity to serve. With the help of the Lord, you can do anything. Without the help of the Lord, you can’t.”

    Elder Reeve served honorably and well in the First Quorum of the Seventy for eleven years until he was named an Emeritus General Authority on October 1, 1989.

   Elder Reeve died July 18, 2005, in Salt Lake City. He was 90 years old.

   "News of the Church: Elder Rex C. Reeve...," The Ensign May 1978
   “The Sustaining of Church Officers,” Ensign, Nov. 1989, p.19
   Church News, Sep 10, 2005, p. 13
   2005 Church Almanac, pp. 81-82

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