Grampa Bill's General Authority Pages
Donald L. (Lafayette) Staheli

1931 - 2010
  • Born 1931; Hurricane, Utah
  • Baptized as a child; Aaronic Priesthood as a youth; Melchizedek Priesthood as a young man
  • Married Afton Stratton 1952, St. George Utah Temple; four children
  • High Councilor, Counselor in Bishopric and two Stake Presidencies
  • Second Quorum of the Seventy 1997-2006
  • First President of the new Draper Utah Temple, 2009-2010.
  • Died 2010; St. George, Utah

This biographical sketch adapted from the "News of the Church: Elder Donald L. Staheli of the Seventy" in the Ensign, May 1997 on the occasion of his call to the Second Quorum of the Seventy.
Having directed businesses in 57 countries on 6 continents, Elder Donald L. Staheli has broad international experience. “I hope the international experiences many of us are having will help us better understand and serve people in various cultures of our rapidly growing worldwide Church,” he says.

Born in Hurricane, Utah, on 19 October 1931, he married Afton Stratton on 24 September 1952 in the St. George Temple. He and his wife have 4 children and 11 grandchildren.

He received a B.S. at Utah State University and an M.S. and a Ph.D. at the University of Illinois and then served for two years as a first lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force.

His professional life began with Swift and Company in 1958 in Chicago. In 1969 he joined Allied Mills, Inc., where he held senior management positions, including president and CEO.

In 1977 he moved to New Canaan, Connecticut, to accept a position as executive vice president and director with Continental Grain Co., a large, private multinational agribusiness and financial services firm headquartered in New York City. In 1984 he became president and chief operating officer and in 1988 was named CEO, eventually becoming chairman of the board. He has served on several corporate boards.

He is currently chairman of the U.S.-China Business Council and a director of the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations and the U.S.-China Society. He served as chairman of an international business leaders advisory council for the mayor of Shanghai. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations [though not, as far as is known, a Trilateralist or a Bilderberger] and is chairman of the Points of Light Foundation, a national organization that encourages volunteer activities.

At the time of his call to the Second Quorum of the Seventy, he was president of the Yorktown New York Stake. He has previously served as a high councilor and as a counselor in two stake presidencies and a bishopric.

“I’m grateful for my heritage,” Elder Staheli says. “My parents’ faith, reliance on prayer, and teachings in the home formed the foundation for my testimony. In addition, I’m deeply grateful for the opportunities I’ve had to serve and grow in the Church. I look forward to serving in my new calling.”
In October, 2006, Elder Staheli was granted an honorable release from the Second Quorum and given a vote of thanks by a grateful Church in General Conference Assembled.
Elder Donald Lafayette Staheli, former member of the Second Quorum of the Seventy, passed away at his home in St. George, Utah, on May 29, 2010. He was 78.

At the time of his death, Elder Staheli and his wife, Afton Stratton Staheli, were serving as president and matron of the Draper Utah Temple. Elder and Sister Staheli were in their second year of serving as the first couple called to preside in the temple since its dedication on March 20, 2009.

Prior to his call as temple president, Elder Staheli was sustained to the Second Quorum of the Seventy in general conference on April 5, 1997, at the age of 65. He served in that capacity for nine years.

In his assignments as a member of the Seventy, Elder Staheli served in many capacities, including the presidencies of the North America Northeast and North America Central areas, and later as the North America Central area president.

He was released from the Seventy on Sept. 30, 2006.

At the time of his call to serve as a General Authority in 1997, Elder Staheli, who was serving as the Yorktown New York Stake president, retired from working as the chairman and chief executive officer of Continental Grain Company, a New York City-based international agri-business company. Known for his involvement in business, Elder Staheli served on several corporate and non profit boards. Some of those assignments included chairman of the U.S.-China Business Council, director of the U.S. China Society, National Committee on U.S.-China relations, U.S. Russia Trade Council and chairman of an International Business Leaders Advisory Council for the mayor of Shanghai.

"[He] was a very influential man to many, powerful leader and great example," his obituary reads. "He made a difference wherever he went and formed many lasting friendships. But most importantly he was a loving husband, father, grandfather, son and brother. He will be missed by many but his values, influence, principles and examples will be remembered and carried forward for many generations to come."

"News of the Church: Elder Donald L. Staheli...," Ensign, May 1997
"Second Quorum of the Seventy: New leaders bring rich experience," Church News Archives, Apr. 12, 1997
2005 Church Almanac, p.46
Thomas S. Monson, “The Sustaining of Church Officers,” Ensign, Nov. 2006
"Elder Donald L. Staheli passes away," Church News, May 30, 2010
"Elder Donald L. Staheli succumbs at age 78," Church News, June 5, 2010

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