Grampa Bill's General Authority Pages
H. Ross Workman H. Ross Workman

1941 -living

  • Born 1940
  • Baptized as a child; Aaronic Priesthood as a youth; Melchizedek Priesthood as a young man
  • Missionary to Southern States Mission 1960-1962
  • Married to Katherine Evelyn Meyers 1962, Logan Utah Temple; four children
  • BS Chemistry, Juris Doctor, University of Utah; Career as Patent Attorney
  • Counselor to Bishop, Bishop, High Councilor
  • President of Hawaii Honolulu Mission
  • Second Quorum of the Seventy 2001-2007
  • President of the Laie Hawaii Temple 2007-2012

   In 1960, Ross Workman, a young high school graduate who, on graduation night became engaged to be married, was about to leave after priesthood meeting when he heard a knock on his car window. The young man was just beginning to increase his activity in the Church and attended meetings through the influence of his attractive fiancee and her family.

   He had twice refused his bishop's invitation to serve a full-time mission.

   As he rolled down his window, stake President Jack R. Prince "put his head right into the car, right next to my nose. He didn't say hello. He just said one thing: 'I've been inspired to ask you one more time to go on a mission,' " recalled now Elder H. Ross Workman, sustained March 31, 2001 to the Second Quorum of the Seventy.

   "Powerfully impressed beyond my present ability to describe, I said, 'I'll go.' That was my first experience with things of the Spirit."

   A few minutes later his fiancee, Kaye Meyers, climbed into his car wearing "one of those pouffy skirts like they used to wear, with her hair done up in a pony tail I used to think she was the most beautiful girl in the world, and I haven't stopped thinking that." She slid into the car next to him. Instead of driving away, however, he put his hands on the steering wheel and looked straight ahead. Then he told her, without looking at her, that there wouldn't be a marriage that year because he was going on a mission.

   "She was starting to cry, and then she said those critical words: 'I will support you, and I'll be here when you get back.' "

   That event was the first of many callings that changed their lives. He filled a successful mission in the Southern States Mission and they were later married in the Logan Utah Temple.

   He eventually received a juris doctorate from the University of Utah and became a leading patent attorney with national clients in technology, electronics and medical products around the United States. He was a founding partner in the largest patent firm between Chicago and Los Angeles and was a board member and officer of the American Intellectual Property Association. He was also a delegate to the World Intellectual Property Organization and served as a member of the Committee of Experts for Harmonization of International Patent Laws in Geneva, Switzerland. Elder Workman and his wife have just returned from Hawaii where he presided over the Hawaii Honolulu Mission.

   Elder Workman considered his service one of many great adventures that have highlighted his life. His adventures began in childhood when and he and his younger brother rode the train, unescorted but watched over by a well-instructed porter, to visit their grandmother, who lived in the woods in Washington State.

   In Washington the boys played in hollows and floated on homemade rafts on ponds. They accompanied their remarkable grandmother on many exciting excursions. "That filled me with a great spirit of adventure that has never really left," he said.

   Sister Workman grew up with a testimony of the gospel. "There was always a lot of faith in my home and I naturally held that faith," she said. "My learning about the gospel has been to study things in more depth, not to question if something is right or wrong. I feel I have been extra blessed for that."

   After their marriage in December 1962, he completed his undergraduate studies in chemistry and worked as a medical technologist. An opportunity to work in the patent department at the university influenced him toward law and away from a planned career in biomedicine. While in law school he was called as first counselor in a bishopric. About the same time, their first baby was born.

   "We decided to follow the counsel of the prophet, that is, for the mother to stay home and raise the children," he said.

   He began working 40 hours and "we had a lot of tight financial months" but were "able to pay for our education as we went along."

   After graduating, he was employed by Strong, Poelman & Fox to found a patent practice. After 12 years that patent practice had grown to eight attorneys, but with the consent of his partners, he pursued his dream of establishing his own firm. He and others started Workman, Nydegger & Jensen, which soon extended to a national scope with multi-national clients and had 30 full-time attorneys and 110 employees.

   "My specialty was patent infringement litigation," he said.

   He was in his downtown Salt Lake City office that overlooks the Church Administration Building admiring the flowers in the adjoining gardens when he received a telephone call from "somebody named Elder Hales."

   "It can't be 'the Elder [Robert D.] Hales,' he said, "but I better talk to him just in case.' "

   Soon he and his wife were seated in that Church Administration Building, being called to preside over the mission in Hawaii.

   "It was a really big shock when he accepted his first mission call," said Sister Workman. "I was just as shocked when he was called to be mission president. In this Church, you get shocked pretty regularly."

   Elder Workman smiled at his wife's words. He knows that shocks in this Church soon turn to life-altering blessings of service. "The Lord has directed my life and even under challenging circumstances I know the joy that comes from conforming my will to His will."

   Elder Workman was released from the Second Quorum on October 6, 2007 at the 177th Semi-annual General Conference of the Church. At the same time, it was announced that he and his wife had been called to serve as President and Matron of the Laie Hawaii Temple, where they served until 2012.

   News Release from the Church April 2001
   "Accepting callings brought them one change after another," Church News Archives, June 16, 2001
   "Elder H. Ross Workman biography," Church News Archives, June 16, 2001
   "News of the Church: Elder H. Ross Workman Of the Seventy," The Ensign, May 2001
   "General Authorities released after long service," Church News Archives, October 13, 2007

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