My Mission Presidents and their Wives

I’ve been thinking today about my wonderful Mission Presidents and their wives.  I’m missing them.  I served under four wonderful men during my mission in South Africa, and then the 3 years I lived in Nigeria.  When I lived in Nigeria 1983-1987, no Stakes had been organized yet, so Mission Presidents were our ecclesiastical leaders.  Mission Presidents serve for 3 years and are loved by the missionaries who know them.

Sadly, each of my Mission Presidents died quite young, leaving huge vacant spots in this world.  I wish I could give each a hug right now.  I suspect they are checking in on me now, as we start this adventure.  I hope John and I can love and be loved as these wonderful men and their wives were.

Lowell and Lorna Wood, Johannesburg South Africa Mission
President Wood

Elder Lowell D. Wood, a member of the LDS Church’s Second Quorum of the Seventy, died in Apia, Samoa, on Friday, March 7, 1997. He was 64.

Elder Wood was president of the church’s Pacific Area and had an office in Sydney, Australia.He was in Samoa on business for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Friday when he was stricken with chest pains. He died soon afterward at a hospital in Apia.

Elder Wood was named a general authority in June 1992. At the time of his call, he was employed by the church as the director of temporal affairs for the Philippines/Micronesia Area.

He earned a bachelor’s degree from Brigham Young University, a master’s degree from Montana State University and a doctorate from the University of California at Berkeley, all in agricultural economics.

He joined the faculty at Brigham Young University in 1969 as a professor and administrator in the College of Biological and Agricultural Sciences.

During that time, he was instrumental in organizing the Ezra Taft Benson Agriculture and Food Institute and was made its first director.

He left BYU in 1975 to join the staff of the church’s Welfare Service Department, working there until he was called as president of the South Africa Johannesburg Mission in 1979.

Following his mission, he resumed work with Welfare Services until 1987, when he went to work for the Presiding Bishopric’s office, where he served in various assignments until he was called as a general authority.

He was born in Cardston, Alberta, Canada, on Jan. 23, 1933. He is survived by his wife, Lorna Cox Wood, and five children.

Lorna C. Wood
Here is my dear Mission Mom, Sister Lorna Wood.

Phil and Janice Margetts, Johannesburg, South Africa MissionG. Phillip Margetts and Janice

Phillip Margetts 1928 -1989: The best husband, father, provider, dedicated church worker, speaker, athelete, organizer, decision-maker, leader, counselor, teacher, friend, son, brother, uncle, fixer-upper, mechanical genius and talents for so many other things. A man who genuinely cared about others and showed it through his righteous actions. He is very much missed, but I’m sure he is doing missionary work where he is now. All that he taught me and many others lives on with his memory.
Sister Margetts

June Duffy and Josie Palmer, Lagos, Nigeria Mission

J. Duffy Palmer Sister Palmer

J. Duffy Palmer passed away April 29, 1996 in Mount Pleasant.

He was born March 23, 1921 in Taylor, Arizona, a son of Arthur and Evaline Gibbons Palmer. He practiced law in Clearfield, Utah and served as a Second District Court Judge. Duffy was raised in Arizona, but lived his adult life in Syracuse, Clearfield and Mount Pleasant.He married Jocelyn Jensen September 25, 1940 in the Mesa, Arizona LDS Temple. He graduated from Utah State University with a bachelor’s degree and attended the University of Utah where he earned a Law degree.

Duffy joined the U.S. Marines in 1942 and was wounded in Iwo Jima; he received the Purple Heart.

Duffy was an active and devoted member of th LDS Church. He served as bishop in Clearfield and Syracuse and was stake president in the Syracuse, Utah Stake. He served an LDS mission in the London LDS Temple and served as mission president in Nigeria, West Africa. He and his wife served as the first missionaries to the West African Country of Liberia and was called as the first mission president to that country. He served as a sealer in the London, England, Ogden, Utah, Manti, Utah and Mesa, Arizona temples.

He is survived by his wife; five sons, James Duffy (Susan) Palmer, Brunswick, Georgia; Kenneth D. (Charlene) Palmer, Mt. Pleasant; Farrell D. (Marianne) Palmer, Henderson, No. Carolina; Mark D. (Joan) Palmer, Syracuse, Utah; Ronald D. (Cathi) Palmer, Townsend, Georgia; two daughters, Jocelyn P. (Don) Stoker, Slidell, LA.; Karen P. (Robert) Young, Beavercreek, Ohio; also, 38 grandchildren; and 10 great-grandchildren; his four brothers, Roy, Harvey, Gus, Van, all of Arizona; and two sisters, Ila Butler, Arizona; and Ima Rose of Salt Lake City. Duffy was preceded in death by three brothers, Dean, Val, Belton; and two grandchildren.

Funeral services will be 11 a.m. Saturday, May 4, at the Syracuse LDS Stake Center, 1700 So. 2000 West. Friends may call Friday 6 to 8 p.m. at the Lindquist’s Kaysville Mortuary, 400 North Main, and Saturday, 9:30 to 10:45 a.m. at the Syracuse Church. Military honors will be accorded by D.A.V. Interment, Syracuse City Cemetery.

Robert and Marjorie Sackley, Lagos, Nigeria Mission

Aba Stake Creation 1988   Robert Sackley

Some years ago, Robert and Marjorie Sackley set a goal to do full-time missionary work together after he retired.

The opportunity came sooner than expected. In 1979, he was called as a mission president, and they have been involved in full-time Church service of one kind or another ever since.

With his call to the First Quorum of the Seventy—he was sustained April 2—Elder Robert E. Sackley will undoubtedly find new dimensions to the missionary work he loves.

Elder Sackley has found a way to be involved in missionary work almost constantly since his conversion more than forty years ago. He is motivated by a “thorough conviction that every human soul” will have an opportunity to accept or reject the gospel. It is “my responsibility,” he believes, to bring that opportunity to as many as he can. One friend estimates that Elder Sackley has fellowshipped more than 125 people into the Church.

A native of Australia, he was a soldier recuperating from wounds of war when he met Marjorie Ethel Orth of Brisbane in 1946. Her parents, some of the stalwart Latter-day Saints who had been the strength of the Church in Australia before and during World War II, were instrumental in converting him. Her mother provided Church literature, and her father taught him. The two men shared a love of history and Robert Sackley studied LDS history intently.

But it was the Book of Mormon that led the way to spiritual assurance of the truth. It touched his heart deeply as he read it in the hospital. “I committed to memory Mosiah 3:19 [‘For the natural man is an enemy to God … unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit …’] on that first reading. It struck me that no ordinary man wrote that, and that the message obviously came from a divine source.”

Sure of the divinity of the book, he had no difficulty believing that its translator, Joseph Smith, had been instructed by God and had been a prophet and seer.

The Sackleys were married 29 March 1947, not long after his baptism. Shortly after that, he was called to be a district missionary. Though he has had many other callings, he has always felt impelled to continue sharing the gospel.

In 1954, the Sackleys traveled to Canada to be sealed in the temple. They intended to stay for one year. But they became deeply involved in Church work and never left Alberta. They reared five children, all now married. They have fifteen grandchildren.

Elder Sackley served as a stake missionary, elders quorum president, bishop, high councilor, stake clerk, and counselor in a stake presidency. Sister Sackley’s many administrative and teaching callings have included Primary president and Relief Society president.

Elder Sackley earned a bachelor’s degree from Utah State University and a certificate of municipal administration from the University of Alberta in Edmonton. He also has done graduate work toward a doctoral degree in history.

When the Sackleys lived in Australia, Elder Sackley worked as a tax administrator in the civil government. In Alberta, he was a school business administrator in Cardston and a senior administrator for the city of Edmonton. From 1973 to 1979, he served as vice president, then president, of a growing community college in Medicine Hat, Alberta.

When he was called as first president of the Philippines Quezon City Mission (later the Philippines Baguio Mission) in 1979, the Sackleys listed their daughter’s Bow Island, Alberta address as home, thinking the change would be temporary. But in 1982, he was called as administrative assistant to the president of the Salt Lake Temple, with Sister Sackley as an assistant temple matron. In 1983, they were called as directors of the Washington Temple Visitors’ Center, and in 1985 as missionaries in the Sydney Australia Temple. In 1986 he was called to serve as president of the Nigeria Lagos Mission; he will be released from that position shortly.

It will probably be some time before the Sackleys are settled in Alberta again. But they don’t mind. They are still living their dream of full-time service to the Lord.

About Ann Laemmlen Lewis

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5 Responses to My Mission Presidents and their Wives

  1. Lorna C Wood says:

    Loved reading about Lowell, I miss him too. You will be great MP’s and your missionaries will love you as well. I love checking out your pictures and comments. Love and best wishes always.
    Lorna Wood

  2. I love you, Sister Wood.

  3. Charlotte Summers says:

    Dear Ann (I assume) My name is Charlotte Summers. I am trying desperately to find the owner of about 400 slides that I inherited from my parents’ belongings. They are pictures of someone’s mission in the Johannesburg Mission. I found you by googling President and Sister Margetts. The pictures gave me clues: the missionary with Pres. and Sis. Margetts, a missionary in many of the pictures as if he is spotlighted. You sound as though you were there, and I am hoping you can help. If I could email you a few of the pictures, you may recognize him or know someone else who could help me. The missionary department of the Church History building would be happy to take them, but I would rather find the owner. My phone number is 801-546-0403. My email address is c.r.summers I will be out of town for a week . You could leave a message.on the phone. I will check my email daily. 2-4-2016. I look forward to hearing from you.

  4. James Cathcart says:

    Ann, I was just reflecting on Pres. Wood and Margetts today, looked up their names and found your post. How heartwarming it was for me to read your beautiful tributes. I dearly loved both of these men and their sweet wives. Pres. and Sis. Wood were like second parents to me and I fondly remember Pres. Margetts frequently being overcome with emotion when reading a favorite story and having Janice finish it because she was such a rock.

    I also remember your dedication and commitment as a sister missionary. Upon returning home from my mission, I came to learn that many returned elders had poor experiences with sisters in their missions (and I’m sure the feelings were mutual). I had quite the opposite experience. The sisters in South Africa were the best of the best, and you were certainly among the very best of the best of the best.

    Thank you for your beautiful post, good example and many happy memories.

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