This is an archived article that was published on in 2004, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Most Mormons today think of LDS Apostle David B. Haight as an old man who gave spontaneous sermons because he could no longer read his notes.

Even Haight joked about his age, saying to his fellow apostles, "Stand aside - here comes the old guy."

But at his funeral on Thursday, the image of a vigorous, young David Haight emerged. There were folksy tales of his growing up in Oakley, Idaho, his baptism in a canal at age 8, the famous football loss by Oakley High School to Idaho Falls (106-6), and meeting his future wife, Ruby, at a dance while on a date with someone else. There was talk of commanding an LOD - Large Oak Desk - during World War II and becoming a successful salesman and eventually mayor of Palo Alto, Calif.

In more serious tones, LDS Church President Gordon B. Hinckley, his two counselors in the First Presidency, Apostle Boyd K. Packer, Haight's son Robert and son-in-law Jon Huntsman Sr., described Haight's willingness to take on the role of LDS apostle and witness for Jesus Christ - and his brush with death in 1989.

Photo Gallery

Haight died Saturday at 97. He was the oldest man ever to serve as an apostle in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. More than 3,000 LDS faithful as well as political leaders such as U.S. Sens. Orrin Hatch and Bob Bennett attended the funeral in the LDS Tabernacle on Temple Square in Salt Lake City.

Haight was the second member of the church's Quorum of Twelve Apostles to die within 10 days. Apostle Neal A. Maxwell's funeral was held in the Tabernacle on July 27.

"I know it's warm in the Tabernacle," Hinckley told the sweltering mourners as they fanned themselves with their programs. "I'd like to suggest to the keeper of heavenly invitations that there be a deferment to a cooler season."

James E. Faust, second counselor in the church's governing First Presidency, said the two deaths so close together have taken a toll on the Quorum, whose members are seated in order of seniority in a stately row of red chairs in the Tabernacle.

"It has been one of the most profound blessings of my life to sit between Elder Maxwell and Elder Haight," Faust said in an emotional speech. "I sat between them for 14 years, then they sat side by side."

To lose both "is a great personal loss for me," Faust said.

Huntsman described the last time the two apostles were together:

Maxwell said, "I'd rather be on the starting lineup on the other side than sitting on the bench here."

Haight replied, "So would I."

Such playfulness came naturally to his father-in-law, Huntsman said. Just a month ago, Haight said of the billionaire philanthropist, "I'm still waiting for my son-in-law to amount to something."

Huntsman said he adored Haight. "He was a common man, who taught in simple terms."

That could be due in part to his rustic Idaho upbringing.

He never tired of telling the apostles "Oakley stories" and they never tired of hearing them, Faust said.

Losing his father at 9 and then suffering the deprivation of a family of 10 with a widowed mother taught him compassion for suffering of any kind.

"He did his best work among the people," Faust said. "The length and breadth of his mission may never be calculated. It is too large."

Haight's passing left Hinckley with "a deep and somber feeling of loneliness," the 94-year-old leader said. "He was the eldest among us and I felt I had an older brother to whom I could look. Now he is gone. I am left as the oldest by seven years."

Alluding to the death of his wife, Marjorie, in April as well as the two apostles, Hinckley said, "I feel I have known much of death in recent times. It has been an interesting, sanctifying experience that has brought me a whole new perspective on life."

Hinckley then recounted the story of Haight's aortic aneurysm in 1989. He was called to the hospital and found Haight lying unconscious on a gurney. Hinckley, considered a "prophet, seer and revelator" by the 12 million Mormons, gave the apostle a healing blessing in which he promised that Haight's life would be spared because he had more work to do.

Haight later told the apostles that while he was unconscious, he felt he was in the presence of "holy personages" who assured him of the goodness of Jesus Christ's ministry among humankind.

When he awoke, Haight told his colleagues in the Quorum, he was determined to continue testifying of Jesus as long as he was able. And that was 15 more years.

"There was nothing of self-righteousness or arrogance in the man," Hinckley said. "How we will miss his sound judgment, his wise counsel, rich humor and, most of all, his stirring testimony."

In a breaking voice, Hinckley said, "So, my dear brother, farewell - for a season."