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President Hinckley observes 89th birthday

President Gordon B. Hinckley observed his 89th birthday Wednesday, June 23, at a reception in the Church Administration Building.

With his wife, Sister Marjorie P. Hinckley, by his side, President Hinckley received birthday greetings from his counselors, President Thomas S. Monson and President James E. Faust, and their wives, Frances J. Monson and Ruth W. Faust; other General Authorities and their wives and members of the general auxiliary presidencies ."I don't know why we celebrate these occasions," the Church leader remarked good-humoredly. "But we are here to enjoy life while we can."

President Hinckley reminisced about his life, particularly his experiences in the Church Administration Building. He said that it was 64 years ago that he stepped into the First Presidency's council room as a returned missionary at the request of his mission president to report to President Heber J. Grant and his counselors, J. Reuben Clark and David O. McKay. That meeting, he said, "led to the Brethren inviting me to come and do some work here. And I have been here ever since. . . .

"I hope that I have kept the common touch and seen a little humor in life. We had better see the funny part of life or we are going to miss two-thirds of what it is all about," he remarked.

He said he is looking forward to celebrating his 90th birthday next year. "I never dreamed I would live this long," he said. "My mother bought me a little insurance policy when I was a boy. It matured at age 80. I thought I would never in my life live to see that policy mature. Well, it has matured, the insurance company has paid me off and I have spent the money."

He said that he and Sister Hinckley "are both getting old. We were married some 62 years ago by Stephen L Richards in the Salt Lake Temple. We have five wonderful children and 25 grandchildren and about the same number of great-grandchildren."

President and Sister Hinckley spent the evening of his birthday in a quiet celebration with their family.

He was born June 23, 1910, in Salt Lake City to Bryant S. and Ada Bitner Hinckley. He was ordained and set apart as the 15th president of the Church on March 12, 1995. He had previously served 14 years as a counselor in the First Presidency, 20 years in the Quorum of the Twelve and three years as an Assistant to the Twelve.

Except for a short period during World War II, when he worked as an assistant manager for the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad in Salt Lake City and then in Denver, Colo., he has been a General Authority or an employee of the Church on a full-time basis since completing his mission to the British Isles in 1935.