Wilford Woodruff Kirton, Jr., affectionately known as "Bill", was born April 16, 1922 in Salt Lake City, Utah to Wilford W., Sr. and Janet Mackie Kirton.
He passed to the presence of his wife, Arlene, parents and Savior as he lived, with dignity, grace, and abiding faith after his final battle with cancer.
He went to Salt Lake City schools and attended the University of Utah before enlisting in the Air Force during World War II. He was a pilot and bombardier and attained the rank of Captain. He flew 31 missions over Europe and was decorated with the Air Medal with three Oak Leaf Clusters and the Distinguished Flying Cross. After the War, Bill served in the Utah National Guard until his retirement as a Lieutenant Colonel.
In 1943, in the middle of the war years, Bill was sealed to the sweetheart of his youth, Arlene Tadje Sonntag in the Salt Lake Temple. They had grown up in the old Salt Lake First Ward together. With love, devotion and inspiration they raised five children (two sons and three daughters). Their inheritance in the Lord is now magnified to 24 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. Arlene passed away in July of 1992.
On June 3, 1994 Bill was sealed to the lovely Lois Brewster Aste. The Brewster and the Kirton families enjoyed very close friendship and times together beginning when Bill and Lois were children.
After the war, Bill completed with honors his BA at the University of Utah in Military Science, and later, his Juris Doctor Degree. He founded his own law firm which grew from its small beginnings in 1948 as a one-man office to Kirton & McConkie today with more than 60 attorneys.
In 1964, Bill was asked to be General Counsel for the LDS Church and had wide and varied experiences in that capacity. He sat before the United States Supreme Court on key cases on behalf of the LDS Church. It was his privilege and honor to closely serve seven presidents of the LDS Church.
Bill has worn many hats. He was a recognized authority on title insurance and real estate law. He was President and Founder of Attorneys' Title Guaranty Fund, a lawyer-owned title insurance company operating in Utah, Colorado and Minnesota.
Bill served on many important Boards and Committees during his distinguished legal career. He served on the Board of Directors of Beneficial Life Insurance Company. He was Secretary and General Counsel to Deseret Management Corporation and its many subsidiaries, such as Deseret News, Deseret Gym, Deseret Book, Beneficial Development, and Zions Securities Corporation. He received the J. Reuben Clark Law Society's Citizen Lawyer award presented by an old law school study friend, Richard C. Howe, now Chief Justice of the Utah Supreme Court.
Bill's church service was also wide and varied. He served as a high councilor, bishop, stake president, and one of the initial regional representatives. At the time of his passing, he was a sealer in the Salt Lake Temple and stake patriarch for the Salt Lake Ensign Stake.
As he struggled in behalf of others and sometimes himself, his vision was positive. He considered it a privilege to be an inhabitant of this beautiful world, created by a loving Heavenly Father. He believed in the sanctity and goodness of the rule of law, and rejected and fought cynicism. He was constantly auditing his conduct and strove mightily to stand for family, love, faith, integrity, gratitude, mercy, justice - in short, Godly virtues. He was sustained, guided and anchored by his testimony and relationship with his Savior Jesus Christ.
He is survived by his wife Lois; children, Randy (Janet) Kirton, Janet (Lee) Hunter who is presiding over the New Hampshire mission, Claudia (Dennis) Peterson, Marsha (David) Derrick, Bill Kirton; stepchildren, Craig (Gretchen) Hummel, Karen Milne, Len (Ellen) Aste, Steven (Lisa) Aste, Heidi Aste; and his beautiful grandchildren, great-grandchildren and step-grandchildren who he loved dearly and of whom he was so proud. Also survived by sisters Betty (Carl) Hummer of Seattle;
Pat (Lamar) Zollinger of Minneapolis; and a cousin closer than a brother, Gene (Shirley) Pusey of Phoenix.
He is now reunited forever with his wife Arlene, his parents, and the society of those prophets he served in the work and glory he sought so earnestly to further in the earth.
Services will be conducted 12 noon Wed. July 26, 2000 at the Ensign LDS 1st Ward, 589 - 18th Ave., Salt Lake City. Friends may call Tuesday, July 25, 2000 from 6-8 p.m. at Larkin Mortuary, 260 E. South Temple, and Wed. from 10:30 a.m. to 11:45 a.m. prior to the services. Interment will follow at Salt Lake City Cemetery.