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Elder de Jager called guileless

Known as "the happy Dutchman" to his associates among the leadership of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Elder Jacob de Jager was laid to rest March 1, 2004, following funeral services at the Salt Lake Ensign Stake Center in Salt Lake City.

Elder de Jager, 81, died Feb. 25 at his home. He had served since 1976 in the church's First Quorum of the Seventy before receiving emeritus status Oct. 2, 1993.

President Thomas S. Monson, first counselor in the First Presidency, eulogized Elder de Jager as "a man without guile."

"I never met a person who said a bad word about Jacob de Jager," he said. "It didn't matter what the subject, every time you asked about Jacob de Jager, you got a smile."

As a mission president in Toronto, Canada, President Monson and his wife, Frances, helped bring Jacob de Jager and his wife, Bea, into the Mormon faith.

Elder de Jager's first calling was to pass out hymnals for services, a position he regarded as seriously as though it were "secretary of state," President Monson said.

Elder de Jager became a regional representative for the church and helped orchestrate a large area conference of the Church in Munich, Germany, including many members from behind the Iron Curtain. After serving as a general authority and then receiving emeritus status, Elder de Jager served as a bishop of a ward in Salt Lake City, President Monson said.

President James E. Faust, second counselor in the First Presidency, calling him by a familiar nickname, said, "Jack's influence was much further than any of us realized. . . . His influence just couldn't be confined."

President Boyd K. Packer, acting president of the Quorum of the Twelve, expressed the assurance that "this wonderful, wonderful man, whom we all love, is now behind the veil, as he said he would be a few days ago," spreading the gospel to those who have died.

Audrey de Jager Poulson, one of the de Jagers' two children, spoke of her father as having "a unique way of putting everyone at ease with his genuine love of people, infectious smile and great sense of humor."