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Sister Enis Egan Hunter, wife of the late President Howard W. Hunter, dies

Inis Egan Hunter and Howard W. Hunter
Inis Egan Hunter and Howard W. Hunter

The wife of the 14th president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints died Sunday, Oct. 14, 2007, in Laguna Hills, Calif., at the age of 93.

The death of Sister Inis Egan Hunter was attributed to old age. Her husband, President Howard W. Hunter, died in March of 1995 after serving for almost nine months as church president. He was 87 years old.

Inis Bernice Egan was born Aug. 19, 1914, in Thatcher, Box Elder County, to Horace Walter Egan and Anna Bernhardina Jacobsson Tengberg. She married Robert Stanton and together they had three children, Barbara Robert and Elayne. The pair divorced in 1966.

President Hunter's first wife, Clara Jeffs, died in 1983. She and President Hunter had three sons, John Jacob Hunter, Richard Allen Hunter and Howard William Jr.

In April 1990, President Hunter — who was serving as president of the Quorum of the Twelve — told his fellow apostles following a meeting that he had an announcement to make.

"I thought I'd just let you know that I'm going to be married this afternoon," he told the group, explaining that, "Inis Stanton is an old acquaintance from California. I've been visiting with her for some time, and I've decided to be married." At 2 p.m. on April 12, 1990, the couple was married by President Gordon B. Hinckley — then a counselor in the First Presidency — in the Salt Lake Temple.

The newlywed couple had become reacquainted while Sister Hunter worked in the main lobby of the Church Office Building, beginning in 1968. They first met when then-Bishop Hunter was serving a congregation in Pasadena, Calif., in 1945.

A biography on President Hunter includes a reflection on President Hunter's wedding anniversary two years later, when he wrote in his journal that the last two years had been happy ones. Sister Hunter had traveled extensively around the world with him, and he commented on how she made their home a delight.

An article in the 1995 Ensign magazine featured a story by President Boyd K. Packer that further illustrated President Hunter's love for his wife: "Three days before President Hunter's passing, Elder Russell M. Nelson and I visited with the president. He was seated in the sunroom which overlooks the temple and the gardens. We knelt before him, each holding one of his hands. As we talked with him, he kept looking over his shoulder into the living room and then called to his wife, Inis.

"Ever present and ever attentive, she responded immediately and asked what he needed. He said, 'You are too far away; I want you close to me.' I said, 'President, she was only thirty feet away.' He said, 'I know, that's too far."'

Inis Hunter loved to sing and won blue ribbons in state fairs as a doll hobbyist. After marrying President Hunter, she traveled with him as he fulfilled church duties and both spoke to church members worldwide.

During the closing session of LDS General Conference in October 2001, President Hinckley made a special note of her presence during the two-day event. "We very much appreciate her presence," he said.

Funeral services will be held Monday, Oct. 22, at noon in the Ensign Stake Center, 135 A Street in Salt Lake City.