President Spencer W. Kimball was born in Salt Lake City, Utah, in 1895. His service as the 12th president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints continued a powerful legacy of leadership in the church.
His two grandfathers, Heber C. Kimball and Edwin D. Woolley, both served the church for decades in important callings. The Nauvoo, Illinois, homes of his paternal grandparents, Heber C. Kimball and Ann Alice Gheen, are still extant.
Spencer’s father, Andrew Kimball, was called to replace Christopher Layton (after whom Layton, Utah, was named) as president of the St. Joseph Stake in the Gila Valley of southeastern Arizona. That calling necessitated a move to Arizona when Spencer was 3 years old. The home that the Kimball family built in Thatcher is still extant with an interpretive plaque on the property.
Spencer was baptized in a hog-scalding tub on his eighth birthday. However, some wondered if the baptism was valid because the baptizer was not in the water with him. Spencer was baptized a second time to make sure all was done properly (see "Spencer W. Kimball," by Edward L. Kimball and Andrew E. Kimball Jr., page 33).
Locals perpetuate the tradition that a canal that runs close to the former Kimball home is the Union Canal of Spencer's day, the site of the second baptism.
As a child, Spencer lost several siblings to death. Even that could not prepare him for the shock when, as an 11-year-old boy, Spencer was taken out of school and informed by his bishop that his mother had passed away. No longer could he walk in the house and call for his “Ma,” just to know that she was home (see "Spencer W. Kimball," page 46-48).