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Family history expert, 'someone who doesn't give up'

When one student walked in to speak with BYU professor George Ryskamp on the first day of class in the fall semester of 2000, she asked a question professors have heard many times before. The lovely white-haired woman — who had been early to class — was wondering if it would be all right if she missed a few days during the semester.

"I told her that as long as she was able to do her work I would work with her," the family history professor recalled, and then he asked why she would be missing class.

"She answered me by saying, 'I'm going to be traveling with my husband,' " he said. "I asked what her husband does, and she kind of smiled, and introduced herself as Donna Packer, indicating that she is President [Boyd K.] Packer's wife."

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