Frances Beverly Johnson Monson,
in the words of her husband, Thomas S. Monson
Frances Monson in 1964. Photo from Deseret News.
“The first day I saw Frances, I knew I’d found the right one.”
-Thomas S. Monson first saw his wife, Frances, at dance at the U of U. She danced away before he could talk to her, but a few months later he saw her again and determined within himself to take the courage to go meet her.
-They have three children together.
I thank my Father in Heaven for my sweet companion, Frances. This October she and I will celebrate 60 wonderful years of marriage. Although my Church service began at an early age, she has never once complained when I’ve left home to attend meetings or to fulfill an assignment. For many years my assignments as a member of the Twelve took me away from Salt Lake City often—sometimes for five weeks at a time—leaving her alone to care for our small children and our home. Beginning when I was called as a bishop at the age of 22, we have seldom had the luxury of sitting together during a Church service. I could not have asked for a more loyal, loving, and understanding companion.
President and Sister Monson share a tender moment. Photo from OsMormons.com.
From “Abundantly Blessed”
My sweet Frances had a terrible fall a few years ago. She went to the hospital. She lay in a coma for about 18 days. I sat by her side. She never moved a muscle. The children cried, the grandchildren cried, and I wept. Not a movement.
And then one day, she opened her eyes. I set a speed record in getting to her side. I gave her a kiss and a hug, and I said, “You’re back. I love you.” And she said, “I love you, too, Tom, but we’re in serious trouble.” I thought, What do you know about trouble, Frances? She said, “I forgot to mail in our fourth-quarter income tax payment.”
I said to her, “Frances, if you had said that before you extended a kiss to me and told me you love me, I might have left you here!”
Brethren, let’s treat our wives with dignity and with respect. They’re our eternal companions.
I have never known Frances to complain once of my Church responsibilities. I have been gone many days and many nights, and I have rarely been able to sit with her in the congregation. But there is no one like her—absolutely no one. She is in every way supportive and is a woman of quiet and profoundly powerful faith.
Kathleen Johnson Eyring,
in the words of her husband, Henry B. Eyring
Kathleen Johnson and Henry B. Eyring at their wedding. Photo from LDS.org.
“[She is] a person who has always made me want to be the very best that I can be.” (From "President Henry B. Eyring")
-Kathleen Johnson was attending summer school at Harvard when she met Henry B. Eyring, who was in his late 20s. Their oldest son described their courtship as “very romantic”—they played tennis together (she was captain of her high school tennis team), sailed on the cape, and enjoyed summer together after they met.
-When her boys (the oldest children) would fight, she would break out into singing hymns. Her boys would roll their eyes, but they would also stop.
-Her daughter remembers being surprised once by her mother with a drawer full of Skittles—they share an inherited sweet tooth.
On meeting his wife for the first time (from “Elder Henry B. Eyring: Molded by 'Defining Influences’”)
After that sunrise service, he saw a young woman coming out of a grove of trees. Not only was he struck by her beauty, but at that moment the words of President David O. McKay came to his mind: “If you meet a girl in whose presence you feel a desire … to do your best, … such a young woman is worthy of your love” (Gospel Ideals, Salt Lake City: Improvement Era, 1953, p. 459). “That was exactly how I felt as I saw Kathleen for the first time,” says Elder Eyring.
President and Sister Eyring after a session of conference. Photo from LDS.org.
On his wife’s influence (from “Elder Henry B. Eyring: Molded by 'Defining Influences’”)
Kathy was to prove to be more than a good wife and mother. She was to be another of those defining influences in the life of Henry B. Eyring. The best example of that happened when Hal had been teaching at Stanford for about nine years. It was a richly satisfying time in their lives. He was given considerable freedom to design the classes he taught at Stanford. He returned for one year to Boston as the Sloan Visiting Faculty Fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He had also entered the business world now, serving as an officer and director for Finnigan Instrument Corporation and becoming a founder and director of System Industries Incorporated, a computer manufacturing company. In the Church, he had taught early-morning seminary, served for a time in the bishopric of his own ward, and then was called as the bishop of the Stanford First Ward, a campus ward.
But that was all to change. “One night,” Elder Eyring reports, “Kathy nudged me and asked, ‘Are you sure you are doing the right thing with your life?’” He stops for a moment and then explains, “I was surprised. Now remember my situation. I have tenure at Stanford. I am the bishop of the Stanford ward. We are living next to her parents. I love what I’m doing. It’s like the Garden of Eden, all right? And then she asks me that question.”
“Couldn’t you do studies for Neal Maxwell?” she went on. Elder Eyring stops again. “You have to understand something. Neal A. Maxwell was the commissioner of education at that time. Kathy didn’t even know him. I didn’t know him.”
When asked about that night, Kathy is not sure what it was that brought forth that question. “We were very happy there,” she agrees, “but somehow I just felt like there was something more important that he should be doing. I knew that his teaching at Stanford was wonderful, but I felt there was something he could teach that could truly change lives.” She knew about the Church Educational System (CES) and somehow remembered that Neal A. Maxwell was the commissioner. Thus her comment.
It was enough. Hal determined he would pray about it. At first he got no answer, or so he thought. But it wasn’t long after that when the phone rang and Commissioner Maxwell, who apparently knew of Hal Eyring, was on the line asking if Hal could come to Salt Lake City. He went.
“I was at my parents’ house,” Elder Eyring recalls, “so Elder Maxwell came over there. The first words out of his mouth were, ‘Hal, I’d like to ask you to be the president of Ricks College.’”