An ongoing series by The New York Times called “Those We’ve Lost” highlights people who have died due to the COVID-19 pandemic. One of these obituaries celebrates the life of Gary Pettus—former president of the Birmingham Alabama Temple and convert to the Church at age 27.
As reported by The New York Times, “In the late 1970s, missionaries knocked on their door and gave Mr. Pettus the Book of Mormon. He found time to read it during breaks at his maintenance job at a Ford Motor Company plant in Sheffield, Ala. Within months, Mr. Pettus converted.”
Following his conversion, Pettus served in a variety of church callings—stake president, senior missionary, high councilor, bishop, and pioneer trek leader. He was also an entrepreneur—creating his own plumbing and piping business and often waking up at 4 a.m. to begin each day.
An article from Deseret News offers additional insights into Pettus’s life and legacy. Pettus, who was 70 had served as temple president with his wife, Cheryl Rooks Pettus, serving as the temple matron since November.
“We thoroughly enjoyed this short little season,” Cheryl Pettus told Deseret News. “I look forward to the temple being reopened fully, because I’ll feel closer to him there probably than anywhere else.”
Read more about Gary Pettus in the article from The New York Times.