Her wisdom and shining example, her model of pure faith and sheer goodness live on.
Few women have influenced me for as long or with as much impact as did Sister Patricia Terry Holland.
Her influence began decades ago. During the 1980s, when she served both as a counselor in the Young Women general presidency and as first lady of BYU, she spoke frequently. Often this was in BYU’s Marriott Center in what became known, affectionately, as the “Jeff and Pat Show,” when she and her husband, BYU President Jeffrey R. Holland, shared the pulpit at BYU devotionals. I quickly learned to pay attention to anything and everything she had to say. She seemed so young but was so wise. Pat Holland had a way of looking at life, as well as teaching the gospel, that spoke to me. I found myself hanging on her every word.
As just one example of her depth and gospel insights, she articulated the vital impact women have in families, society and the Church in one brilliant sentence: “If I were Satan and wanted to destroy a society,” she said, “I think I would stage a full-blown blitz on women.”
That simple truth made my mind explode with new impressions. I was a young stake Relief Society president at the time, and I quoted her again and again to help the sisters of our stake appreciate the importance and gravity of their distinctive divine role. Pat Holland had a penchant for saying things that opened my eyes.
But her influence wasn’t confined to what she taught. It also radiated from who she was—a woman of grace, intellect, articulate persuasion and strength wrapped in meekness. A woman of sophistication who nonetheless always radiated warmth. A woman who had a backbone of steel when it came to standing for truth and doing what the Lord asked her to do. A woman of profound faith.
When she was called as a counselor in the Young Women general presidency—despite being married to a busy university president and having children at home—she said “yes” and somehow managed to cover all the bases. When President Gordon B. Hinckley asked her Apostle-husband to move to Chile for two years to preside over that area of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, she packed her bags and moved to a country where she didn’t know the language but where her love and compassion for the people transcended nouns and verbs. Later, when her health became frail, she approached her challenges with an eye of faith. Always faith.
Read the rest of Sheri Dew's tribute at Church News.