90-Year-Old Sister Mary Hales Widow of the Late Elder Robert D. Hales Has Passed Away

On January 15, 2023, at the age of 90, Sister Mary Crandall Hales, the widow of the late Elder Robert D. Hales of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, passed away at her home in North Salt Lake. At Elder Hales’ funeral in October 2017, President Russell M. Nelson spoke to Sister Hales as “one of the noble and great women of this Church.” 

She has tirelessly helped, sustained, and cared for her forever friend. Thank you, Mary. You have our respect. We adore you, President Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints declared.

Mary Crandall’s parents, Gordon Crandall and Elene Clegg Crandall welcomed her into the world on August 6, 1932, in Salt Lake City. There were four children in her family: three brothers and a sister. Mary and her siblings were quite young when their family made the trip from England to California.

Mary attended Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, to study nutrition after finishing high school there. Mary Crandall’s family relocated to New York City when she attended Brigham Young University. When Mary was in New York to see her family, Elder Hales first spotted her boarding a bus. She and her family were new to the ward, so he wasn’t surprised to see her again the following Sunday at church.

90-Year-Old Sister Mary Passed Away
90-Year-Old Sister Mary Passed Away

During that summer, they started dating. Both she and he went back to their respective universities in Utah in the autumn. Robert was drained from working up to 60 hours a week and attending 18 hours of class each week. On several of his trips to see Mary in Provo, he would fall asleep on a sofa in the lobby on the way there, where Mary would be doing her schoolwork. The other girl in her dorm room said to her one night, “I don’t know what you see in that boy. All he does is sleep.”

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Indeed, Mary sensed potential in “Bob” Hales. On June 10th, 1953, they tied the knot in the Salt Lake Temple. Their names are Stephen and David, and they have two boys. “One of the qualities that impressed me when we were dating is that he listened to me. My feelings mattered to him, and they still matter,” Sister Hales told the Church News in 1994 when Elder Hales was called as an Apostle. “We don’t always agree, and we have our own minds, but I know he listens and values my opinion. That is very important to me.”

Elder Hales praised his wife, saying, “She has always been a big help to me,” in the same interview. A Quaker adage that she frequently uses is “Thee elevate me, and I lift thee, and we’ll climb together.” Teamwork is helping one another out and building each other up.

“After I met her, I never went out with anyone else,” continued Elder Hales. “We were together every evening after work for the first two months sharing family activities. She’d help me wash my car, and I’d help her babysit her brothers; it was as though we were never going to be apart.” Said Sister Hales: “We’ve always had a good time together. … Bob has a great sense of humor. He is very caring.”

At Elder Hales’ funeral, President Henry B. Eyring shared how he risked failing out of Harvard Business School in order to accept a call as president of the elder’s quorum. She informed him that after praying about it, she preferred a man with an active priesthood to a man with a master’s degree from Harvard. We’re going to accomplish both of them.

President Eyring said, “In their acceptance of that call, they were perfectly loyal friends of the Master.” So that Robert Hales would have a peaceful space to study, Sister Hales partitioned off a piece of the basement in their residence. Elder Hales acknowledged, “Without her, I would not be who I am today.” I care deeply about her. It’s clear that she possesses supernatural abilities. My wife has been the second most influential person in my life behind the Holy Spirit.

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The Hales family moved across the United Kingdom, Germany, Spain, and the United States as a result of Elder Hales’s job. The wise old man Hales gushed over his wife’s resilience and capacity to change.


The North Salt Lake house of Sister Mary Crandall Hales, the widow of the late Elder Robert D. Hales of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, was the scene of her passing on January 15, 2023. She was 90 years old.

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