“Elder Alvin R. Dyer Dies,” Ensign, May 1977, 119
Elder Alvin Rulon Dyer of the First Quorum of the Seventy died recently at his home. He had served twenty years as a General Authority of the Church, since 1958 when he was called as an Assistant to the Council of the Twelve. He was 74.
At funeral services, held on March 9 (three days after his death) and conducted by President N. Eldon Tanner, First Counselor in the First Presidency, President Ezra Taft Benson of the Council of the Twelve said of Elder Dyer, “He has left this Church a great legacy of example and leadership.”
His leadership began when he was in high school and well known for his ability as a baseball pitcher. He set the example of what a young man of the Church should strive for when he laid aside his athletic activities to serve in the Eastern States Mission from 1922 to 1924. On his return, he had the opportunity of entering the professional ranks of baseball, but because it would have meant playing on Sundays he declined the offers, and instead he became a sheet metal journeyman studying mechanical drafting and technical engineering through a correspondence course.
Elder Dyer was married in the Salt Lake Temple to May Elizabeth Jackson on 2 June 1926.
In 1934 he became the manager of the heating and air conditioning department of Utah Builders Supply. Fifteen years later he formed the Dyer Distributing Company which he owned until 1954, when he was called to serve as president of the Central States Mission. At that time, he dissolved his business interests.
During these years, Elder Dyer gained stature as a leader by magnifying his many opportunities to serve in the Church. He served as first counselor in the Fifteenth Ward bishopric, Salt Lake Stake, from 1927 to 1934; Salt Lake Stake high councilor, 1934–40; Riverside Stake high councilor, 1940–42; Sunday School superintendent, Yalecrest Ward, Bonneville Stake, 1942–44; second counselor and then bishop in the Monument Park Ward from 1944 until his call as a mission president.
As mission president Elder Dyer was active in both the Missouri Historical Society and the Jackson County Historical Society. His involvement in historical research and his knowledge of the area were to pay rich dividends for the Church in later years on yet another assignment.
On his return from the mission field, Elder Dyer was called to serve as first assistant in the Young Men’s Mutual Improvement Association general presidency. On 11 October 1958 he was called as an Assistant to the Council of the Twelve. In this capacity he served as European Mission president from 1960 to 1962. While in Europe he helped negotiate the microfilming of genealogical records in Poland.
In 1967, Elder Dyer was ordained an apostle, although he was not a member of the Quorum of the Twelve. Subsequently he was set apart as a counselor in the First Presidency, and, said President Benson, “He had the blessing pronounced on him that he was to be a watchman over the consecrated lands in Missouri.”
President Benson said that in discharging this responsibility, Elder Dyer was instrumental in recommending the construction of a visitors center at Independence. “Today, it is one of our most influential centers.”
With the death of President McKay in 1970, Elder Dyer was released from the First Presidency and returned to his position as an Assistant to the Twelve, and he was then asked to oversee the work of raising missionary funds for those who would otherwise not be able to afford a full-time mission.
In 1972 he suffered a stroke that curtailed much of his activity, but he still accepted a call to serve as managing director of the Church Historical Department.
At the funeral service, Elder Marion D. Hanks of the Presidency of the First Quorum of the Seventy said, “In his wide-ranging and far-reaching ministry across the earth, Alvin Dyer has blessed many lives and lifted many hearts. He has done this with courage, with greatness, and with gentility.”