“Elder Duane B. Gerrard Of the Seventy,” Ensign, May 1997, 104
Elder Duane B. Gerrard, who retired on 1 April 1997 as a pilot has been called to serve in the Second Quorum of the Seventy. He is a former system manager of flight safety for Delta Airlines.
Born on 22 April 1938, Elder Gerrard grew up in Taylorsville, near Salt Lake City, and attended Utah State University. During his junior year he married his childhood sweetheart, Kay Bennion. After graduation Brother Gerrard joined the Air Force, where he trained as a pilot. One of his tours of duty was to Vietnam, where he flew 350 combat hours. His service with the Air Force also took him to Florida, Oklahoma, Hawaii, and finally back to Hill Air Force Base in Utah.
Upon leaving the Air Force, he began flying for Western Airlines, which eventually merged with Delta. While living in Kaysville, Utah, he was called to serve as stake president. Two years after that call, Western Airlines asked him to take over as vice president of flight operations in Los Angeles, and he commuted to southern California for two and one-half years, helping to put the airline on a solid footing while serving as stake president.
During this time he and his wife, Kay, raised their own four children and became foster parents to four other children whose parents, good friends of theirs, had died. “I had just designed and built a home with seven bedrooms,” he explains. “At the time we had only four children. But we had room for four more.”
The decision to take in four more children was made prayerfully, a pattern Elder Gerrard learned to apply early in his life. When he was 19, his father walked him to the car one night as Duane prepared to drive back to the university. Taking him by the shoulder, his father said, “Son, do you pray every day? On your knees and out loud?” Those were the last words he was to hear from his father, who died of a heart attack within a week.
“His words made a lasting impression on me,” says Elder Gerrard. “Every important decision we have made since has been through thoughtful, heartfelt prayer, and we have always received the proper answers.”
In 1989 the Gerrards moved to Atlanta, Georgia, where he served as stake president, then Regional Representative. After returning to Utah, Elder Gerrard was called to serve as an Area Authority in the Utah North Area.