“Elder W. Douglas Shumway Of the Seventy,” Ensign, May 2003, 127
When you ask Elder Wilford Douglas Shumway what defines his family, it takes him about a split second to answer, “Loyalty.” Whether it is through the fourth generation working in a family business, or his daughter caring for his mother before her death, or his eight children caring for each other so he could serve as a mission president in Bolivia, Elder Shumway’s family is loyal to each other and to the gospel. With his call to the Second Quorum of the Seventy, his family has demonstrated the same immediate support of their father.
“There would be absolutely no way my wife and I could accept this call if it were not for the support of our family,” says Elder Shumway.
Elder Shumway, age 62, is the son of Wilford Jennings Shumway and Mabel Whiting Shumway. He was born on 8 May 1940 and grew up in Saint Johns, Arizona, where he first met his wife, Dixie Ann Jarvis. Their parents were close friends, and the two casually dated during high school. Elder Shumway went on a mission to Uruguay, and Sister Shumway went to Brigham Young University. When Elder Shumway returned, her parents encouraged her to give the good family friend a chance. She did, and they were married in the Mesa Arizona Temple in 1963. They have 8 children and 20 grandchildren.
They recently moved from Eagar, Arizona, to nearby Show Low, where their family business includes a hotel and car wash. Devastating wildfires struck the area last summer. Elder Shumway recalls that for three nights in a row, a television announcer stated the fire would be in Show Low by the next morning. The fire never reached the town, and the announcer finally said that there was a power at work higher than he had ever seen—he could not explain why the fire did not reach Show Low.
“Had it come through, I do not think I would be sitting here today,” says Elder Shumway. “It would have been devastating.”
His family and business were spared, and he is grateful for the new opportunity to serve. “I deem it a privilege to go out into the world and preach the gospel of Jesus Christ,” he says.