Liahona
Tribute to a Seminary Principal

“Tribute to a Seminary Principal,” Liahona, March 2021

Latter-day Saint Voices

Tribute to a Seminary Principal

We often bless the lives of others without realizing it.

young woman shakes hands at interview

Photograph from Getty Images, posed by models

My husband, Jerry, had been in poor health for several years when he became seminary principal for the wards that met in our meetinghouse. I don’t think anyone knew how difficult it was for him to get up early every morning—especially during the dark, cold winter months—and go to our building. Sometime later, he passed away.

Several years after Jerry’s passing, I was surprised to receive a touching letter from a young woman who had moved away years earlier. She had tucked it into her wedding announcement. The letter read:

“I absolutely adored your husband and was so sad to hear he had passed away. He was the best seminary principal we ever had. Every morning he would wait in between the doors and open them as he wished everyone a good morning. After class, he would open the door again and say, ‘Have a good day at school!’

“I always made sure to say thank you and occasionally tell him how grateful we were to have him. I felt safer with him there.

“He was always so humble, and his kindness was recognized by all. I think my attendance was better because I didn’t want Brother Bergevin waiting in the cold, thinking I was on my way or I was late. He was an incredible man and he will always be remembered.”

I’m sure that Jerry had no idea anyone would still think of him so many years later. Yet this thoughtful young woman still did, and she was kind enough to send me this sweet letter, which I was grateful to receive.

The hymn “Each Life That Touches Ours for Good” (no. 293) begins with these lines:

Each life that touches ours for good

Reflects thine own great mercy, Lord;

Thou sendest blessings from above

Thru words and deeds of those who love.

I chose this hymn for Jerry’s funeral because I believe that we often bless the lives of others without realizing it. I know that Jerry blessed many lives with his generosity, service, and love.