Woolley Kimball, president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day
Saints from 1973 to 1985, was born in Salt Lake City on 28 March 1895
to Andrew Kimball and Olive Woolley. His grandfathers were Heber C.
Kimball and Edwin D. Woolley.
Andrew Kimball was designated president of the St. Joseph Stake in 1898,
the Kimballs moved to Thatcher, Arizona. After a mission to the central
states and marrying Camilla Eyring, Spencer worked in banking, and later
insurance and real estate. He served as clerk, and then counselor in
the St. Joseph Stake presidency, and was president of the new Mount
Graham Stake from 1938 until his call as an apostle in 1943. He was
assigned in 1945 to work with American Indians, and he devoted great
effort to improving opportunities for Native Americans through a program
whereby thousands of Indian children lived with Mormon families during
the school year.
December 1973 Kimball succeeded Harold B. Lee as president of the LDS
Church. Though he was seventy-eight, he set a brisk pace. Despite his
having suffered heart attacks in the 1940s, his energy was legendary
and he exemplified his slogans, "Lengthen our stride" and "Do it." Throat
cancer in the 1950s left him with a distinctive soft hoarse voice. He
encouraged missionary service by worthy young men and called for volunteers
among women and couples. He extended the church to communist countries
by avoiding political stances. Under his leadership temples increased
from sixteen to three times that many.