The First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints released the following statement today on the passing of Eldred G. Smith, who served as Patriarch to the Church from 1947 to 1979:

The Church lost a valued friend and respected leader with the passing of Patriarch Eldred G. Smith. He was a man who lived a Christ-centered life as he faithfully served as Patriarch to the Church. We pray for the Lord’s blessing to be upon his family at this tender time.

Believed to be the oldest man in Utah, Elder Smith lived longer than any former General Authority.

President Thomas S. Monson visited Elder Smith on his 106th birthday January 9, 2013. “Eldred Smith is my good friend,” said President Monson. “We have traveled many miles together. I love and respect this man.”

Eldred G. Smith was called as Patriarch to the Church on April 10, 1947, by George Albert Smith.

Elder Smith is the last person to have held the position of Patriarch to the Church. The office originated in 1833 with the calling of Joseph Smith Sr., father of the Prophet Joseph Smith. Elder Eldred Smith is the great-great-grandson of the Prophet’s brother Hyrum. Elder Smith’s father, Hyrum Gibbs Smith, was Patriarch to the Church from 1912 until his death in1932.

As a descendant of Hyrum Smith, Elder Smith inherited several artifacts that he displayed on various occasions.

Elder Smith married Jeanne Audrey Ness in 1932; they had five children. Following her death in June 1977, he married Hortense Child; she was then serving as a counselor in the Young Women general presidency. She died in May 2012.