50 years ago today - Dec 26, 1973

[Harold B. Lee]
Harold Bingham Lee was the eleventh president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He was ordained president on 7 July 1972 and served until his death on 26 December 1973. This 538-day tenure is the shortest service by a Mormon Church president in history, this despite the fact that when he assumed the office at age seventy-three he was the youngest president of the church in nearly forty years. His major contributions to the church, as the first managing director of its welfare program and later as the organizer of the church correlation program, were made when he was still serving as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.

President Lee's impressive attainments resulted partly from his personal struggles. He had to overcome critics who were jealous of his "beyond his years" abilities; he learned to control a fiery temper and a quick, action-oriented disposition which early in his life offended some people. Especially in his later years, Lee was gentle in manner, compassionate, gracious, hospitable, and thoughtful of others. He was always a gentleman, impeccably dressed. At age seventy-four he served as though in the prime of life, with a rich, full voice and characteristic vigor. His sudden death on 26 December 1973 from cardiac and lung failure stunned the entire church.

[Utah History Encyclopedia: Harold B. Lee, http://www.uen.org/utah_history_encyclopedia/]

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