Four Zinas
by Martha Sonntag Bradley
and Mary Brown Firmage Woodward

Chapter 18.
Zina Card Brown
Finale, 1946-74

“This love has become the benediction of our years together.”
—Hugh B. Brown

[p.467] Hugh and Zina purchased a white stucco house in Provo at 313 East 200 North in August 1946. Hugh, within the month, planted 250 tulip bulbs imported from Holland. Zina was delighted that the large living room accommodated the Chinese rug they had purchased in Glendale. By the time the furniture was in place and the draperies hung, it felt like home.

For Zina, this was a period of happiness and fulfillment. Sixty-eight years earlier her mother had taught at Brigham Young Academy on West Center Street before the Lewis Building, where it was located, was ­destroyed by fire. Nineteen-year-old Margaret and eighteen-year-old Carol enrolled for classes, making seven of her eight children who had attended Brigham Young University. And the eighth, Charles, graduated from the University of Utah in 1947. He taught one year in the Jordan School District, received a master’s degree in education from the University of Utah in 1949, a Ph.D from the University of Southern California, and became the principal of BYU’s Training School in 1951. Zina rejoiced in Hugh’s double assignment, and for the relationship he established with faculty and administrators. She enjoyed her own association [p.468] with other faculty wives and soon felt a part of her new Provo Fifth Ward Relief Society.

Hugh’s appointment was fortuitous both for him and the school. The Browns’ financial situation had been bleak for the last eight years. He desperately needed a job that would supply a decent income. Although BYU faculty salaries were far from munificent, it was more than his mission allowance. BYU, in turn, needed “someone with his military and religious insight to counsel the two thousand LDS servicemen who had enrolled,” according to Hugh. “Many were experiencing problems of faith … in harmonizing the idea of God with the atrocities they had seen during the war.”1

Hugh’s first semester was marred by a recurrence of tic douloureux which required surgery at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, New York, in November 1946. A section of the main trigeminal nerve was removed. The pain ceased, but the procedure left the right side of his face devoid of sensation, a result that caused drooling, a source of considerable embarrassment for the remainder of his life. He returned to his responsibilities gradually in 1947.

 Hugh was a little surprised at his popularity. “We had great success in that field; people wanted to get into my classes for some reason, and when I left, I had moved into the largest classroom they had—the auditorium in the Joseph Smith Memorial Building.”2 Zina was pleased with Hugh’s success, and supported his love of teaching despite the limited financial rewards. His faculty post did, however, make it possible for Carol to attend BYU on a tuition waiver.

Meanwhile, Margaret married twenty-three-year-old Salt Laker Clin­t­on O. Jorgensen, who had just finished his tour of duty in the navy. He eventually became an engineer. In August 1946 they lived within a few blocks of her parents and Carol at 313 East 200 North, while she and her husband attended BYU. Mary and Ed also lived in Provo at 73 North 500 East. Zola and Waldo were living in Downey, California.

Despite their finances, when Carol wanted a new dress for her first BYU dance, Zina found a way to provide it. She bought a maroon taffeta dress with short sleeves and a ballerina length skirt from Firmage’s Department Store. On another occasion, Zina was able to save enough money to buy Carol a straight grey wool coat at Firmage’s to surprise her. [p.469] Carol restrained her feelings about the coat—she hated it, but wore it from time to time to please her mother.

Zina was always gracious to Carol’s friends, offering them cookies, pies, and lively conversation. Whenever Carol went out on dates, Zina would turn on the flood light on the front porch to discourage inappropriate behavior.

On Mary’s thirty-second birthday, 8 August 1948, Zina hosted a dinner party at their Provo home to which she invited Adele Cannon Howells, then general president of the Primary Association, on whose general board Mary served. At that time Zina presented Mary with the pearl ring Hugh had given her on 12 June 1920, her own thirty-second birthday, and which Mary later gave to her granddaughter Zina Gloria Firmage (daughter of Ed and Gloria Firmage).3

Early in 1950 Hugh received a job offer from Ed Preston, of Richland Oil Company in Houston, Texas. Richland was moving into Alberta, Canada, where oil and gas had recently been discovered and needed someone who had practiced law in both Canada and the United States. Hugh explained that he was teaching at BYU and did not feel he could afford to leave. “I do not know what you are getting at the uni­versity,” Preston said, “but whatever it is, I will multiply it by ten if you will join us.”4 After discussing it with Zina and receiving her approval, Hugh went to Salt Lake City and conferred with members of the First Presidency who strongly urged him to accept Preston’s offer. “This ­development resulted in my financial emancipation. I had mortgages on my home and a large family, some still in school.”5 Hugh left for Edmonton in February 1950. Zina would follow when circumstances there ­permitted.

In a letter to Zola written in July 1950, Hugh observed, “Business here continues to be encouraging and I hope for such success as will enable me to do for my children what I have always wanted for them—security and relief from financial worries.” Two months later he confided in another letter:

I’m enjoying the work … [but] it keeps me away from Mother so much. In all our married life she has never complained once about being left alone—and she’s had more than her share of separation.

It is really wonderful that we should have our best years financially ­[p.470] after I have passed the retirement age. [He would turn sixty-seven the next month.] We both give thanks all the time to Him who has made it possible for us to make our loved ones happy. I feel the presence of other loved ones often when I am lonely. Perhaps this is the answer to a prayer that I have breathed often this year: “Please let my mother and my son who are with you be messengers to guide, inspire, caution and encourage so that I may be able to bless those whose welfare means so much to them and to me and I’ll divide every dollar I get.”6

Zina’s loneliness was somewhat mitigated when she visited Zola in Downey, California, in early October. Mary traveled to Edmonton in late October 1950 to adopt a baby boy and was able to visit her father at that time. He enjoyed his time with her and wrote Zola: “Mary and I had such good times together during her week of waiting. We ate together at the hotel, went to several shows, made calls on relatives and just visited with each other. … Mary is so happy with her baby, a sweet little fellow, and fortunately Ed is as anxious to take on this added responsibility as she is.”7

The separation endured through the fall, winter, and spring. At that point Zina sold their Provo home and joined Hugh during the summer of 1951. They rented a small home in Edmonton, then the following spring they bought a larger residence at 13511 101st Avenue. Zina Lou, husband Gar, and their two daughters moved from Pasadena to Edmonton and rented Hugh’s and Zina’s basement apartment. Gar, a civil engineer, helped with the oil drilling operations and Zina Lou served as the company secretary. Zina was happy to be with Hugh again and especially to have a daughter and grandchildren nearby.

“Mother keeps well and happy and the interlude in Canada has been good for both of us,” Hugh wrote to Zola in the spring of 1953. “We live over much of the past in memory and are most grateful for the family life we had when the children were at home.”8

Zina enthused that fall:

Today is bright and warmer than (or less cold, I should say) for many days. We cut all our gladiolus last night. … pale yellow with hearts of gold, two shades of pink, and royal purple. … Well my precious girl, I wish I could write as I think … Then you would get daily letters. You darlings all wrote about the same time so I’m answering according to dates. … Oh, I [p.471] just feast on the letters from you children. And you are all so good to write us.9

The contentment of these letters gave no hint of the next change that was about to occur. A few days prior to the October general conference of the church, Hugh, only a few days away from his seventieth birthday, felt depressed. Unable to identify the cause, he went into the mountains to pray. When he returned home, he refused dinner and told Zina he would occupy the guest room so as not to disturb her. Zina, sensitive to his moods, agreed, but her prayers must have been long and sincere for him that night. As Hugh later told the story, he spent the night “wrestling” with a powerful sense of evil:

The room was full of darkness, and an evil spirit prevailed, so real that I was almost consumed by it. About three A.M. I was barely able to call to my wife. She came in and asked what was the matter. Upon closing the door, she said, “Oh Hugh, what is in this room?” And I replied, “The devil.” We spent the balance of the night together, much of it on our knees. The next morning upon going to the office. … I knelt in prayer again and asked for deliverance from the evil spirit. I felt a peaceful spirit come over me and phoned my wife. That night while I was taking a bath about ten o’clock, the telephone rang and she called to me, “Salt Lake City is calling.”

Upon going to the phone, I heard a voice which said, “This is David O. McKay calling. The Lord wants you to spend the balance of your life in the service of the Church. … You are to become an Assistant to the Twelve.”10

Hugh’s memoirs record a muted but sincere response: “Although Mother and I had spent a wakeful night the night before, and a terrible night it was, this night we stayed awake as well, but rejoicing in the thought that the Lord would reach out to touch us in time of need. We were not seeking for position or place but were happy with the thought that we might be able to serve the Lord and His Kingdom.”11

Hugh was sustained on 4 October 1953 by President David O. McKay who told him that if he would be true and faithful there would be other callings. Telegrams and letters of congratulations flooded in, but it [p.472] was the letters from their children that Hugh and Zina most prized. Zina’s joy illuminates her answer to Zola:

Zola, my beloved Daughter:

How I long to talk to you so that we could rejoice together. Love your grand letters to us both. Only I’m not half as wonderful as you say. But will just keep on trying to be what you precious children feel I am. … My thoughts fairly stutter I am so full of joy and gratitude—and plans. Yes, the Big Move back to “Home Sweet Home” will soon be taking place … A wonderful thing has come, in addition to Daddy’s great call to the Council. It is that his first conference to take part in is Lethbridge! He’s so pleased and especially so as our loved Harold B. Lee requested it.

 Zola, I think you know what this means to Daddy and your Mother. I feel like I should be on my knees all the time. I am, inwardly. Like you, my first thought when the word came was to go to my bedroom and kneel in prayer to give thanksgiving to Him. …

Every one of you children has phoned. … Phone calls and telegrams are still coming … and stacks of letters. Oh, it is wonderful!—all of it.12

They purchased a house at 1117 Alpine Place in Salt Lake City, just off 900 South and Gilmer Drive, which Zina referred to as “our castle on the hill.” Later they moved to the Eagle Gate apartments and finally to 1002 Douglas Street, in the Garden Park Ward. When they first moved in, the small colonial revival cottage was covered with vines. While in California, they had purchased a large oriental carpet, which was now too large for their new living room. Because they loved the carpet so much, they enlarged the living room to the west, almost doubling its size. Two main level bedrooms, a formal dining room, and a small kitchen provided all the space the two need. The basement included a large guest bedroom, a storage closet, and a laundry room.

For the next thirteen years, Zina often accompanied Hugh as he fulfilled church assignments in various parts of the world, and she was frequently called on to speak briefly. Initially intimidated, she eventually overcame her stage-fright and took great pleasure in sharing her faith.

Paul Felt, who was a counselor in a stake presidency in Cedar City, Utah, recalls Hugh and Zina visiting their stake conference. Without previous notice, the stake president called upon Zina to bear her testimony. As she stood at the podium, she told of her love for the Book of [p.473] Mormon, explained that she had made a practice of reading it daily, and expressed her love for the words found in 3 Nephi 17, which recounts Jesus’ blessing the children of the Nephites. From memory she began to quote that chapter. Felt opened his copy of the Book of Mormon and followed as she recited it word for word. When she sat down, Hugh whispered to her, “I didn’t know you had memorized that chapter,” to which she responded, “I hadn’t. The Lord heard my silent prayer and blessed me.”13

A special opportunity was the invitation to represent President David O. McKay at the laying of the cornerstone of the New Zealand temple. Hugh and Zina left Salt Lake City on 5 December 1956, then followed up the cornerstone laying with a three-month tour of missions including Hawaii, Fiji, New Zealand, and Australia. In nearly every conference, Zina was invited to speak, testifying of God’s goodness. Their hosts in New Zealand were President and Sister Ariel Ballif, and the four became lasting friends. In Tasmania, Elder Earl C. Tingey, then a young missionary and later a general authority, was their guide for a few hours of sightseeing.

Hugh’s health was good and his spirit strong during the first five years of his service. At April’s general conference in 1958, he was sustained as an apostle and ordained to that office on 10 April. In a birthday note to Zola five days afterwards, Zina wrote: “My joy was so great—a real shock of joy—that I’m just getting over being stunned by it. And now it looms so large and so beautiful, and so great that my life has been illumined anew and I feel like I had had a glimpse into heaven. … Daddy is almost overcome with the wonder of it all.”14 Hugh’s happiness was the sustaining breath of life for Zina.

Hugh and Zina celebrated their fiftieth wedding anniversary on 12 June, then, accompanied by Zina Lou, Zola, and Mary, attended the ded­ication of the London temple on 7 September. Upon returning they decided that it made sense to choose a home closer to Hugh’s downtown office that would also be easier to maintain. Late in the fall of 1958, they moved to the Eagle Gate Apartments, half a block from the Church Administration Building. Hugh enjoyed coming home for lunch and for a short nap. But it became apparent that their “cozy little love nest,” as Zina called it, would not accommodate visits from children and grandchildren. [p.474] In early 1960 they purchased a home at 1002 Douglas Street, with a living room large enough for their Chinese rug.

They were enjoying a quiet evening at home on 21 June 1960 when eighty-eight-year-old President David O. McKay telephoned, asking that Hugh come to the president’s office the following morning. There he explained that “because of the illness of President J. Reuben Clark, Jr., and the volume of work that was dependent on the First Presidency, he felt it necessary to call an additional counselor.”15

Less than four months later, at Clark’s death, McKay invited Hugh to serve as his second counselor. Zina accompanied him to one of the first functions following his new calling—the dedication of the Ogden Stake Center. Then President McKay and his wife, Emma Rae Riggs McKay, invited the Browns to dine with them in the old McKay home in Huntsville, where the president had spent his childhood and adolescence. Commented their biographers, “More than a half-century before, these two charismatic men and exemplary women had enjoyed a camping trip together at Waterton Lakes, Alberta … and now they were linked together in a relationship of profound importance to the Church.”16

Although Zina and Emma Rae had not been much more than social friends before church work brought them and their husbands together, as couples, the McKays and the Browns were members of the same church history study group. The two women were similar in their values and orientation. Both had given priority to building a marriage. Both were married to handsome, capable men whose devotion was legendary. Both had raised large families (Zina eight children, Emma Rae seven), and both had suffered the death of a son. Both had focused their own talents on supporting their husbands’ missions, and both were role models for young Mormon women. They were kindred spirits and had lived lives blessed by harmonious marriages.

Their reward was the adoration of their husbands and the public tributes both men sought opportunities to deliver. For instance, at the Relief Society general conference on 27 September 1961, Hugh affirmed woman’s paramount roles as mother, homemaker, and equal partner with her husband. In conclusion, he quoted Zina’s poem “Woman Exalted.” She was touched by Hugh’s tribute and felt humbled by his thoughtfulness.

[p.475] Hugh told another church group: “It presents difficult problems when husbands and wives disagree with one another. In my own life, my wife has upheld and sustained me in decisions I have felt I have had to make for the benefit of the family. I have always tried to discuss these decisions with her fully. Her advice and intuition have invariably helped me to make the right decision. The answer to problems is usually a reformation of behavior and attitudes on the part of spouses. It is never easy, but it can be done.”17 His own marriage served as a model for thousands.

For their fifty-first wedding anniversary in June 1959, the intensity of Zina’s gratitude led her into poetry:

It is a precious story —
The life that we have led,
Of God’s great goodness to us,
Since the year that we were wed.

Eight times into the “Valley”—
But reaching heights sublime,
Our children came to bless us,
Yours, my love, and mine.

Always a proud father,
As each one came along,
Always you shared with me,
My joyous mother-song.

We were so very young, dear,
Those many years ago
When each of us pledged kneeling,
Our sacred words “I do.”

It was a prophet of our Lord
Who sealed us kneeling there;
Though the day began in storm outside,
When we rose the world seemed fair.
Fifty-one years ago today,
O darling Hugh of mine,
Since we were made as one,
Ever I am truly thine.

[p.476] Your tender love, protecting care,
And understanding ways,
Have made each year for me
A sheaf of garnered days.

How golden are these days, dear heart,
How better could they be
As we go hand in hand, My Love,
Into eternity.

When we pass through that door called Death
To be but born anew
As you so oft have painted fair,
The scene to meet our view,
We’ll see our loved ones gone before
And greet again our Hugh.

Oh may our circle be complete
And not one left in “Lesser Light,”
But carry on until we meet
And all obtain Celestial might.

Endless joy and endless work,
And great things yet to do
Will find us hand in hand, dear heart,
Your Zina and my Hugh.18

In her own words, here Zina celebrates the three cornerstones of their relationship: their faith, their children, and their love.

Hugh’s new responsibilities were a continuation of those he was already performing as an apostle and an additional counselor. Zina had no church calling—except as a visiting teacher—and was free to travel with him. She fussed over his health, made sure he always had a hot meal no matter when he returned from meetings, cleaned his clothes, and had them ready for packing at a moment’s notice. Their social life included other general authorities, friends from the 1940s, and special occasions attached to Hugh’s official assignments.

Zina also accompanied Hugh when he toured the church’s mission in South Africa, which included a visit to the renowned Kruger National [p.477] Park. In a letter to Mary, she wrote, “As I stood on the high balcony and watched the dawn break over the plain and observed the different magnificent animals greet the day, I thought that Mother Eve must have felt as I, for this is truly a Garden of Eden.”19 In early 1962 they flew to Pittsburgh where Hugh, by invitation, spent two hours explaining LDS organization, history, and doctrine to the students of the Presbyterian Theological Seminary.

Because of their ties to Canada, they had frequent opportunities to return there on assignment. Zina bore her testimony at the dedication of a new stake center in Edmonton and proudly watched during celebrations commemorating the seventy-fifth anniversary of Cardston’s founding when Hugh shared the platform with Canada’s Prime Minister John Diefenbaker on 4 July 1962. As one of the first children to be born in the village that bore her father’s name, she was invited by the Lethbridge Herald to write a feature article for the anniversary edition.

During these years Zina’s newsy letters to the children report a busy schedule, as well as a developing reflective note, filled with memories of what they had shared during their life as a family. As a mother, Zina never missed an opportunity to build up her children. When Zina Lou turned forty-six, Zina wrote: “Zina, you are a mother in a million! I love and admire you in your calling of motherhood.”20 Two years later, she wrote tenderly, “Each day I think of you as you are today—the embodiment of all that our hearts could wish in everything that is good and fine. For this blessing my heart is full to overflowing.”21 Mary was ill on her forty-­ninth birthday when she received Zina’s letter expressing trust in the Lord’s healing power and Hugh’s prayers:

Mary, My Darling Daughter:

This is such a special Day to me, my heart and thoughts are with you. My prayers are for you with a request to my Heavenly Father for the healing of your dear tired body. Daddy and I are fasting for you … and [you] will have our prayers. …

I cannot but relive that day nearly a half century ago when God entrusted to us the clothing in mortality of your Precious Spirit. Oh, how we thank Him! … I ever pray to be worthy of you, my Mary. To me “Mary” is the most beautiful of names—the name of our Lord’s Mother. …

[p.478] AFTER OUR PRAYER—You will be better. Daddy’s prayer for you was glorious. … My heart is brimful of Mother love for you.22

In May 1966, Zina undertook the “trip of a lifetime”—first, to England with Carol and Margaret to dedicate a chapel in Norwich, Hugh’s old mission field, then to Istanbul with Zina Lou, Zola, and Mary, and finally a family excursion to Egypt and the Holy Land. Anticipation was high, and they thoroughly enjoyed the first part of the voyage; but Margaret suffered an attack of recurring deep depression which made it impossible for her to continue. Hugh and Zina canceled the rest of their vacation and returned with her to the United States where she was hospitalized in Salt Lake City. Carol flew alone to Istanbul where she, Zina Lou, Zola, and Mary finished the trip, their letters home striving to make up what the others were missing.

Zina and Hugh resumed their hectic schedule of activities. Then, in August, while home, Zina suffered a massive stroke. She hovered between life and death. Hugh stayed in the hospital room across the hall, and when her death seemed imminent he hurried to put on a fresh white shirt and tie “So I will be worthy of her presence as she passes through the veil,” he later told his daughter Mary. Apostle Harold B. Lee promised her that she could choose either to slip peacefully into the next life or stay. Although she seemed comatose, a slight smile curved her lips, reassuring Hugh and her children that she understood. She decided to stay.

In making that decision, Zina was effectively choosing eight years of severe physical limitations that kept her bedfast for much of the time. Although she could not speak, when her grandson Ed Firmage and his wife Gloria placed their newborn daughter at her side in the hospital bed, her eyes beamed her gratitude as they told her that this was one more little girl who would be known as Zina.

During her mother’s convalescence, Zina Lou moved from Phoenix to Salt Lake City to care for her parents. A few times, accompanied by one of her daughters, Zina was able to attend general conference and sit in the chair reserved for her among the other general authority wives, where Hugh could draw strength from seeing her.

Their children were living throughout the country. In addition to Zina Lou in Phoenix, Zola and Waldo lived in Downey, California, [p.479] where Zola was president of her stake Relief Society; LaJune and her husband, Jerry Hay, resided in Honolulu; Mary and Edwin were the closest in Provo; while Carol and her husband Douglas Bunker lived in Buffalo, New York; and Charles and Grace were in Glendale, California. After her first stroke, Zina was able to talk some and move about. Her doctor started her in a physical therapy program, but Zina quickly became discouraged and instead sat quietly in her chair.

Additional strokes within the year eventually confined her to bed. The second stroke, by far the most debilitating, rendered Zina’s entire body inert. To make her more comfortable, Hugh transformed their dining room into a bedroom with windows in three walls. He painted the walls a pale pink and placed her bed in the center where it would be easy to care for her. At this point, each child would sit at her bedside and talk with her. A nurse stayed with her during their absence. Even though it was difficult for her to speak, she expressed her love with her eyes. When Mary asked her what lesson she thought the Lord was trying to teach her, Zina haltingly replied with a flash of her old wit, “Patience. And I’ve learned it!”

Hugh’s health began to wane as Parkinson’s disease took its toll, but he did well for a man in his mid-eighties. He anguished over Zina’s debility but was grateful for each new day they spent together. Whenever he was out of town, “she wilted like a flower out of water,” he said. Finally, she slipped peacefully away on 19 December 1974, at age eighty-six.

Zina’s funeral service on Monday, two days before Christmas, was attended by most of the general authorities, eager to recognize her role in her husband’s success. Speakers included the First Presidency—Spencer W. Kimball, Nathan Eldon Tanner, and Marion G. Romney. Each spoke of the contribution she had made to their lives and the life of the church. “She was an elect lady,” one commented. “Sister Zina Card Brown departed this life, having successfully passed her final and perhaps most challenging test. She endured to the end with sweet tranquility and patience. … She never lost her faith. To come into her presence was to feel the spirit of the Lord and to sense her gentle spirit of love and faith. It can be said of her truthfully that she taught us all how to live and how to die with dignity and poise.”23

[p.480] The fourth speaker was Elder Marvin J. Ashton, their former missionary and her dear friend’s son. “She was one of the loveliest ladies I know,” he said sincerely.

We never outgrow the need of a mother and … she was affectionately known as Mother to the missionaries of the British Mission. … She appeared as an angel even to the last. … Some of us are today where we are today because of two mothers. … I have tried to think what single trait of leadership was peculiar to Sister Brown. … She expected us to be good missionaries. She expected us to be happily married … What a joyful example.24

Marion G. Romney called the service a “sacred meeting” and characterized Zina as “meek” with a “tranquil spirit.” He attributed the fulfillment of two scriptures to her:

She possessed the virtue which Jesus ascribed to himself when He said, “Take my yoke upon you and learn of me, for I am meek and lowly in heart and ye shall find rest unto your souls.” … He has assured us that such souls as Zina will have an inheritance on this earth when it has become celestialized. … I think that Zina fulfilled the charge of Peter when he said, “Ye wives, be in subjection to your husband. Let not your adorning be that outward adorning … but let it be of the heart in that which is not corruptible even the ornament of the meek and quiet spirit which in the sight of God is of great price … She was always in all respects a lady.25

N. Eldon Tanner confessed that he had “never known a person more patient and … serene. … She brought out the very best in her family. … Socrates observed that all men’s souls are immortal, but the souls of the righteous are both immortal and divine. I assure you that she is one of the exalted in the Kingdom of Heaven.”

President Spencer Kimball, the concluding speaker, quoted a pioneer funeral hymn:

Sister, thou wast mild and lovely
Gentle as the summer breeze,
Pleasant as the air of evening
When it floats among the trees.

He then commented:

[p.481] Whoever wrote this song must have written it for Sister Brown. When I think of Sister Brown as we have known her these past years, I think of an angel of patience, of calmness and tranquility, of faith and serenity, of peace—the perfect lady and a beautiful queen. … Where are you now, Sister Brown? … You are in a holy place, with wonderful surroundings and delightful associations.26

As always, Zina’s truest tribute came from her husband. Nearing the end of his own life, Hugh reflected on the constancy of Zina’s devotion:

But for Zina’s love and confidence and loyalty, I know that I should have yielded at times to discouragement and felt that nothing was worthwhile. Her love for me[,] and mine for her[,] and ours for the children has been a beacon which has kept alive a desire to carry on and make good. Now that we are grown old and the children have left us, this love has become the benediction of our years together. Ambition has cooled, desire for place or great wealth is gone. Life’s richest treasures are ours, and some of the trials of the past have been for the purpose to help us see real values.27

On 2 December 1975, not quite one year later, Hugh followed his beloved Zina to the blissful reunion they had both longed for.


1. Eugene E. Campbell and Richard D. Poll, Hugh B. Brown: His Life and Thought (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1976), 189.

2. Edwin B. Firmage, ed., An Abundant Life: The Memoirs of Hugh B. Brown (Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 1988), 108-109.

3. Zina Lou married Guardello Parry Brown (a distant cousin) on 26 September 1941 and they had two daughters, Zina Elizabeth and Mary Frances; Zola married Rulon T. Jeffs on 1 June 1934 and bore him two sons, Richard and Daniel. They divorced when Rulon became affiliated with a polygamous group. She married Waldo G. Hodson who adopted Richard (Daniel chose not to be adopted by Waldo). Together they had a daughter, Zola Marie. LaJune married Clayne L. Munk on 30 August 1937 and bore him two daughters, Marylin and Jacqueline. She later married Jerald Hay. Mary married Edwin R. Firmage and bore him one son, Edwin B. Firmage. They later adopted Judith Ann, Marty, and Hugh David. After Edwin R. died on 4 April 1986, she married Ralph Woodward. Hugh C. died 16 March 1942 during World War II. He had been engaged to Gwen Low. Charles Manley married Grace Vivienne Bowns on 7 February 1944 and they had five children. Margaret married Clinton O. [p.482] Jorgensen 16 August 1946 and they had four children. Carol married Douglas Bunker on 19 September 1952 and they also had four children: Douglas Bryan, Linda Carol, Sharon Lynne, and Hugh Craig Bunker. They divorced in 1969. She married George Tadje Sonntag on 18 September 1972.

4. Firmage, An Abundant Life, 111.

5. Ibid.

6. Hugh B. Brown, Letter to Zola Brown Hodson, n.d. September 1950, in possession of Zola B. Hodson.

7. Hugh B. Brown, Letter to Zola Brown Hodson, 8 November 1950.

8. Hugh B. Brown, Letter to Zola B. Hodson, 9 April 1953, in possession of Zola B. Hodson.

9. Zina Card Brown, Letter to Zola B. Hodson, 1 October 1953, in possession of Zola B. Hodson.

10. Campbell and Poll, Hugh B. Brown, 218-19.

11. Ibid., 222.

12. Zina Card Brown, Letter to Zola Brown Hodson, 7 October 1953, in possession of Zola B. Hodson.

13. Paul Felt, interviewed by Mary Woodward, 30 January 1997, Provo, Utah.

14. Zina Card Brown, Letter to Zola B. Hodson, 15 April 1958, in possession of Zola B. Hodson.

15. Campbell and Poll, Hugh B. Brown, 239.

16. Ibid., 240.

17. Firmage, An Abundant Life, 119.

18. Zina Young Card Brown, “On Our Fifty-First Wedding Day,” 17 June 1959 (punctuation standardized), copy in the possession of the authors.

19. Zina Card Brown, Letter to Mary Brown Firmage, n.d., holograph, in authors’ possession.

20. Zina Card Brown, Letter to Zina Lydia B. Brown, 19 July 1955, Salt Lake City, Utah, copy in authors’ possession.

21. Zina Card Brown, Letter to Zina Lydia B. Brown, 21 July 1957, Salt Lake City, Utah, copy in authors’ possession.

22. Zina Card Brown, Letter to Mary B. Firmage Woodward, 8 August 1965, copy in authors’ possession.

23. Funeral transcript, copy in authors’ possession.

24. Ibid.

25. Ibid.

26. Ibid.

27. Ibid.