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Posted 03 Sep 2001   For week ended August 31, 2001
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Sent on Mormon-News: 29Aug01

By 'Morgan B. Adair'

Memorial Service Held for Eugene England

PROVO, UTAH -- Hundreds of friends, students, and family members of Eugene England gathered Saturday, August 25, in the Provo Tabernacle to pay tribute to the writer and scholar. England, 68, died of brain cancer Friday August 17, and was buried the following day in a private ceremony.

George Eugene England, Jr. taught and was dean of academic affairs at St. Olaf College, Northfield, Minnesota, then spent 22 years teaching in the English Department at BYU, retiring in 1998. He then accepted a position as writer-in-residence at Utah Valley State College and founded a Mormon Studies program at UVSC, the first at any university. He was the author of numerous books, essays, and articles, including a biography of Brigham Young, and essay collections "Making Peace," "Why the Church is as True as the Gospel," and "The Quality of Mercy." He was a co-founder of the LDS intellectual journal "Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought" and served on the board of the Sunstone Foundation.

Family members and fellow writers at the memorial service spoke of England's commitment to both the intellect and the spirit, reason and inspiration, along with his love for the Church and his dedication to making it better. Bert Wilson, an associate in the BYU English Department, in a tribute read by Tom Dickenson, said that England sought to make the Church and its members "more loving, more accepting of differences, more Christlike." England's daughter, Jody England Hansen, said, "He saw God in all of us."

Another daughter, Katherine England, and two young granddaughters told of the family's "storytelling tree," where England loved to tell his children and grandchildren stories of Beowulf and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.

Levi Peterson, author of the novel, "The Backslider," compared himself to the backsliding protagonist of his novel, saying, "As for celestial reward and glory, it would seem that a backslider should expect little. . . . Still I somehow expect that if, after I have awakened from the darkness of death into the miraculous light of eternal life, I need someone to speak a good word for me, Gene will step forth to do it. I know I can rely on Gene to assert that my soul is more worthy than I ever imagined."

Doug Thayer, England's friend and colleague in the BYU English department, spoke of England's love for fly fishing. He reminisced of some of their outings together and said that England's preference for the longest fly rod is a metaphor for the length of his aspirations.


Memorial Service Held for Eugene England
By Morgan B. Adair 29Aug01 A2


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