Tuesday, February 12, 2008

A Real-Life "Fairy Tale Romance"

I just read the most lovely description of a 'fairy tale' romance and decided I have to write it down, so I can reflect on it often and hopefully pattern my own marriage and family after it:

"Ruth Wright Faust, the widow of President James E. Faust of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, died Sunday morning at her home surrounded by her family of causes incident to age. She was 86. Her death comes exactly six months after her husband died.

"Surely his almost storybook romance is among the sweetest in the annals of the church," Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve, said at President Faust's funeral. "Ruth Faust adored James E. Faust—everything he did and said, every act or deed or gesture melted her. He felt the same way about her, and they were 'melted.'"

Ruth Wright Faust was born April 11, 1921, in the Millcreek area of Salt Lake City, the sixth of eight children of Elmer Wright and Elizabeth Hamilton Wright.

She met her husband-to-be while they were students at Granite High, but the two did not date until President Faust returned from his mission in Brazil and after he was called into military service in 1942.

The former classmates finally reunited when Sister Faust was working for her husband-to-be's uncle at the time in the fingerprint bureau at the state Capitol.

"Uncle Jim, I am sure, influenced his nephew, Jim, to pay him a visit at the office in order for him to become better acquainted with me and to see if he wanted to ask me for a date," she said. "I must have passed the test because I was invited to the Faust home for Sunday dinner for some of Father Faust's famous dutch oven chicken."

The meal must have worked. The pair later married in the Salt Lake Temple on April 21, 1943, while President Faust was on a brief military leave before a long journey in the Pacific.

The Fausts shared a deep love admired by both church leaders and their five children.

Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin of the Quorum of the Twelve once said, "Theirs is an absolute model of a beautiful marriage."

"My dad has always made it very clear how much he loves my mother and respects womanhood," daughter Lisa said in a 1995 church magazine article. "He has always treated her with a sweet tenderness."

Granddaughter Nicole recalled his reaction at Christmastime 1994, when the family gathered to watch President Faust open a portrait of his wife they had urged her to have taken as a gift for his office. As he unwrapped it "he pumped his fist in the air as he let out a Portuguese expression meaning 'wonderful!' Then family members became absolutely silent as he continued to look at the picture, and then he began to shake as tears rolled down his cheeks. He was so touched he couldn't speak."

It was his love for his wife, Ruth, and their family that held sway in his heart.

"With all my heart I want to thank Ruth Wright Faust for letting me share her life and giving me the hope that we can share eternity together," President Faust said in 1973 when he was called as an assistant to the Quorum of the Twelve. "She is more than a wife and a sweetheart because she has become part of my very being."

President Faust's most troubling concern during the last few weeks of his life was leaving his wife, Elder Holland said at his funeral. "As stillness finally settled over him the hardest thing for him was saying goodbye to Ruth."

"They were partners in life," President Thomas S. Monson said at President Faust's funeral. "They will be partners through all eternity."

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