Delbert L. Stapley
Delbert L. Stapley served as an Apostle of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for almost thirty years. His life, from its beginning in Mesa, Arizona, was dedicated to serving others.
Growing up, Delbert was an incredibly athletic child. He practiced and played baseball for years until he was offered a place on a Major League Baseball team at age 19. He turned down the offer to serve a mission in the southern United States. Immediately upon returning home, he joined the U.S. war effort and served as a marine in the First World War. He was not afraid to dedicate his time to causes larger than himself.
After the war, Elder Stapley married Ethel Burdette Davis in the Salt Lake Temple and continued his service to the Church. He made that service a focus in his life because of the peace and joy it brought him. At one time, a successful business career encouraged him to take time away from serving as superintendent of his stake’s Mutual Improvement Association. Although he complied for a short time, the absence of Church service made him miserable, and he corrected the mistake quickly.
This service also extended to the Boy Scouts of America; up until his death, Elder Stapley was a Scout leader. For his lifetime of work in the Scouting program, he was awarded the Silver Beaver, Silver Antelope, and Silver Buffalo awards.
Elder Stapley became an Apostle in 1950 after running into President George Albert Smith outside of an elevator in Hotel Utah, now known as the Joseph Smith Memorial Building. President Smith had been looking for him and extended the calling right then and there, an experience that he relates in his first general conference address. Over his years as an Apostle, Elder Stapley served on various committees and boards and bore powerful testimony of the divine nature of humanity and the importance of a gospel centered life in his BYU devotionals.