1987—Regional Executive Secretary
…Previous Church assignment: Clerk to Stake President W Mitt Romney
After President Williams completed his decade as Stake President, he was called as Regional Representative to supervise several stakes in northeastern North America. I think his title at first was “Regional Representative of the Quorum of the Twelve,” though it was shortened, after a while. Before his call, the Region had included, as I recall, some six or seven stakes, from Providence up into Maine. His predecessor, if I remember correctly, was Kay Whitmore, CEO of Eastman Kodak: I sat in and took minutes for one regional meeting that the Gordon hosted in Weston as Boston Stake President. He ended up with a larger territory, extending into New York State and all the way to Halifax, Nova Scotia.
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Elder Gordon H Williams
For a year or so, I served as President Romney’s Stake Clerk in Boston, and then Elder Williams—the new assignment came with a change of appellative title—called me as his Executive Secretary, and in that capacity I accompanied him for a while in supervisory visits to the constituent stake presidents and to stake conferences over which he often presided in the absence of a General Authority from Salt Lake. We usually drove together, except once when we flew to Halifax.* This was a very comfortable assignment, reminiscent of similar duties in the French and New England Missions.

Like my mission presidency assignments, this one contributed to Valerie’s premature virtual widowhood: I continued largely as a stranger and a visitor in The One True Ward. The next one wasn’t any better, in that respect.
A few times, when Gordon’s other commitments interfered with scheduled visits, he sent me to represent him. I recall being received kindly and cordially in Montpelier, Vermont, though by the time I was supposed to address the congregation, the appointed time had arrived to close the meeting. Which, of course, they did. I don’t believe I counted as the presiding officer, on those occasions.

It would have been convenient, from time to time, if I could have stood in for him in scheduled supervisory visits to stake presidents, but the idea sank like a stone when he broached it with the local folks.
*Terry Livingston, the Stake President in Halifax (he may have been the first in that capacity) confided that he really loved presiding there, inasmuch as “Nobody in Salt Lake has any idea where Halifax is.”
Next Church assignment: Branch President (1990)…
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