60 years of friendship, Utah man remembers President M. Russell Ballard
Nov 16, 2023, 11:49 PM | Updated: Nov 17, 2023, 11:24 am
PROVO – When you’ve lived as long as Dale Tingey, you only remember what matters most.
For Tingey, that’s his friends.
Next May, Tingey will turn 100 years old. He was much younger when he met President M. Russell Ballard.
The college friends met at a fraternity while studying at the University of Utah.
“It’s always a pleasure to be with him,” Tingey said.
The two went on double dates together and later formed a study group with about 25 of their college buddies. Those friends have stayed in touch ever since.
“He came by to my house about 30 days ago,” Tingey said.
Diane Toolson, Tingey’s daughter, had a front-row seat to their friendship.
Tingey founded American Indian Services and hosted galas annually – President Ballard almost always attended.
“I just hear him lean over and whisper in my dad’s ear and say ‘You know why I come to these Dale, don’t you? Because you are my friend and I want to support you,’” Toolson said.
In 2003, the college friends received their honorary doctorates from Brigham Young University together.
Pamela Atkinson was also awarded that day – a dear, long-time friend of President Ballard.
“I just felt he was an incredibly warm, loving man,” Atkinson said.
When her grandson decided to get married, Atkinson asked President Ballard to perform the ceremony and he did.
“I think he’s saved many souls around the world because of that love and caring,” Atkinson said.
President Ballard’s duties as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints meant he was busy traveling around the world to help others come unto Christ.
Yet, Atkinson and Tingey both said he always made time to remember his friends.
“He was a pleasant person, so it was always nice to be around him,” Tingey said.
After a recent brief hospital stay, President Ballard returned to his home where he attended to duties as he was able to before he died on Nov. 13 surrounded by loved ones. He was 95.
President Ballard’s funeral services are Friday at 11 a.m. at the Salt Lake Tabernacle on Temple Square, all are invited to pay their respects.