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President Hinckley: 'Just being his friend meant something'

Sixty-three years ago, Joseph S. Wood returned home to Salt Lake City after serving for two years in the British Mission. A few days later, he was invited with two other returned missionaries to a Sunday night gathering of the "Windsor Group," an informal group of young men who had all served in the British Mission during that time period. It was on that Sunday evening in 1937 that Brother Wood met a young Gordon B. Hinckley, who had returned from England in 1935. "By that time he had earned the appreciation of everybody who knew him," Brother Wood, now a member of the Parleys 1st Ward, Salt Lake Parleys Stake, related for the Church News.

Through the "Windsor Group," these brethren, including Elder G. Homer Durham (later a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy who died in 1985), forged friendships that have lasted more than six decades. It was during one such meeting a year ago that President Hinckley's tenderness as a friend was never more apparent to Brother Wood, who related the following:

"My wife [Janet] had passed away on her 80th birthday. We had a Windsor meeting within a month of her death. It was in the summer time. We had an outdoor meeting at the home of Paul Badger [also of the Windsor Group]. I was feeling the loss very deeply. As we were being seated, President Hinckley said to our host, 'Put Joe right next to me.' He didn't make a big notice of this, but he mentioned this to Paul. He was so soft. He was so sympathetic and so sweet. Of course, he's always been that way with everybody. But just being his friend meant something."

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