Stephen Covey, who is known worldwide for the business and leadership principles that made him famous, was remembered Saturday as a devoted family man of unequivocal faith.
Multiple generations of Coveys shared how he had changed their lives as a father and a teacher.
"He believed in the immense worth and potential of everyone," recalled his brother, John Covey, during a memorial held at Utah Valley University. When asked about plans for his life, Covey once said, "I want to release human potential."
More than 1,000 friends and family attended Saturday’s service, including Gov. Gary Herbert, first lady Jeanette Herbert and President Henry B. Eyring, first counselor in the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It featured a choir of Covey’s more than 50 grandchildren.
Despite the success of his books, such as The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, and his leadership business, FranklinCovey, his nine children remembered the individualized attention and love each received from their father — whether it was flying in to attend a junior varsity football game or attending a "Star Wars" movie marathon.
Covey, 80, died July 16; he had been injured in a bike accident this spring.
In his final conversation with his father, Joshua Covey, the youngest child, echoed the sentiment his family universally felt. "I told my dad, I want to be just like him," the son said.
He was so well known and admired by the public that people were known to slide a copy of his famous book inside his bathroom stall trying to get an autograph.
Cynthia Covey, his eldest child, once asked her mother why her dad’s success had never negatively affected him. Sandra Covey, his wife of 55 years, pointed to his faith.
"He taught us the great secret to happiness is contribution, not accumulation," his daughter recalled.
Covey became the first mission president of Ireland when he was 29, a defining life experience. Some of his former missionaries sang at the UVU event.
"He was who you thought and hoped he was," said his son, Stephen Covey. "There wasn’t a discrete gap between what he said and what he did."
His favorite song was (To Dream) "The Impossible Dream," which was performed Saturday.
In a 2004 forward to his book The 7 Habits, Covey reflected on how all might live well.
"On a final personal note, I want to repeat a question I constantly pose in my teaching: How many on their deathbeds wished they’d spent more time at the office — or watching TV? The answer is, No one.
"They think about their loved ones, their families, and those they have served."
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