Pat Holland, LDS writer, faith leader and wife of apostle Jeffrey Holland, dies at 81

Holland died after a brief hospitalization, church officials said.

Patricia Terry Holland, an author, faith leader and wife of Latter-day Saint apostle Jeffrey Holland, died Thursday after a brief hospitalization. She was 81.

Her death was announced in a news release by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

“Pat will be remembered for her commitment to faith and service,” the church said in the release, “and for her love of family.”

Holland, born Patricia Terry, spent her early years in the tiny southern Utah town of Enterprise, where, according to a Brigham Young University biography, her days as a self-proclaimed “genuine farm girl” were marked by milking cows with her five brothers, driving a pickup truck and gathering potatoes each October.

At 16, she and her family departed the rural pastures of Enterprise for St. George, where, as a high schooler, she would meet her eventual husband.

Two years into dating, Jeffrey Holland was called to serve a British mission, and while he was away, Pat studied at LDS Business College (now Ensign College) and Dixie College (now Utah Tech University). A month after Holland’s return, the two were engaged, and a day later, Pat left for The Juilliard School in New York, where she studied as a voice and piano student.

The Hollands married in the St. George Temple in 1963 before moving to Provo so Jeffrey could continue his education. She would be known to most Latter-day Saints as Sister Holland, but Jeffrey called her Pat.

(The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) The Hollands on their wedding day in 1963.

After returning from New York, she supported Jeffrey as he studied at BYU and Yale University.

“She literally put me through school while she continued to go and had walked away from a musical career to come home and marry me,” Jeffrey Holland said in the news release. “I can’t overstate the incredible gift that a companion can give to another.”

They later became the parents of three children — Matthew, Mary Alice and David. (Matthew Holland served as president of Utah Valley University from 2009 to 2018, when he was called to serve as a mission president. He is now a general authority Seventy with the church.)

In 1980, Jeffrey was appointed to serve as president of Provo’s BYU, the church’s flagship campus, where Pat considered herself a mother-away-from-home to students pursuing their educational journeys.

“I want you to know that I know something of the anxieties with which you start school this year,” she told students in a September 1988 speech welcoming them to campus. “My deepest, my most earnest wish for you, is that you will approach this year with peace and self-assurance — that you will be more caring for yourself and as kind to yourself as you would be to a friend in need. You are in need, and you ought to be your own best friend.”

(The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) Elder Jeffrey and Patricia Holland on a trip in England in 2016.

From 1984 to 1986, Pat Holland served as a counselor in the church’s Young Women General Presidency. She had also served four separate times throughout her life as a Relief Society president.

Her book “A Quiet Heart” received the Association for Mormon Letters Award in 2000, and a dozen years later, Holland received the Distinguished Alumnus Award from LDS Business College.

This year, illness struck the Hollands.

Jeffrey was temporarily excused from his duties as an apostle as he underwent kidney dialysis and he and Pat suffered from the effects of COVID-19. Illness kept him from attending General Conference in April, but in June, he announced that he had begun slowly returning to work.

“Pat and I have been touched by the cards, notes, thoughts, and especially by the prayers you have offered in our behalf,” he wrote on Twitter. “Your sweet gestures during this demanding time have reminded us that God watches over us, that we can always trust in him, and that he very often answers our prayers through other people.”

Jeffrey has described Pat’s faith as having been as pure, powerful and as strong as that of anyone else he has known.

“She has given and given and given,” he said, “of her time and of her love all of her life.”

Read about the public funeral service here.

Tribune reporter Peggy Fletcher Stack contributed to this story.