The thirteenth president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) from 1985 until his death and was United States Secretary of Agriculture for both of the administrations of U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower.
On October 7, 1943, both Benson and Spencer W. Kimball (1895–1985) became members of the church's Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, filling two vacancies created by the deaths of apostles that summer. Because Kimball was the older of the two, he was given seniority over Benson in the Quorum. Succession to the presidency of the church is by chronological order of ordination to apostleship, allowing Spencer W. Kimball to become president of the church years earlier than Benson. Upon Spencer W. Kimball's death in 1985, Benson became the president of the church.
Benson suffered poor health in the last years of his life from the effects of blood clots in the brain, strokes, and heart attacks, and was rarely seen publicly. He was hospitalized in 1992 and 1993 with pneumonia.
Benson died of congestive heart failure in his Salt Lake City apartment at the age of 94. Funeral services were held June 4, 1994 in the Salt Lake Tabernacle under the direction of Gordon B. Hinckley. He was buried near his birthplace in Whitney, Idaho, at the Whitney City Cemetery.
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