Shaping the future president of BYU-Idaho


Henry J. Eyring sat in silence as the dark silhouette of his mother descended the basement stairs. Her flowing white nightgown and the glint of steel were softly illuminated by the old television set playing Saturday Night Live in the dark basement.

“My memory is that it was a kitchen knife; she claims it was scissors,” Henry J. Eyring said.

He said sparks flew as the power wire was cut by the mysterious steel object, and he sat in fear as his mother ascended the stairs, all without uttering one word.

He said his brother, Stewart, quickly found an old broken vacuum, rewired the television and had it working after only missing one skit.

The next Monday, after Henry J. Eyring had returned to school at BYU, he said his brothers came home to find the TV on the floor, with a crack on the screen. Their mother insisted a dusting accident had claimed the life of the television.

Henry J. Eyring, the future 17th president of BYU-Idaho, recalled that there was no television in his parent’s home for 20 years following the incident.

Kelly Eyring, Henry’s wife, said she remembered a lot of conversation in the Eyring home, rather than TV watching.

“His dad would play 20 questions a lot with us or Trivial Pursuit; there were a lot of games and a lot of conversation because people weren’t running off to be in front of the TV,” Kelly Eyring said.

Henry J. Eyring said that custom carried into his and Kelly’s family when they were married.

“Probably for the first 10 years of marriage, we just had this little setup where only one person at a time could watch, and the antenna broke, and we put a fork in it,” Henry J. Eyring said.

Henry and Kelly Eyring first met near the end of the Bountiful High School back to school dance, or “stomp” as it was referred to then.

Kelly Eyring said her friends had left, and he asked her if she would stay for one more dance.

“I saw her and asked her to dance and didn’t let go,” Henry J. Eyring said.

Kelly Eyring said from the beginning of Henry’s college career, Henry would come home, study and be with his family, despite having a designated cubicle at school.

“He’s really good at being in the middle of the chaos, and we all feel like we have access to him,” Kelly Eyring said. “He has been very conscientious about being at home if he could.”

She said he is full of integrity and patience. He is good at seeing the big picture and not getting caught up in the small things of day-to-day life.

She said he is good at “growing people, or letting people grow.” He said it came from his parents.

“He’s like the Savior in that respect, just so kind and so patient, so forgiving, so good,” Kelly Eyring said, tears welling up in her eyes as she gripped her husband’s arm. “He’s a priesthood man, he’s a good friend, a best friend.”

Henry J. Eyring sat in silence, listening to his wife, listening to what she sees him as, the man he has become.



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