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\9) Il
by Merlo J. Pusey
BY Merlo J. Pusey
Nearly a century and a hall of history lies behind lhe well-known Ch!vy
Chase Ward of the Washinston, D.C. Stake, Church of Jesus Christ ot
I-atter-day Saints. So Iar as is known, the 6rst to expound lhe restored
in Washington was none other than the Prophet Joseph Smith. Just
att!r he had presided
over theorganizationoltheChurch
in 1830,
the Prophet and Judge Elias Higbee came to ih! Capital and spent three
monlhs here dnd in Phrladeiphia seeking help from President l,,lartin Van
Buren and the Congress againsr expulsion ol the Sd,nts lrom Missoun
Meetings were held here and one ol the Prophet's sermons to a larg!
audience, including members o{ Congress, was favorably reported in the
No members of the Church lived in the area at th! time.
In 1841 Samuel James was called as the first missionary to
in Washington. Then came Apostle John E. Page. By 1843 a few
had been converted- In subsequent decades other missionaries
came, and on several occasions high authoriti!sol theChurch petition!d
for redress of the Saints' grievances.
It was not until after ihe
turnoithecentury, holrever,thattheChurchreallvtookrootintheNation,s
Cap tal. The fi,sl regular meeirngsappedr ro have Len held m the homesoj
I.E. Willey and Frank J. Cannon beginning in 1901. When Congressman
Joseph Howell took his s!at in March, 1m3. meetings were shilted to his
home at 1828 Calvert Street, N.W., or to the aparlment
of the A.B. Hodges
family.ln 1907 Senator R!ed Smoot, a memberol the Councilof the Twelve
who had won a Senate seat in 1902 and survived a furiousfiqhttounseathim.
rook the rpspons,brlily ol provrdrng
a meerrng place tor rhe Saints.
Temporarily he liv!d on Conn!cticut Avenue,
north ol R Street. and
when his new home at 252l Connecticut Avenue was compl!ted it served as
a gathering place
for ihe Saints in Washington ior more than ten years_
Havins outsrown the capacity of a private home, the L.D.S.
rented a hall ai 1731 Eye Sheet, N.W., in 1920. Seven y!ars later anoiher
move became essential, and this time the growing body olworshipersmoved
into one comer of the old Washington Auditorium at New York Avenue and
E Street where comp!iition wiih automobile shows, maraihon dances,
lectures and grand operas sometimes became a problem. The nexi move
was into the Washington Chap!l,astrikinsediilceof Utah birdsey!marbl! at
Sixteenth Stre!t and Columbia Road, which becam!the lirsi buildingowned
by the Church in Washington. It was dedicated in November, 1933, by
Presid!nt Heber J. Grant.
Organization k!pt pace with the expanding m!mbership. A branch was
lormally created in June, 1920, with Elder James Byron Barton as president.
It was a part ol the East!rnStat!s Mission.In subsequent months and years
auxiliary organizaiions conlorming to the general patt!rn {ound !very\xh!re
in ihe Church were brought inio being. President Barton ol the Washington
Branch was succeeded by Louis E. McArthur, and the third presideni was
Hush W. Colton. When th! Washinston Chapel was dedicaied the branch
presidency consisted ol Dr. EdsarB. Brossard, president; Melvin C. Merrill,
firsi counselor; Merlo J. Pusey, second counselor. Dr. Brossard, amember
ol th!United States Tarifl Commission, becane a pillar of strength to th!
Church inWashinston, holdinshish positions ihroush most olhisihiriy five
years in th!Capiial. Alongwith Senator Smooi, he is entitled tomuchoiihe
cr!dit for layingasecure Ioundation on which sound and Iaithlulunits ol the
Church could be built. Senator Smooi's inlluence was, ol course,
predominant. Not oniy did he assist hundreds ol young people from Utah to
establish themselvesin Washingion durins his thirty years in the Senate, but
his unbending int!grity and adherence to Church standards
enhanc!d the imaqe oi ihe Church at a time when persecution was still
Another stalwari during the p!riod afier the Washington Chapel was
dedicated was Tabernacle Organist Edward P. Kimball. From 1933 uniilhis
untimely death in 1937 he gave lree orsan reciials in the chapel six nights a
week and conducted iours through the atiractiv! buildins.
A sepaEte congregation of Latter'day Saints in Chevy Chase came inio
being onAugust 28,1938,with ih!orsanizaiion ollhe CapiialDistrict of ih!
Eastern StatesMission. At ihe iime ii seemed a painlul separation lor th!n!w
branches which found it n!c!ssary to rent meeting quarters and to giv!up
cherished associaiions at "the Chapel" where allhad been one happy Iamily.
The new Chevy Chase, Arlingion, Washington, Baliimore, Fairview and
Greenb!lt Branches in ih!Capiial District gre\r rapidly, however, and trro
years later they becam!wards in ihe Washington Stak!, one ol the first
Stakes ol Zion io be organized outside th!w!siern states.
The first pr!sid!nt ol the Capital District was Abram H. Cannon, wiih
Harold G. Clark and Gerald G. Smith as hiscounselors. The first presidency
of the Chevy Chase Branch was Jesse R. Smith, a Washington corporate
lawyer, with W. tiMarr Webb and Rosel H. Hyde as hiscounselors. When
Elder Webb moved toNorth Carolina toacc!pt an important position in the
largesi bank in theSouth, he was succeeded aslnst counselorbyElderHyde,
and Captain Mervyn S. Bennion ol the Uniied States Navy became second
couns!lor- Less than two y!ars lat!rCaptainBennionwas to becomeone the
the hero victims of the Japanese attack on PearlHarbor which plunged the
United States inio World War II. SecreiaryollheNavyKnox cited him as the
"outstanding hero" ol that tragic baitle and he was awarded the
Congressional Medal posthumously. Captain Bennion was honored ai a
memorial service in the Washinston Chapel with an overllow attendance.
includins many high miliiary offic!rs.
The translormaiion of the ChevyChase Branch into a ward took place on
June 30, 1940, and anoiher period of rapid grc,v,,th besan.ln retrospect, the
organization of the n!w stake and the new wards seemed to have been
provideniially ordained to accommodate th!
inllux ol Church members
to Washinston during the war years that quickly iollowed. At firsi theChevy
Chase Ward met in ih!Ch!vy Chase Women's CIub on Connecticut
Av!nue, which, for a lime, afforded fairly commodious quarters. During the
war ii b!came necessary Ior the ward to shift its meetings io a hall on the
second lloorolth! Garlinkle sior! at Massachusetts Avenueand Forty ninth
Street, but the ward later returned to the Chevy Chase Women's Club for
some years before its own chapel was built.
The iirst Chevy Chase Ward bishop was Riley A. Gwynn, a lawyer,
Mervyn S. Bennion, llrst counselor, and Maurice R. Barnes, second
counselor. Ralph S. Robertsjoined the bishopric as second counselor when
Captain Bennion l!lt for sea duty, and Eld!rBarnesmoved up lo th!position
o{ first counselor. This organization had skons support lrom the Iirst stak!
presidenca in the area, consisting olEzraTalt Benson, president;
Carpenier. first counselor; Ernest L. Wilkinson. second counselor. Elder
Benson was soon to be called into lh!Council of TUJ!lve Apostles and was
later lo serve as Secretary of Agriculture in the Cabinel o{ President Dwight
D. Eisenhower. In professional life, Bder Carpenter was
s!crelary ol
the Federal Reserve Board and after his relirement became president of th!
CenlralStates Mission. ElderWilkinson laler leftWashington to become an
eminent presid!nt and dev!loper ol the Brigham Young Univ!rsity.
The Relief Society had begun ils operations in the Chevy Chase Branch
under ihe presidency ol Alice Wilkinson. Her successor after the branch
became a ward was Anna Laura Cannon who was succeeded by Elese
Lundberg. Lucile Cooley was presidenl while lhe chapel was under
construction, and Myra Ellsworth when it was dedicated.
Other auxiliary heads at the time of the dedicationwere: SundaySchool,
Dean Dinu,oodey;Y.M.M.l.A., Donn E. Cassily;Y.L-M.1.A., PhyllisMarriott;
Primarg Association, Annis Murdock; Temple and Genealogical Committee,
Ancil Taylor.
On May 16, 1943, the Chevy Chas!Ward was reorganized. Abram H.
Cannon, personnelexperl for the Inl!rior Deparlment, became bishop, wilh
Ralph S. Roberts and Dr. Willord N. Johannessen as counelors, Elwin A.
Potter as ward clerk and Ros!l Hyde as linance clerk. Dr. Johanness!n
moved up to the position of firsl couns!lor when Elder Roberts was released
and Rayrnond L- Margetts cam!in to complete the tno. Melbourne Steele
replaced Elder Hyde as finance clerk, but Elder Hyde continued to s!rve in
many other positions in the ward even aiter he was named a m!mb!rol the
FederalCommunicationsCommissionand twiceservedaschairmanof that
important r!gulaiory agency.
Anoiher r!organization ol the ward iook place on January 18. 1948.
SamuelR- Caeenterbecame bishopand chose as hiscounselors HaroldA.
Candland and Raymond L. Margetis.
The [irst st!ps toward construction of a home ior th! ward were taken
during ihe Gwynn bishopric. With lhe approvalof lhe general authorities in
Salt Lake City, a site was purchased on Weslern Avenue al Kirkside D ve.
Early planning lor the construction ol a chapel was undertaken by th!
Carmon bishopric, with advice and assistance lrom Presiding Bishop
LeGrand Richards both in Sah lakeCityandWashingtonandwith Gilbert S.
Undeywood serving as archil!cl. When architecl James O. Rasband
returned to th! ward alter a tour ol mililary duly, he b!cam!associaledwilh
Mr. Underwood in the preparation of plans. lt was Bishop Carp!nt!r who
wrote the letter lo th!Presiding Bishop seeking Iormal authorization to go
ahead with the preparation ol plans for the building. His action was reported
to a meeting ol lhe bishopric council on Octob!r 12, 1948- Achievement of
lhe ward's cherished dream ofhaving a home ol its oum was to be realized,
however, under still another bishopric.
Bshop Carpenter was called back into the stakepresidencyonJanuary9,
1949, and Harold Candland of the Marriott Corporation became bishop,
takinq Jesse R. Smith and Raymond L. Marqetts as couns!lors and Elder
Steele as clerk. Wells E. Ludlow was made assistantclerk. Harvard Osmond
assistant clerk lor ward teachingand Lawrence L. Epp!rson, assistanl clerk
for welfare. Within a few weeks the newbishopric setupcommitlees tocarry
out the building project, with Franklin D. Richards (later First President ol
the First
Quorum of S!venty) chairman ol the Planning Committee;
Ferdinand Kaulholz, Jr., chairman of the Building Committee; Jesse R.
Smith, chairrnan ol the Finance Committee, and Balmond L. Margetts,
chairman ol the Work Commillee. B!lore th! end ol 1949 architectural plans
had been completed, bids had been solicited and the lowesl bid had been
negoliated dorn lo
$222,m0, o( which the Presiding Bishop's OIIice was to
pay one half. Members ot the ward contributed generously lo the building
[und, and additionalsums were raised by means ol gala nishts, dinners and
other forms ol entertainment.
The firsi meeiins in the new Chevy Chas! Ward Chapel, locat!d on lh!
Maryland side of Western Avenu! at a choice spot about midway between
Conn!cticut and Wisconsm Avenues, look place at 11:30 A.M. on Sunday,
August 5, 1951, with Bishop Candland presiding. Even in its unfinish!d slale.
ihe building brought
to the heartsolward memberswhohad for so long
yearned lor a spiritualhome oi their own. Il consists olan atiractive chapel
Ior worship which seats 300, with a cultural hall separated by a movable
partition which seats about 400 more. In iis original status the buildins also
had a Reli!l Society room, Boy Scout room, Junior Sunday School room,
kitchen, more than a dozen class rooms, olfice space, a librarv and book
store, with a parking lot thal quickly proved tobe too small- The buildingisof
pleasing Colonial archilecture, with an appropriate spire in lront and an
attractive inscription admonishing all who worship here:
Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart,
and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind . . .
Matthew 22,31
About 270 p!rsons attended thal firsi meeting, which m!ant that the
chapel was nearly lilled before it was completed. The congregation sang
"How Firm a Foundation."Th! invocationwas offeredbv Ralph S. Roberts
T\ ro babies were blessed, one new memberwas confirmed and thirteen new
members w!re accepted into the ward. After th! congr!gation sang "We'll
Sing All Hail to Jesus'Name" the sacrament was passed and fourt!en
members, led by the bishop, bore testimonies. "Corne, t?t Us An!w" was
the closing song- Mark Austad pronounced the benediction.
A 6ne Moller pipe organ of seven ranks was installed prior todedicaiionol
rhe chapel. The organ wa: ldrpr lo be mo'e Ihdn doubled n rze through the
gen!rosity of Alice Sh!!ts Marriott. Sist!rs Marriott and AIton Margeiis
were largely responsible for the interior decoration ol thechapel,and sister
Marrioti sel!cied the pews wiih lhe concurrence of the bishopric.
More than fourteen months were io pass belore the newedilice could be
dedi.aied under lhe rule that Church buildingsmust b! paid for belore thav
are dedicated to the Lord. During ihis period ther! \rere addiiional
campaigns for lunds to buy p!ws, kitchen equipm!nt and so forth, reachinga
climax with an "Over the Top" dinner in the culiural hall on December 8,
The dedicaiion took place on November 16, 1952, under ih!direction
ofPresident Stephen L. Richards ofthe First Presidency.JudiihMarriott led
the congregation in singing "Now L!t UsRejoice,"withJoanneHyde Kuttler
accompanying. Afton Margetts directed the Junior Chorus in rendition ol
"Bless This House," with Ellen Barnes as accompanist. The invocationwas
offered by Ralmond L. Marsetis of the bishopric, and the Chevv Chase
Ward Choir then sanq a beautiful Brahms Hymn, "How Lovelv Is Thv
Dwellins Place."
The first remarks were appropriat!ly made by Bishop Candland, who was
follow!d by his Iirst counselor, Jesse R. Smith. These brethren, wiih Elder
Margetts, had carried the heaviest burdens in getiing the chapel built and
paid for, aid iheirremarks reflected the rejoicingo{ theentireward thai the
task had been successfully completed. The choir and AIton Margetts, soloist,
sang"The Beatitudes." Remarks were made by President J. WillardMarriott
ol the Washinqton Siake and Elder Ezra Taft Benson ol the Council of lhe
Twelve. The congregation sang "Come, Come, Ye Saints" and the choir
rendered Evan Stephens' dedicatory hymn, "Holiness Becometh the House
of the Lord." President Richards brought a most impressive service to a
climax by an inspiring address and prayer ol dedication. AIter the
congregation sang "The Hosannah Anthem" th!benediction was
pronounced by former Bishop Abram H. Cannon.
The new chapelhelped to stimulate rapid growth in theward. Only lilteen
months alter ihe dedication the ward had a membership of 1.200 and was
divided on February 28, 1954, by creation ol the Silv!r Spring Ward. The
division n!cessitat!d reorganization ol th!bishopric. In February, 1953
Bishop Candland had been succeeded by Robert W. Barker, an eminent
Washington lawyer, with J. Ridse Hicks as his firsi counselor and Don E.
Corb!tt as second counselor, with Richard W!st as clerk and Robert Bond
as assistant clerk. Wiih th!creation ol the new Silver Spring Ward, Elder
Barkerwas sustained as its bishop, with Serge N. Benson and Lyle S. Curtis
as counselors. The new bishop of Chevy Chase Ward was J. Ridge Hicks,
with Ira Bockwood Telford and Don Corbett as his counselors. EId!r
Corbett was later r!placed by Homer M. Jensen. Both wards continued to
us!the chapelon Western Avenue. Two projecis thaiwere pressed during
this p!riod wer! completion ol the chapel organ and installation ol air-
conditionins in the buildinq.
ln 1956wh!n BishopHicksmoved toArizona h!wassucce!ded byhis lirst
counselor, ha Telford, whochoseStephen H. Fletcherand Keith H. Jaqu!s
as his counselors, wiih John Middleton as ward clerk, Lynne B. Lundbergas
{inancial clerk and G!org!Young as assisiant clerk Ior ward teaching. The
Iour years ol Bishop Telford's administration were marked by int!nse
missionary activity and steady growih. Stake missionaries were especiallv
successlul in conv!rting non-member spouses of ward members, and the
ward maintained lrom ien to!ighte!n lulltime missionaries in ihe lield most
of the time. The auxiliaries were blessed with extraordinary leadership:
Judilh Marriotl, president of the Reliel Society; Lynn Lundb!rg and Rosel
Hyde, superintendents ol the Sunday School; Nona Dy!r and Grace Allen,
pr!sid!nts ol the Young tadies Mutual Improvement Association; Carl
Dorny, sup!rintend!nt of ihe Y-M.M.l.A.;Kathleen Carpenter, president ol
th! Primary Association.ln this pericd {ournew classrooms were created in
ih!chap!l; th!parking Iot was enlarged and connecl!d with the chapelby
cement walks. and draperies were huns in the chap!l.
When Stephen Fletcher moved to New Jersey, h! was succeeded byDr.
Marcus H. Burion. With the death o1 Lynne Lundbers, Richard Bond
became financial clerk, and later Leigh Miiler replaced George Young as
assistant ward cl!rk Ior ward teaching. Bishop Tellord was released in
February, 1 0, because he had been granted a sabbaiicalleave trom Georg!
Washington University and was about to leave for a yearasvisitingprolessor
of anatomy at St. Andrews University in Scotland and Fulbright Scholar to
Great Britain-
The bishopric suslained on February 21, 1960, consisted ol Arch L.
Mads!n, bishop; Milton A. Barlow, Iirst counselor; Glendon E. Johnson,
second counselor. Bishop Madsen contributed much lo the spiritual
alrnosphere in the ward and provided an example olellicient administration.
The Bishopric Council laid great siress on good teaching in th!beliel that
people who really understand th! gospel experience lew real problems in
their lives. The Madsen bishopric starledaweekly neusletterand atone time
had nineieen missionaries in the field.
When Bishop Madsen moved to Salt Lake City lo direct the Church's
broadcasting aclivities, Milton Barlow (lat!r president ol the Barlow
Corporation and president of the New York Rochester Mission) b!came
bishop on March 12, 1961. HechoseGlendonE. Johnson(lawyerand laterto
become an insuEnce company execulive), and Dr. James E. Hansen as his
coirnselors. On November 8 o[ the same year Dr. Hansen was succe!d!d by
Dean Dinwoodey, Iounder and pr!sident of the Bureau ol National AIlairs.
This bishopric, which was especially strong in adminislrative talenl, th!n
continued to serve for nearly five years a period of continued grov./lh,
eflicient service and good feeling in the ward.
The early sixlies brought an abundance of new talent into theauxiliariesol
the ward: John S. Daniels, GrantMoon, L. Ralph Mecham, Sidney Foulger,
Charles Butler and Melboume Steele to head th! Sunday School; John L.
Harmer, Ronald E. Madsen, John S. Daniels and Walter J. Berg lo lead the
Yor.rng Men; Arlene Potier, Wanda Painter, Barbara Tatham and Mary
Foulger, presiding over the Young Women; ArdellThomas, LaMona Bro',pn
and Donna Marriott, heads of the Primary. Lucile Peterson was briefly
ol the Relief Society and Mary W- H. Hyde then s!rved in that vital
role for a much long!r period.
Along with its compassionate services and r!ligious teaching, the Reliei
Society mad! a specialty ol bazaars in this period, and one of these directed
by Vrginia Cameron, with elaborate displays and artistic decorations,
remains especially memorable.
Scouting became an especially important activity in the ward during the
lale 1950's and early 1960's. The Cb!vy Chase troop u/on theEaslernStates
basketball championship among L-D.S. troops for six gearsandparticipal!d
in the Church-wide linals inSak tnke City four limes between 1962and 1965.
George Green and Alan Moorehead u/ere the coaches. During the
centennial o, the CivilWar the Scouls re enacled battles in various places.
On one occasion seven Eagle Scout badges were awarded to boys in th!
Che',y Chase ward explorer and scouting units at one iime,makinga totalol
lhirteen Eagle Scouts for lhe ward. The Boy Scouts ol America gave ils
honor medalwith crossed palms poslhumously to John L. Baker lor heroic
acts in which he losl his own life tryingto saveothers in a boatingaccident on
November 3. 1968.
During all of th!1!X0 s and for three years ol lhe previous decade the
Chew Chase ward functioned under the general suprvision ol Milan D.
Smith, president of lh!Washington Stake, a prominent busin!ss man. On
September 13, 1970, Wendell G. Eames became president of the stake. At
that time h!was dir!clor ol highway salety in the Department of
Transporlation and later became president oi ihe Washington Temple.
Despile numerous divisions, the Chevy Chase Ward had grown to a
membershipolmorethan450(347families)by1 5.InJuneollhatyear92of
its members were iransferred to the Rock Creek Ward, but Chevy Chase
still held its place as the largest ward in the stake. Throughout its history it
has been well known as one of lhe ,inest wards in the Church in terms ol
achievements on ihe part ol iis members as well as spiritual d!votion and
iriendliness in the congregation. The good feelings among Chevy Chasers
were footer!d not only by th!qualityofitsservicesbut alsobyitsrecreational
programs, including many dramatic productions, social ev!nls, athletic
contests, an annual picnic usually held at the Marrioti Fairlield Farm in
Virginia and an annual Chrislmas dinner or r!ception.
On January 9, 1!X6, the Barlou.r bishopric was replac!d by a new regime
consisting of Sidney W. Foulger, bishop; Kenneth L. Scott, Iirst counselor.
and Woodrow D. Marriott, second counselor. Three years laier those
couns!lors w!re succeeded by Wells E. Ludlou,, and Orrin D. Parker. When
Elder Parker returned to the Middle East on an important assignment in
Sepiember, 1970, John D. Baker became second counselor.
B!cause o{ the dilliculty of finding new memb!rs of the ward who had
brought its total membership to more than 1,000, Bishop Foulger appointed a
special clerk Ior this purpos! and !nhanced the ward's leputation lor
{riendliness by giving the new members a warn welcome. The size o, lhe
congregatbn shrank somewhat when th! Potomac and Kensington Wards
were organized, taking parl ol lheir memb!rs lrom Che\,y Chas!.
Bishop Foulger, a successlul bt-rilder and lamily nEn, gave special
emphasis io activities and guidance for the yourEer members ofthe ward.ln
this counseling of young people and their parents he pointed to th!
opportuniiies available at th!BrighamYoungUniversitywherestudentslind
secure grounding Ior th!ir faith and preparation for missionaty calls in
addition to scholastic training. At one iimeduring the Foulgeradministration
more than {orty students lrom Chevy Chase Ward wer!resistered at th!
"Y", with notable benelits to the ward and the Church wh!n these young
peopl! retumed to their homes and wenl on missions. The ward kept lrom
twelve to t'renty missionaries in the field during this period.
A new crop ol auxiliary heads carried on numerousactivities in the years
1966 io 1971, including Nona Dyer and Wanda Painter, Relief Sociely; Fae
Baker, Bosalyn Merrell, and Peggy Coburn, Primary Association; Gary
Theurer, Sundag School; Stephen A. West, Maurice Barnes and Stephen H.
Bennett, the Young Men! activities; Rita Parker, Bliss B. Ream, Luanna
Bowe, and Elearor Roderick, the Young Women's activiti!s.
Another new bishopric was sustained on Octob!r 10,1971, consisting ol
o\pm D. Jacobsen, bishop; Sieven D. Kohlert, first couns!lor; John D.
Baker, second counselor;C. Leigh Miller,ward clerk;Donald Hyde, William
AIIison, Emery T. Snyder, assislant ward clerks; and William H. Bray,
executive secreiary. Despite his comparalive youth, Bishop Jacobsen
prov!d to b!a lovable and elfective father of the ward. Afier only eighl
months of service, however, he was released because ol a iransler to the
West Coast.
On June 11, 1972, JohnD. Bak!r,a Washinston businessman as wellasan
ardent worker in the church, was promoted from second counselor to
bishop. Elder Kohlert continued as firsl counselorand leeRoderick became
the new second couns!lor. When Elder Kohlert moved to the West a year
later, Eder Roderick was named first couns!lor and Frank J. Johnson
second couns!lor- After a division put Elder Johnson outsid! of the ward, he
was succ!!ded in the bishopric by James L. T!are. At first William H. Bray
and David M. Bond shared the work of executive s!crelary and lhat position
was then assigned lo Emery T. Snyder.
On June 23, 1974, Wanda Painler completed six years ol s!rvice as
president ol the ReliefSocietyand that imporlanl assignmenl u!nt toMiriam
Sundell. The Primary Association during this period was directed byNancy
Marriott, Barbara Bond and Barbara Bingham; the Sunday Schoolby Merlon
Richards, J. Alden Bowers and Ronald O. Dixon; the Young Men's
organization by Dale B. Robertson and Bruce Kirkham; Ihe Youns Women's
by Eleanor Roderick, Vicki Clark, Judith Imlay and Emily Grace Funk.
Former Bishop Ira Telford was made a stak! patriarch.
During the Baker bishopric ihe ward was deeply involved in th!
construction o{ th!Washington Templ!, in lhe reception olthre!quart!rsol
a million visitors at the lemple belore its dedication and in the calling of
temple work!rs. At one time lorty.five members of the Chevy Chase Ward
were assigned to this work. Missionary service and Iamily home evenings
were also
high prioriiy, along with Iood storage, linancial slabilily ofthe
family and good social relalions as means ofhelping individuals and lamilies
enrich their liv!s. Dr. Thorval Hickman and Dr. Weston Clark were called
upon lo advise the bishopric and individual members o, the ward in regard to
medical and psychological problems, lhus supplementing th! spiritualadvice
thai is always available Special emphasis was also given to home teaching
with increased use ofjunior companions and improvement in the quality ol
teacher family relationships.
One importantchange ihat took place during this period was the Church.
wide r!placemeni of the Mutual Improv!ment Associations by ihe A-P.Y-W.
Priesthood.Young Women) programs, involvins a shift lrom adult
leadership to youth leadership, wilh adull advisers in th!backsround.
Stanton Halland Grace Funkgave valiant service in putlingthe newsyslem
Boundary lines were again redrawn, shifting Iamilies outside the
Washington B!ltway to other wards. Chevy Chase shared iis chapelduring
this p!riod with Kensington Ward, meeting at separate hours, until 1976
when Kensington moved to the new Washington D-C. Stake Centeron the
lemple grounds.
On June 15, 1975, a new bishopric headed by J. Willard Marriott, Jr., a
rising slar in the business world as presidenl ol the Marriott hotel and
restaurant chain, was suslained with M. Dale Ensign and Stephen A. West as
counselors and Davil B. Fell, Jr., as ex!cutive s!cretary. Lane K. Staples
became ward clerk; Donald Hyde, T. Leland l^/illis, Dirk P. Klassesz, Emery
T. Snyder and Robert E. Hansen Il,assistant clerks. Former Bishop John D.
Baker was ordained a stake pairiarch.
The Marriott bishopric initiaied numerous changes and improvements,
including restoyation of the chapel and rehabilitation ol the grounds. In
November, 1975, a new flagpole on the grounds was unveiled as part olthe
Ward s !xtensive program comm!moraiins the United States Bicentennial.
The membership of ihe Chevy Chase Ward was substaniially increased
when the Washington Ward was dissolved in September, 1975, in
anticipaiion o{ ihe sale of its chapel. Chely Chase absorbed 200 members
lrom ihe Washington Ward and 27 Spanish speaking members from lhe
Washington Second Branch. Because ol this increase, giving the ward 110
elders, ih!!lders quorumwas split inlo twogroups, and the ward's aciivities
for single members were greatly expanded. Iis sacrament s!rvices were
enriched by devoting each one to a sp!cial theme for the guidance of the
One ol the notable events of 1976 was a luncheon given in ihe ward's
CulturalHallin honorolEllen N. Barnes who had b!enelectedas Districtol
Columbia Mother of the Y!ar a signilicant recosnition of the Church's
great contributions io family li{e. For many years Sister Barnes was a
member of the GeneralBoard ol the R!lielSociety, with a special assignment
to direct activilies Ior marri!d coupl!s and to train Singing Mothers groups.
She was also a devot!d participant in musicaland oiheraciivities in the ward.
Wh!n th!Washinston D.C. Stake was rcoryanized on May 22, 1977,
Bishop Marriott was called to serve as first counselor to ihe new stake
president, L. Ralph Mecham, who in the busin!ss world is Washington
repr!sentative ofthe Atlaniic Richlield Company. Elder Mecham succeeded
President William D. Ladd, then an ofiicial in the Department olAgriculture.
The change necessitated another reorganization ol the Cher,y Chase Ward
bishopric, and ii was brought about ihe same da9. Counselor Stephen A.
West, who is associate general counsel ol the Marriotl Corporation, became
bishop and chose as his counselors David B. Fell and Dr. David N.F.
Fanbanks. David Fell had previously served as a counselor to Bishop
Marriott alt!r Dale Ensign moved from the ward. Lane Staples became
ex!cutiv! secretary; Dirk Klassesz, ward clerk; David Calfee, Donald
Hyde, Emery Snyder and Doris Meyer, assistant ward clerks. J. Alden
Borers became second counselor when Dr. Fairbanks sought release, and
when Elder Bowers was called to assist in openingthe new temple in Brazil,
the second counselorshipwas filled by Lane Staples. TheStaples lamily later
moved to the State ol Washington and ihe position th!n went to t?ster P.
Taylor. David Fellwas called lo pr!side overtheYoungMen's organization in
the Washinston Siake, and Elder Taylor succeeded him as lirst counselor.
The third place in the bishopric was then assigned to Dani!lQ. Callister. A
succession ol !x!cutiv! secr!taries included James Jardine. John L. Cobb
and Jeffrey C. Kirkham.
Miriam Sundell was presideni ol th!Relief Society during this !ntire period
and served so wellihat she became kno\rn as Sisier Reiiel Socieiy. Barbara
Binsham and Bessie Teare w!r! pr!sidents ol ihe Primary Association.
Lead!rs in the Sunday School included R. Glade Smith, Curtis Hardinsand
F. William Burke. The Young Men's leaders were Robert Hansen, Lest!r
Taylor, Paul Watt!rson and James Barry; ihe Young Women's, Joyce
Staples, Judy Carter and Barbara Kirkham. Walter Webb became ward
clerk in 1979.
Chevy Chase Ward hadonce more grown to enormous proportions, and
one ol the major tasks ol lhe West bishopric was to assimilate the new
Spanish speaking members, many singles andyounsmarriedswith ihe older
members. One oi thedevicesused Bishop West! challenge to allm!mbers
to "Do Something Gr!at in Seventy '!ight" proved to be an inspiration His
own self-assigned project was to learn Spanish. Some Spanish members
made strides in learning English. One young member rode a bicycie across
ihe contineni. An older m!mber perlormed 250endolrments at the templ!.
Two members wrote textbooks, and there wereolher notableachievemenrs
in dress-making, dramatics, construction of stained
windows and so
This was a p!riod ol many changes. Whenword came in Jun!, 1978, thai
a)lworthy male members o{ lheChurch would be ordain!d to ihe priesthood,
Bishop West happen!d to be conv!rsing wtih three black members in his
oflice. He asked President Mecham il he could pass the good word along lo
them. As he did so ihere was unanimous w!eping on the pari o{allpr!sent-
copious t!ars of
In the Iallol1980 ihe newchurch.wide schedule ofconsolidated meetinss
puttrng h!avy stress on ihe need Ior new classrooms. A
major overhaul of the buildingwas und!rtaken. One of the changes involved
conversion of th! bishop's oflice into an apartmeni for missionari!s working
in th!area. The ward was maintainins thirteen missionaries in oth!r parls o{
th! world when the West adminrstraiion cam!to a close in January, 1981.
This transition brousht dynamic and aflable David B. Fell,Jr., presidentol
D.N. Incorporat!d, to the piloiing position in th!ward,with Lest!rP.Taylor
and Brian L. Johnson as his counselors. When the WashingtonWard, solely
for singles, wascr!ated onMarch29, 1981, Elder Johnson becameamember
of its bishopric, and Merlon F. Richards was chosen as ih!new second
counselor in Chevy Chase. The Relief Society was reorsanized with Judith
Capener as president, bui she soon moved io Salt Lnke Cityand the position
went to Fae R. Baker. JesseR- Smiih,Jr., and then Harold L. Jewelserved as
presidents ofthe SundaySchool. PaulA. Waiterson was succeeded as head
of the YoungMen!organization by James Barry and then byBrianJohnson,
who was back in theward because olhismarriage. Jacquelyn Peterson and
then Barbara M. Kirkham presided over the Young Women, Susan Ord over
the Pdmary. Walter Webb continued as ward clerk and Donald Hyde as
{inancial clerk. with Othello L. Richards as historical clerk.
Che,,y Chase Ward had scarcely become adjust!d to the lossof 171ofits
talented and energetic young members to the new Washington ward when
anoiher splii transferred seventyJive Spanish_speaking members to the
Romo Lotina de Washinglon, D. C., which began op!rations on July 5, 1981.
Both the singles ward and the Romo Lofind meet at separate hours in the
Chevy Chase Chapel.
Bishop Fell inaugurated a vigorousprogram olaciivitiesaswellas religious
services. Lunches in the CuliuralHall in honor olthe two new congregations
were part ola busysocial schedule. A family-preparedness Iair was desisned
to moiivat! members to b!more sell reliant- A "Winter
was organiz!d io enhance physical fiin!ss. Then ayeatlong "Fitn!ss Trek",
in which physical ac tivity gear!d io age and health wasmeasured in terms of
mil!s, was completed inJuly,1981, with thirty lour persons earningcredit for
duplicatingthe Mormon pioneer treks lrom Fayeite, NewYork, toSaltLake
Further r!novation oi ihe building was undertaken, including the
crealion ol eiqht nar rcloms and the revampingoflourteen others. Part ofthe
ward's clerical work was comput!Yized.
On October 8, 1982, Chevy Chase Ward celebrated the thirtieth
anniversary of ihe dedicaiion olits chapel thirty years olsignificant growlh
and progress. The occasion was marked by a program and social in th!
chapel and Culiural Hall. Bishop Fell presided and made introductorv
remarks. The program arranged Ior the occasion includ!d the sinsing of"A
Medley ol Memories" by Merediih Mecham and Diana Nielsonand talks by
Jesse B. Smith. who was a member of ihe bishopric when ih!chapelwas
dedicated, and Merlo J. Pusey, historian of the ward.
As the y!ars pass Chevy Chase Ward continu!s to grow and to b!divided
in a manner typical of L.D.S. wards. Because of its Iavored location on the
Maryland-Districi ol Columbia line, distinguish!d members and new
conv!rts continue io come and
Y!i it has never lost iis uniqu!
characteristics and the sp!cial qualities that make it memorable. It is a
spiritualcenter ol greai vitality and influence inaddition tobeing the mother
of wards in the area ol the National Capital.
The impact ol the ward has extended iar beyond its boundari!s. Three
general authorities oi ih!Church are fomer residenls o[ Chevy Chas!
Ward-President Ezra Taft Benson olihe Quorum
olTwelve, Elder Franklin
D. Richards and Elder Richard Scoit ol the First
ol Seventy. Two
regional repres!ntatives ol the Church Iomerly served in Chevy Chase
bishoprics-Elders Robert W. Barker and M. Dale Ensisn, and Regional
Representative William D. Ladd once lived in the ward. Several on!time
members of the ward have been mission presid!nts, including Ezra Talt
Benson, Samuel Carp!ntey, Milan Smith, Milton Barlow, Richard Scoti,
John Huntsman and Lyle Ward. OI the seven presidents olthe Washinston
Stake during its eniire history live are residents or former residents of the
Chevy Chase Ward. The Washington Stake's two patriarchs live in the
Chevy Chase Ward. So it has made, and coniinues to make, great
contributions to the general progress ol the Church.
Among lhe well known members ol the ward are governm!ni officials.
businessmen, lawyers, doctors,
judses, journalists
and other experis in
various fields who have conlribuied much to the qualityol lhe ieachingand
the s!rvices that ar!render!d. For lweniy'lour years Senalor Wallace F.
Bennett olUtahwas active in the ward, leaching c lass!s, lead ing the singins
at times and rendering many olher services, Senator Frank E. Moss was a
member for many
and an occasional speaker. Senator William H. King
ol Uiah was aciive in ih!ward at th!tim!ol its cr!aiion. Congressman
Delwin A. Clawson ol California served in many capacilies and helped to
shape th! wardt bic!nt!nnial prosrams in 1976. Other Consressmen who
wer! members ol the ward durins their service in Washinston are Sherman
Lloyd, Blaine Peterson, Douslas R. Stringfellowand William A. Dawson, allof
Utah. Consressman David S. King ol Utah, a son ol Senator Kins, was a
member of the ward before il was divided.
Mark Austad, now ambassador to Norway, gave freelyofhis ialents tothe
ward over many
Jack Anderson, w!ll known syndicaled columnist,
has become a legend with his Sunday School class lor investigators. Other
great contributions have come Irom dedicaled, sincere and able members
not widely knourn oulside the ward. Much ol the remarkable spirit of Chevy
Chase Ward comes lrom the mingling of individuals lrom widely diverse
walks of life in a common caus! lo which all are d!vot!d.
Chevy Chase is widely known, not onlyasthemothero{wards, but alsoas
a nursery ol talent. Dozens of
young people
who have grown
up in th! ward
are now leaders and ieachers inmanyotherwards indiverse
this and
other countries. Likewise many Chevy Chase "graduates" have become
!xperts and leaders in business, education,
service, music,
computer science and other lields. In the words ol one of iis distinguished
members, Che!"y Chas! Ward has "nurtured and irained a
leaders-" They kno\/ horr to
things done insid! and oulside ol the
Church. This lraining by word and example has been direcled by the rank
and lile ol teachers ard other load bearers in the ward who hav!
demonstrat!d remarkable devotion over a long period oi years.
As the ward celebrated the lhirtieth anniversary ol the dedication of its
chapel, many lhoughts were naturally turned to the stalwarts, bolh officials
and rank and lile, who helped to build the chapel and
gel it ready for
d!dication and who continue io serve in one capaciiy or another. They ar!
too numerous to nam! individually, but ihere is much satisfaction thaimany
are still in service.
With allth! turning back to the
on special occasions, there is not the
slight!st indication ihat lhe Chevy Chase Ward has become senile. Many
continue lo arise, but they are attacked with vigor,
will and
cooperation that refl!ct lh! spirit ol the
gospel. ln the midsl of conslant
change, old ties remain strong and heh to link lh!
wilh the future
because the unchanging ideals are rooted in the light and love ol Christ. It is
reasonable 10 anlicipate lhat, in the words of Shakespeare,
'what's past is
prologue" to a liner, more energetic and fruitiul luture.