Sister Nola Cahoon Lybbert, mother, grandmother, and wife of General Authority Seventy Elder Merlin R. Lybbert, died Nov. 18, 2021, in Salt Lake City. She was 94 years old at the time.
Sister Lybbert was raised in a little village outside of Cardston, Alberta, as a descendant of Latter-day Saint pioneers. According to a Church News biography released shortly after Elder Lybbert was appointed to the Seventy in 1989, she was born in Tonga, where her parents were missionaries.
“I grew up with a real love for the [Tongan] people because my parents loved them so deeply. They also loved the gospel. I learned early how important the gospel is,” she said.
Sister Lybbert met her future husband at a Halloween party in 1943. The two eventually started dating and their courtship lasted five years. During that time, young Merlin Lybbert served in the Royal Canadian Air Force. He then went on a mission to the United States’ Eastern States.
When he returned from his mission, Nola was a year away from graduating as a registered nurse. The pair married on May 26, 1949, in the Cardston Alberta Temple.
“We wrote hundreds of letters,” Elder Lybbert said of their extended courtship, with trademark humor. “There were certainly no tears shed at our wedding — everyone was just thrilled to see us together after five years of courtship.”
Over several decades of marriage, Sister Lybbert worked as a nurse and served in a variety of Church callings, as well as music chairman and editor of ward bulletins. She also devoted many hours to service in community and civic organizations.
After the Lybberts married, they moved to Utah, where the future Elder Lybbert worked as a lawyer and served in a variety of Church callings. He was generous in his praise of his ever-supportive wife and friend, Nola.
“I know whatever success we’ve had in life is due largely to my wife,” Elder Lybbert told the Church News. “She is a wise counselor, and she has a gentle firmness about her that is admirable. She is a student of the scriptures. Probably one of the most uncanny abilities that she possesses is a practical sense of applying gospel principles in life.”
Sister Lybbert served as temple matron of the Cardston Alberta Temple from 1994 to 1997, laboring alongside her husband, who presided over the temple.
The Lybberts are the parents of six children — including Sister Ruth Lybbert Renlund, wife of Elder Dale G. Renlund of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles — and several grandchildren.