1945, George Albert Smith became eighth president of the LDS Church,
and served until his death on 4 April 1951, at the age of eighty-one.
As church president, he also was president of many church-controlled
corporations: Beneficial Life Insurance Company, Utah Hotel Company,
Utah Home Fire Insurance Company, Utah-Idaho Sugar Company, Utah First
National Bank, Zion's Savings Bank and Trust, ZCMI, and Zions Securities
Corporation. He was president of the Church Board of Education, which
controlled LDS educational institutions, and was also editor of the
church's official magazines. He expedited welfare shipments to Latter-day
Saints in Europe at the end of World War II, supervised the reconciliation
of 1,200 Latter-day Saints in Mexico who had formed a schismatic group,
and expanded programs to help American Indians. A person of compassion,
he worked especially in the interests of the youth of the church, the
troubled, the poor, and the underprivileged.
Merlo J. Pusey, Builders of the Kingdom: George A. Smith, John Henry
Smith, George Albert Smith (1981); and Pusey's chapter in Leonard J.
Arrington, ed., The Presidents of the Church: Biographical Essays (1986).