PHOTO ALBUM

MARTHA 'LaVERN' LaVERN (WATTS) PARMLEY 1900-1980
Wife of Thomas Jennison Parmley (1897-1997)
William, Joseph Dawson, Maria, Joseph, Joseph, Henry, John, Edmond, --?--, Henry


L
aVern was the fifth general president of the Primary of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the first woman to be awarded the Silver Buffalo Award from the Boy Scouts of America.

She was born Jan. 1, 1900, in Murray, Utah, the daughter of William Eugene and Ethel Gertrude (Park) Watts, and married Thomas Jennison Parmley, a physics professor at the University of Utah.

In 1942, she was asked to become the second counselor to May Green Hinckley in the general presidency of the Primary. She served in this capacity until Hinckley's death the following year. When first counselor Adele C. Howells succeeded Hinckley, LaVern was asked to be her first counselor, and she remained in this position until 1951, when Howells was released and LaVern was selected to succeed her as the fifth general president of the Primary. She served as Primary president until 1974; in total, she served 23 years as president and 32 years as a member of the presidency.

During her tenure, Scouting was integrated into the Primary program for boys ages 8 through 11. From 1951 until 1970, she was the final editor of The Children's Friend, overseeing its phase-out and the launch of the church's new magazine for children, The Friend.

LaVern was the first woman to sit on a national Scout committee in the United States and in 1976 became the first female recipient of the Boy Scouts of America's Silver Buffalo Award.

She died in Salt Lake City on Jan. 27, 1980, and was buried at Salt Lake City Cemetery.

This portrait of her was painted by Alvin Gittins.

Photo No.: 14-0332

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Updated March 1, 2020