Gunnison gets new stake presidency

The Gunnison Utah Stake was reorganized last week on Sunday, September 27.

Elder Walter F. González, of the First Quorum of the Seventy, and Elder Clark G. Gilbert, Area Authority Seventy, presented Gerald James (GJ) Willden, Derek C. Overly and Ken M. King as the new stake presidency in a meeting that was broadcast to most stake members.

President Gerald James (GJ) Willden is a physician at Gunnison Valley Hospital. He grew up in Mayfield and attended Gunnison Valley High School and Snow College before serving a mission in Seattle.

About his nomination to the stake presidency in his hometown, Willden said he looked forward to the opportunity.

“I’m humbled for the opportunity to serve, but excited to serve the people of the Gunnison stake with President Overly and President King,” he said.

After his mission, Willden met his wife, Emily. They moved to Salt Lake City, where he studied medicine at the University of Utah. After living there and in Ogden, the two moved to Gunnison in 2007, where they now have four children: Emma, James, Nathan and Lauren.

GJ Willden said Overly and King were “men of character and fantastic leaders, and they love the people.”

Derek Overly is a physical therapist in Gunnison. He and his wife, Charity, live in Mayfield, and they have four children.

Ken King said after living more places he can count, including parts of Idaho and Utah County, he has enjoyed living in Gunnison Valley since December of 2011.

King has spent his career working with computers, most recently with the Universal Technical Institute and Larry H. Miller Organization.

“We love the people of this area,” King said, “and I love my ward, the ward members. This kind of came as a surprise, other than the fact that I’m willing to do whatever the ward wants me to do.”

Fewer than 150 people (per the current safety recommendation) were invited to attend the actual meeting, which was held at the Gunnison Stake Center.

Members of the stake were given the website address enabling them to “attend” the meeting electronically. There were 796 broadcast connections made. Assuming an average of two members per connection, an estimated 1600 people viewed electronically. Gunnison stake consists of 10 units, nine wards and one branch.

All stake conferences have been cancelled in Utah, except for reorganizations. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will resume normal stake conference scheduling in Utah in November.

On March 12, three days before the stake was to be reorganized, Gov. Gary Herbert discouraged all meetings of more than 100 people to prevent the spread of coronavirus. Stake presidency Greg M. Rosenvall, Bruce L. King and Derek C. Overly, who had served 9 years, served an additional 6.5 months (3/14-9/27) until the stake could be reorganized. Stake presidencies typically serve for 7-11 years.