Leon was called home by our Heavenly Father while at home and surrounded by family on October 7, 2017. He was born in his Highland, Utah home on September 26, 1937 to James Earl and Thelma Esma Chidester. He was the second of nine children, and, being born two months premature, he had to fight from the beginning of his life to survive, and he continued to do so until the very end.
Leon was raised on the family farm, and from that experience he developed an expertise in gardening that lasted throughout his life. After graduating from high school, he attended BYU. While there, he met a fellow student, Irma Brown, and they eventually fell in love. Leon then left BYU to serve an LDS mission in the New Mexico/Texas Spanish speaking mission. Serving his mission in this area helped deepen Leon’s love for the Spanish language. Irma waited for Leon while he served his mission, and they were married on November 23, 1960 in the Salt Lake temple. They went on to raise six children, and he was loved and adored by them and their children as an amazing father and grandfather.
Leon was an active and faithful member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. His callings included bishop and high councilman, and he was a home teacher greatly beloved by those he served in that capacity. However, as an educator, his favorite and most fulfilling calling was as the teacher of the Gospel Doctrine Sunday School class.
Leon was preceded in death by his parents; his siblings Wesley, Elaine, Reed, Diane, and Lee Ray; and his brother-in-law Verl Mathews. He is survived by his wife, Irma; children Alyse (Scott) Mellor, Michael (Kari), Maria, Phillip, Marta (Bert) Mitchell, and Marcela; brothers Richard, Dale, and Robbie; sisters-in-law Kay and Lynette; 15 grandchildren, 25 and 2/3 great grandchildren, and many nieces and nephews.
Funeral services took place Saturday, October 14 at 11 a.m. at the Cedar Stake Center, 155 E. 400 South, Cedar City. Friends and family visited Friday evening at Southern Utah Mortuary, 190 N. 300 West. Cedar City. Interment was in the Cedar City Cemetery under the direction of Southern Utah Mortuary. Online condolences can be made at www.sumortuary.com.
The family would like to give special thanks to Amber, Manny, and Tyler of Horizon Home Health, and to the nurses in the ICU unit at the Cedar City Hospital, for their patient and loving care of our father and husband. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the E. Leon Chidester Scholarship Fund at Southern Utah University.