Obituaries » Leon Gordon Bates
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June 12, 1927 - April 28, 2022
Funeral Home Russon Mortuary Farmington
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Farmington, Utah. On April 28, 2022, our beloved Leon Gordon Bates suddenly passed from our presence, as he was called home. That is the only reason we have for his departure. After enjoying several weeks of increasing vitality since his recent months spent battling pneumonia, he had just enjoyed a day of growing energy, and surprising strength.
Born in June of 1927 to Arthello Leon Bates and Arizona LaVerne Perkins, Gordon grew up in Taylor, Arizona, along with two lovely, delightful, and amazing younger sisters. The three of them were tightly bound in spirit, if not proximity, their entire lives. Although born during the Depression years and children of a subsistence farmer, they always had sufficient for their needs, and could not have had more noble parents.
In 1946, when World War II had reached the occupation stage, Gordon joined the US Army and was sent to Marburg, Germany, where he served as Sargent Bates, over general instruction for each new group of incoming US Military entering Germany. When not on duty, and even when on duty, he could not hold back his innate goodness of spirit, and his convictions regarding the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He helped re-activate many former members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Germany. He was a powerful missionary and an influence for much good in the lives of many people, both in the military and among the German people. In 1948, while still in Germany, he met, taught, baptized, and married Hildegard Anna Maria Duessler. Faith-filled, loyal, sincere and genuine, fearless of ridicule, and with steadfast honesty, Hilda deeply loved Gordon and the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and Gordon deeply loved Hilda. In retrospect, as is often the case, theirs was truly an amazing story of finding one another, obviously guided by the hand of God. Together they raised five blessed children, who were the focus and highlight of their lives. Barbara, Holly, Brian, Monika, and Kevin.
Gordon could fix most things and loved to build just about anything. He loved to garden and was good at it. He wrote profound and insightful hymns and poetry that few knew of. Most of all he loved his family, from far into the past, to the one he currently held in his arms. If he had a hobby, that was it. He held many and varied jobs prior to, and during his study at Brigham Young University. He delivered bread, sold encyclopedias, assessed and sold diamonds, began teaching school, (Irving Jr High in SLC) and learned to build houses. When the kids were young, they moved to Arizona and Gordon built a house in Taylor. He wanted to regrow his roots and renew his association with his beloved family and all its growing extensions. After two years, however, circumstances compelled them to return to Utah where he built a home in Farmington, Utah. He taught American History at Davis High, and then primarily at Layton High School. He served as the Student Body Advisor and was beloved by his students as he found ways to teach them about the perils of eating hot dogs and ice cream, and when he jumped his desk for every freshman class. He built custom homes in the summers, his children often working with him. He could figure his way around any problem and was an ingenious builder.
Gordon served in many varied callings in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and was widely and deeply loved as he went about his daily life of consistent good cheer, encouragement, kindness and compassion, faith and hope, patience and wisdom, and unlimited charity. We only stop the description of positive attributes for the sake of practicality, but the words we could use are nearly endless, while at the same time, insufficient. We don’t suppose he was perfect, but it is commonly held that he very nearly was.
Gordon retired from teaching and was later called as Bishop of the Farmington 5th Ward. He became a critical asset after the flood and mudslide that destroyed numerous homes in Farmington in 2004. He worked in the mud personally, which was typical since he served in the trenches his whole life. He was never concerned with wearing out his body in the service of any and all of his friends on earth. He and Hilda served together as full-time missionaries at the Davis County Jail. They finally traveled back to Germany together and had a glorious time together there. While in Germany, Hilda was discovered to have a brain tumor, and several years later, it was successfully removed. Complications remained however, and her health declined dramatically. For over a year, Gordon cared for Hilda with infinite patience and loving attention until her passing in 2002.
In September 2011 our little Monika passed away at age 52, after fighting a brain tumor. She left behind her 5 children, former husband, Brian Todd, and more recent husband Michael Carter. It was devastating for Gordon to lose his youngest girl, and then in December of 2012, he lost his youngest son. Kevin passed away at age 51 after years of fighting a variety of major health issues. He left behind his beloved wife Lisa, and their two young daughters. These losses and the connected family pain over the course of 10 years was more agonizing than he ever shared. He remained cheerful and even lifted the rest of the family while facing his grief. For the rest of us, more than with any spoken word, this proved his faith and hope in Christ.
Gordon later met Arletta Hudson and married her in March of 2004. They made a wonderful, dynamic, complementary pair. Arletta’s life experience and insight, her personality and sense of humor lifted his heart, and blessed his life. Her pure, uplifting, and unequalled humor made every day together a bright new event. Never dull. She can make even the most difficult situations lighter and easier to bear. Her natural intelligence and tech ability, paired with a patient determination to challenge herself, propelled and inspired them, and together they accomplished a great vicarious work. Over the years they researched incessantly and sent or took to the Temples of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, an enormous host of ancestor’s names. To those who have passed on without a knowledge of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, they became saviors upon the earth, giving those ancestors an opportunity to move from spiritual bondage to a knowledge of the truth and the freedom it brings. This was Gordon’s legacy, and we can imagine none better.
Gordon is survived by his wife, Arletta Hudson Bates, his two sisters, Pat (Lloyd) Hamilton, and Yvonne (Rich) Driggs, two daughters, Barbara (Sherm) Olmstead, and Holly (Douglas) Cobabe, and his son, Brian (Yolanda) Bates.
Friends may call Friday, May 6, from 6:30 to 8:30 pm at Russon Brothers Mortuary, (1941 North Main) Farmington.
Funeral services will be held at the Sommerset Chapel in Farmington, (1885 Summer Wood Dr) on Saturday, May 7, at 11:00 am, with a prior viewing from 9:30 to 10:30 am. A Zoom link for the funeral will be available at: https://zoom.us/j/97262838905?pwd=V0RiUVdTY3djejY2b0VrSy9jaFIyQT09
Interment will be in the Farmington City Cemetery.