He weighed only 2 lbs. 2oz. He was born several months early, and the doctors thought he wouldn't survive. Because they had no ICU, when his mother came home, so did he. He was so tiny that they didn't have clothes to put him in, and he slept in a shoebox with cotton batting. His mother had to feed him with an eye dropper. She watched and worried over him, and Leon survived. His mother could never have more children, so Leon was her little darling.
When Leon was nearly 6, his father, a barber, decided to move the little family to Payson, Utah (they had previously lived in Salt Lake City). They moved into a small house on a half acre of land. They added some partitions to the house and began to grow a garden. They grew and canned apples, cherries, apricots, peaches, plums, rhubarb, several varieties of grapes, and red and black raspberries. They also grew vegetables; corn, potatoes, radishes, carrots, beets, several kinds of onions, horse radish, peas, string beans, pink-eye beans, squash, pumpkins, "and a millions species of weeds. Our little half-acre seemed like a huge plantation when it was time for weed pulling and hand plowing." They raised chickens, pigs, sheep, rabbits, cats, and a Boston terrier.
When Leon was in 6th grade, he began playing the trombone through a school program. He loved to practice. His mother would help him when he didn't know the tune. As he got older and progressed, he was able to play in bands for various occasions. This was the beginning of his life-long love of the trombone, as well as the other instruments he would learn to play. He and the other members of the bands he played in were all members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons), and even though they had many "gigs" on Saturday nights, they always made it to church on Sundays. Through his life he loved many different types of music, including jazz, opera, and classical music.
Although much of his life was good, not everything was perfect for Leon. His father was an alcoholic and could be violent when he was drunk. Sometimes when he was a boy, Leon had to defend his mother from his dad. Despite this, he didn't say bad things about his father, even as an adult. He chose to see his father when he was drunk as a different person from when he was sober. He chose to show Christ-like love and understanding even when it was hard.
Leon attended Brigham Young University, then moved to California, where he dated and married his wife, Brenda. They had four children, and Leon remained faithful to God and his family throughout his life. He was a life-long learner, and loved to read about and study many different things. He connected well with people, and was sincere and interested in their lives.
Even though he died when I was young, I am grateful for the example of my grandpa. His life has taught me to choose to be happy, no matter your circumstance.
Leon D Badham