Leon Clifford Kenyon Jan. 14, 1924 – March 24, 2019

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Leon C. Kenyon, age 95, died on March 24, 2019, at this home in Red Lodge, Montana.  He loved this life and lived it well and fully.  

Leon was born on Jan. 14, 1924, in Coffeeville, Kansas, the first son of Leon Sr and Roberta (Galpin) Kenyon.  His family moved to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, when he was a child.  At Istrouma High, he ran track, an experience he valued his entire life, earning a track scholarship to Louisiana State University.  When WWII began, he volunteered for the Marines, serving three years in the South Pacific as a sergeant.  At the end of the war, he returned to LSU to study chemical engineering.  He put aside track, joined Sigma Chi fraternity, and seriously pursued Mary Elizabeth Benton, the woman who became his wife, the heart, soul and deepest love of his life.

In a marriage of 68 years beginning Sept. 30, 1949, Mary and Leon had four children, Kathy, Leon III, Bob, and John.  Leon and Mary volunteered during their entire adult lives to make the community a better place for their children and the youth of Baton Rouge.  Leon led the YMCA’s Indian Guides program, building it to over 1,000 fathers and sons in the 1970s.  He worked hand-in-hand with Mary for over two decades to make day and overnight camping experiences available to the youth of Baton Rouge.  Leon and Mary received the President’s National Volunteer Service Award in recognition of their volunteer work.  

Leon valued the friendships he made along the way, in particular with the young people he helped, who remained friends for his entire life. He loved, enjoyed, helped (and was loved and helped in turn) by his nephews and nieces and their children. Leon and Mary were among the first members of the Unitarian Fellowship in Baton Rouge.  They were lifelong civil rights advocates.  

Leon’s 30-year career (1952-1982) as a chemical engineer at Exxon spanned enormous technological change.  He was on the team at Exxon that built the first computer-controlled processes in the Baton Rouge refinery, one of the first in the US.  He deeply valued his colleagues and career at Exxon.  After retiring, he worked as a consultant at the Exxon refinery in Billings, Montana.  Leon worked on innovative energy technology into his 80s.

Leon and Mary visited Yellowstone National Park hundreds of times, and in 1992 built their second home in Red Lodge, Montana, where they spent summers, welcoming family and friends to enjoy the beauty of Montana and the Park (and to escape Louisiana’s heat and humidity).  They made close friends in Red Lodge and were engaged in the community.

At the end of his life, Leon suffered from dementia.  In 2015, Mary and Leon moved (with the help of their daughter and son-in-law) to their home in Red Lodge.  

Leon’s beloved wife of 68 years died Dec. 18, 2017.  Leon is survived by his four children and their spouses and grandchildren:  Kathy married Don Redfoot and they have two children, Kenyon and Emma Redfoot; Leon married Cindy Burlingham and they have one child, Robert Kenyon-Cardenas, married to Gabriela  Kenyon-Cardenas; Bob, whose wife Judith died too soon, has two children Michael and William Kenyon; and John married Nancy Kenyon and has a son, Sam Kenyon, and step-son Jake Munic.  Leon’s brother, Joseph Neal Kenyon, and parents died before him.  His family will be forever grateful to the caregivers (Chris Bertolino, Tammy Barstad, and Gena Hagan Bell) and hospice team who helped care for Leon.    

Memorial celebration April 7 at 4 p.m., 8 Coyote Lane, Red Lodge. Contact kenyonhealthlaw@aol.com

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Upcoming Events

  • Friday, June 28, 2019 - 7:00pm
    Rock Creek Group meets Tuesdays and Saturdays at 8 a.m. and Wednesdays and Fridays at 7 p.m. at Calvary Church, 9 N Villard, Red Lodge.
  • Monday, July 1, 2019 - 7:00pm
    Joliet Group meets at the Community Center Monday at 7 p.m.
  • Tuesday, July 2, 2019 - 7:00pm
    Now Group meets at the Bridger United Methodist Church, 222 W. Broadway (west entrance of church) Tuesday at 7 p.m.
  • Thursday, July 4, 2019 - 7:00pm
    Meets every Thursday, 7 p.m. – 8 p.m. at the Red Lodge Area Community Foundation, 122 S. Hauser. It is open to all. 425- 1755.
  • Thursday, July 4, 2019 - 7:00pm
    Clarks Fork Group meets at St. Joseph’s Catholic Hall, north end of Montana Avenue, Thursday at 7 p.m.
  • Friday, July 5, 2019 - 7:00pm
    Rock Creek Group meets Tuesdays and Saturdays at 8 a.m. and Wednesdays and Fridays at 7 p.m. at Calvary Church, 9 N Villard, Red Lodge.

The Carbon County News

Street Address:

11 N. Broadway, Red Lodge, MT 59068

Mailing Address:

P.O. Box 970, Red Lodge, MT 59068

Phone: 406-446-2222

Fax: 406-446-2225

Toll-Free: 800-735-8843

Open: Monday-Friday, from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.