Ronald Leonard Hardy, 92, passed away March 4th in Cedar City, Utah. He was reunited with his beloved wife, Leslie Cottam. They were married and sealed on December 27, 1952, in the St. George Utah temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. They shared 58 years of marriage and life until her sad passing on February 13, 2011. He later found love and companionship with Marilyn Gubler, whom he married on January 15, 2014. Darling Marilyn preceded him in death on May 10, 2016. He chose well in love and missed them both very deeply during his final years.
Ronald was born in St. George, Utah on Dec 11, 1930, to Leonard Warren Hardy and Pansy Leavitt. As a baby and small child, Las Vegas was his home. Later, a house amidst the pecan, cherry, pear, and peach orchards of LaVerkin, Utah sheltered the family while a larger homestead was constructed by his father, himself, and other family members. Throughout his life, fruit from the orchards was picked and sold door-to-door throughout Utah, Nevada, and California during harvest season. Ronald’s children remember working at the fruit stand when visiting his parents during the summer fruit-bearing season.
As a youth he was involved in 4-H, raising livestock to show at the county fairs. This fostered a love of animals, which he enjoyed his entire life. He later also worked at his uncle’s jewelry shop, making jewelry. This led to a passion of roaming the hills on the weekends with his uncle looking for precious stones and metals, some of which to incorporate into the jewelry they made. Prospecting in the mountains became a favorite pastime, where his children learned also to climb mountains, hike, and enjoy nature with their dad.
As a young man, he served a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the San Diego-Calexico, California Spanish-speaking mission. He shared his love of Jesus Christ throughout his life. Shortly after his return, he married Leslie then served in the U.S. Army in Southern France during the Korean War. During this time, he was the first enlisted man who was able to get permission for his wife to join him overseas. He was honorably discharged after two years and returned to live and work in the Las Vegas, Nevada area. He worked in the chemical plants in Henderson, then got a job with the Las Vegas Fire Department.
He loved being a fireman, and quickly became an Engineer—driving the fire trucks and knowing every fire hydrant on every street in Las Vegas. He was promoted to Fire Captain and worked at each station in the city with many years at Fire Station Six, on Charleston Blvd. He was promoted to Battalion Chief, but disliked not being able to assist his men, preferring to help his men fight the fire directly. He requested re-assignment as a Captain, where he happily served his community until retirement.
He helped fight the MGM fire, one of the biggest in Las Vegas history. Having sustained on-the-job injuries from that fire, and another by pulling his men out of a building while the roof was collapsing (carrying them on his back) he was forced into retirement due to lung and heart damage.
While in Las Vegas, he and his grown, oldest son pursued his dream of prospecting for gold and silver. He had a silver mine and built an ore reduction works to process the metal. With silver prices dropping, this was not a lucrative endeavor, so he left that business to nurture other interests.
While still living in Las Vegas, Ronald and his wife Leslie started a ceramics business in their home. When the business outgrew their home, instead of renting shop space, they bought a nearby shopping center, and expanded to be the largest ceramics business in Nevada. Acquisition of the shopping center sparked an interest in real estate and eventual ownership of more than twenty rental properties.
After retirement, Ronald and Leslie moved to Enoch and then Cedar City, Utah. There they completed building a large home and he pursued his passion of raising cows, goats, sheep, and farming alfalfa for his animals.
Kindness to others, a ready smile (regardless of how he was feeling) and generosity of spirit were available to all who entered his home or presence. It is said of him he was a kind but strong man, an inspiring mix of the two. He was a loving husband and was big enough to be both kind and gentle. He loved rags to riches stories and ended up living one. He had a fierce independence, unmatched tenacity, and rebounded from many medical maladies throughout his life, especially in his later years. Ronald Leonard Hardy is well-loved and will be greatly missed.
He is survived by his children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. He is preceded in death by two wives and four siblings.
There will be a viewing Monday, March 13, 2023, 5:00 – 7:00 pm at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Indian Hills Ward, 1120 W Greens Lake Drive, Cedar City, Utah.
A second viewing will be on Tuesday, March 14, 2023, 9:30 – 10:30 am at the same location with the funeral service following at 11:00 am.
Interment will be in the La Verkin City Cemetery.
Friends and family that are unable to attend the services in person are welcome to view them virtually with the link and passcode below:
Meeting ID: 833 4798 2830
Arrangements are made under the direction of Spilsbury Mortuary, 110 S Bluff Street, St. George, Utah. 435-673-2454. Family and friends are invited to sign Ronald’s online guest book at www.spilsburymortuary.com