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Don Leo Calder

07/07/1926 - 03/26/2020

Don Leo Calder age 93, of Mesa, Arizona, passed away on Thursday, March 26, 2020 incident of age.

Don was the second son of eight children born to Leo and Lucile (Hacking) Calder in Vernal, Utah July 7, 1926.  He had a vivid childhood especially loving Diamond Mountain. He graduated in 1944 from Uintah High School in Vernal.  He enlisted in the U.S. Navy and served in WWII from 1944-1946. He served a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints to the Northern California Mission from 1948-1950.

After returning home from his years of service, he attended Utah State University and Brigham Young University (graduating from BYU with a BS in August 1952) where he met and married his sweetheart Marilyn Pearl Cardon on October 1, 1952 in the Mesa, Arizona Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints temple.  At the time of his death they had been married for 67 years. Within these years their family grew to 6 children, 30 grandchildren and 69 great-grandchildren.

Don was an industrious man and worked hard all of his life to provide for his family.  He had many talents and used them throughout his various careers: dairy farmer, builder, real estate, inventor, artist, entrepreneur.  He owned his own businesses– Calder Dairy and Calder Building Company. He was curious, an avid learner and solved problems through his creations.  His signature quality was to make things strong and to last. He was blessed with a beautiful tenor voice and played the harmonica. He loved the Tabernacle Choir on Temple Square.

Don was a devoted member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and served multiple callings and missions.  He served three with his wife including Adam-ondi-Ahman, Guatemala/Mexico and West Virginia. His faith never faltered and he leaves a legacy with a strong belief in his Savior, Jesus Christ and that he would see his family again.  He said, “The most important thing that I leave this world is a good family. Nothing else really matters to me.”

Don is survived by his wife, Marilyn Pearl Cardon Calder.  Six Children: Lucile Kellis (Brent) Mesa, Arizona; Susan Henshaw (Vernon) Lehi, Utah; Brent Calder (Ann) Taylorsville, Utah; Kristine Galati (Richard) Columbia, South Carolina; Ilene Strong (Gregory) Eagle Mountain, Utah; Donna Call (Stephen) Snohomish, Washington.  Grandchildren (28) and Great-Grandchildren (67). He is preceded in death by his parents, five siblings, one granddaughter, one grandson, one great-granddaughter, and two great-grandsons.

A private family graveside service will be held Monday, March 30, 2020 at the Mesa City Cemetery.  In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to Humanitarian Aid of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  The family would like to express appreciation to Arizona’s Best Hospice at Home and Jim & Patti Jones Assisted Living Homes where he received excellent care


  • Love you forever, Grandpa. Thank you for your example and testimony and for loving me. Until we meet again.

  • David A. Palmer

    Don was first my neighbor, then my employer, and then a young man leader. Later I served with him as a counselor in the 20th ward bishopric. Most important, he was a fellow gardener and had many talents that he was always willing to share. I will miss Don Calder

  • Merle & Carol Allen

    We have been blessed to know Don and Marilyn and family for over 60 years. We have raised out children in the same neighborhood in the early years, and in the much later years shared experiences together in the summers in our respective mountain homes. Don was a unique individual, his mind was alert, like an inventor, always searching for and finding a better way to do things. We knew him as a dedicated husband and father and all around family man who enjoyed all his extended family members. He was always willing to lend help to anyone in need. He served well in all his church responsibilities. He was a dedicated, hard worker in his many different occupational pursuits. He was a true friend who lived the well rounded exemplary life which most of us seek. We will surely miss Don.

  • Kathleen Owen Wright

    I knew him through his daughter Lucile,we went to school together. I remember going over to their house after school and seeing all the amazing things he had built in the kitchen. What a great example! I’m sure he will be missed.

  • Vesta Brereton

    Susan & Ilene, so very sorry to hear of your fathers passing. He lived a long life filled with great memories I’m sure. You were lucky to have such a wonderful father and family ❤️Thinking of you and all of your family today. Prayers to all.

  • Egon & Joan Johnson

    Great neighbor in Southern Estates Ward; fond memories. Our love to you , Marilyn. We miss Don.

  • Uncle Don was my Dad’s (Glen Hacking Calder) best friend. He would drive with Aunt Marilyn to our Mapleton Home every fall with a box of citrus. He would swap invention ideas with my father, distribute small picnic tables or custom garden hoes to his nieces and nephews. He was a fine example of a down to earth, friendly man. After my father’s passing, I made Uncle Don aware that I wanted to tour Diamond Mountain with him. He immediately made arrangements and we toured with his brothers and sisters on ATV’s to the many Outlaw Cabins, listening to their childhood stories. We miss you Uncle Don and are glad you are back with your best friend and family again.

  • Pat Chapman Freestone

    Oh how I love this hardworking, honest, and devoted family man. I felt like he moved his family into the 20th ward just for me so his daughter Susan could be the very best friend that an awkward 6th grade girl could have. I spent about as much time in the Calder home as I did in my own. I tagged along on family outings which were usually work projects full of opportunities to learn new things like how to milk a cow and work in the garden. Every time I would come into the Calder home, Susan’s dad would acknowledge me with his sly, teasing smile and say, “Well look who’s here!” The Calder home was full of music and industry inside and out. Sister Calder could sew anything, bake anything and Brother Calder could build anything and fix anything! And there was always music coming from one of the pianos or string instruments or harmonizing to a record on the phonograph or just singing while we did the dishes. The Calder home was a busy happy place to be and it started with the parents and often grandparents. Family truly was Brother and Sister Calder’s priority. I feel so blessed to have been nurtured by this wonderful family. With so many things that need fixing, this world could use more Don Calders, he will be sorely missed.

  • Kathryn Schnepf

    I always will remember him as my adopted grandfather. I love Grandpa Don and all the things he was. He was a strong and silent type and when it came to working with him, he was always the best to work with. I remember growing up going to the ranch and him showing me his new gardening tools that he had created, or the swings he built for all the kids and family members to enjoy. He loved to play card games and spend time with us kids. He always was a man of God and set an example to many. He is loved and will be severely missed. I miss you already Grandpa Don! Until we meet again.

  • Dennis and Christi Palmer

    Sorry for the passing of your Husband and Father. He was a wonderful man.

  • Rebecca & Richard Cummard

    So sorry to hear about your loss! We had our first date at their house, so they have a special place in our hearts!
    Don was a wonderful gardener! Praying for peace & comfort.

  • Lois Burnham Cooley

    So sorry for your loss, Lucile. What a great legacy and posterity your father left. I always felt you and your family were extra special. It’s difficult to lose a parent, regardless of age and circumstance.

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