An inherent fighter until his final days, Leon Fredrick Dierdorff died on Thursday, Oct. 4, 2018, in Hernando, Miss., surrounded by family. He was 85.

Leon’s life was marked by two things: family and hard work. He honored both—in action and in word—and his dedication to each only better served the other.

Leon was born Feb. 19, 1933, in Pike County, Ind., to the late Harvey Wesley and Elsie Dorothy (Stearley) Dierdorff. An avid sports fan, Leon’s passion, primarily for golf and basketball, was surpassed only by his own athletic prowess. An aptitude his family and Valley Viking fans will fondly remember.

Leon married his greatest love and best friend, Charlena Rose Weber, on Dec. 29, 1951, in London Mills, Ill. They shared 66 years living in love. Together, they gave life to three daughters: Dalinda (Dan) Holmes of Hernando, Miss., Marsha (Larry) Sobie of Simpsonville, S.C. and Cheryln (Bryan) Burden of Mackinaw, Ill.

Having served many years in data processing and sales, Leon first worked hard to later play hard. At the age of 58, he and Charlena were able to retire and truly enjoy the fruits of their labor.

They spent the majority of their remaining years between Lake of the Ozarks, Mo., and Sebring, Fla. Unable to ever really quit, they built a home for their entire family to enjoy. They created lasting memories for their children and grandchildren, sharing experiences (boating, fishing, skiing) forever held dear. And they danced.

Charlena and Leon beautifully danced, “in and out of the beams of a neon moon.”

Leon was preceded in death by his parents and three brothers: Melvin, Donald and Floyd Dierdorff. In addition to his wife and daughters, surviving are six grandchildren: Amanda, Kyle, Kaylee, Niki, Larissa and Nathan; and nine great-grandchildren: Justus, Hayden, Zander, Kade, Blakely, Kailah, Sullivan, Tinley and Zaidyn.

Leon’s unobtrusive faith formed an unbreakable foundation for his unwavering values. His steadfast resilience continues to provide lasting, daily inspiration for his lineage. His personal commitment to health and fitness kept him fighting until the very end.

“We are wise because you’ve shown us the way. We are resilient because you’ve exemplified strength. We are honored to be yours and will honor you in ours. Grandpa, you will, undeniably, be missed.”