E. Dale LeBaron, Former BYU Religion Professor, Killed in an Auto-Pedestrian Accident

By December 6, 2009

E. Dale Lebaron, former BYU Professor and president of the South African Mission when the Priesthood ban was rescinded died on Thursday, Dec. 3 from injuries sustained in an auto-pedestrian accident near his home. See this story in the Salt Lake Tribune.

Lebaron was known as an avid student of the history of the Church in Africa and devoted much time collecting oral histories and other documentation. He gave multiple presentations and authored a book on African conversions, All Are Alike Unto God.

I must admit that I’m not very familiar with his work, but feel it appropriate to make mention of this tragic circumstance that befell a collector and documenter of African Mormon history. His decades long involvment with the Church in Africa both before and after the 1978 revelation makes me hope that he was himself interviewed about his activites and/or that he kept a journal of his doings. LeBaron was 75.

Article filed under Miscellaneous


  1. I knew Dale and his family when I was a missionary stationed in Grand Junction, Colorado in the late 70s. At that time he was an institute director there. He was a really good guy, and I was sorry to learn that he had died in the accident. Thanks for posting a notice about it here.

    Comment by Kevin Barney — December 6, 2009 @ 8:27 pm

  2. Thanks for that, Kevin.

    Comment by Jared T — December 6, 2009 @ 8:40 pm

  3. Thanks for the announcement, Jared. My condolences to the LeBaron family, and my appreciation for his contributions to documenting church history in Africa.

    Comment by Christopher — December 6, 2009 @ 9:35 pm

  4. I took a religion class from him at BYU in the early 1990s called “Teachings of the Living Prophets” or something like that and was privileged to hear the wonderful stories from his time in Africa out of his own mouth. It was an amazing experience to hear from the man who was Mission President in South Africa in 1978 when the ban was lifted. I’m sure I have my class notes in a box somewhere. I know that I will never forget him and I will teach my children what he taught me.

    Comment by Fairchild — December 6, 2009 @ 10:36 pm

  5. Thanks for posting this, I probably wouldn’t have gotten the news otherwise, and Dale LeBaron was wonderful to me at a time in my life when I really needed it. I was a research assistant for Rex Reeve Jr. and Dale LeBaron had the office across the hall. He pitched in to give me blessings when I was far from home and didn’t feel like I could ask anyone else. He was always kind and smiling and showed the tenderest interest in any student he came into contact with. When he found out my then fiance served in South Africa, he was thrilled to find someone to share his interest and would talk to us forever.

    I’m full of tender memories right now. He was wonderful.

    Comment by Reese Dixon — December 7, 2009 @ 2:38 am

  6. Dale LeBaron was my grandparent’s home teacher when I was young, and I remember going to his house to see slides of his mission when we visited them in Edmonton, Alberta. He remembered me over a decade later when I saw him on BYU campus as a student. My grandparents loved him, as did everyone who knew him. I was so sad to hear the news.

    Comment by Andrea R. — December 7, 2009 @ 11:59 am

  7. Brother LeBaron was my neighbor, and my home teacher. He also gave my younger brother the priesthood. I’ve known him since I was a kid, and have loved him like a grandfather. This loss was extremely hard on my family, but I know with my heart that he is with his Heavenly Father now. I am so grateful for this man and all he has done for my family. He will be sincerely missed.

    Comment by Julie B. — December 7, 2009 @ 3:37 pm

  8. I just learned that the boy driving the car is in my ward. Recently returned from his mission. Prayers for him in addition to the LeBaron family would be appreciated. As you can imagine, this is a tragedy for all parties involved.

    Comment by Bret — December 7, 2009 @ 7:03 pm

  9. Dale Lebaron is my Unlce. Uncle Dale (as i like to refer to him as) has always been one of those Captain Moroni figures in my life. Although we will all greatly miss him, I know my mother Lois (his sister) who passed away earlier this year is now welcoming him with open arms (as well as many of the great and noble). We sure love you Uncle Dale.


    Comment by Danny Jones — December 7, 2009 @ 10:05 pm

  10. Thank you all for these comments.

    Comment by Jared T — December 7, 2009 @ 10:21 pm

  11. I’m a BYU student right now & writing a tribute on President LeBaron for the university newspaper. If any of you could email me your thoughts or anecdotes of President LeBaron, I would appreciate it. I would love to get the best picture possible of this wonderful man.

    My email is KatiB.88@gmail.com

    Comment by Caitlin Bronson — December 8, 2009 @ 3:55 pm

  12. Thank you to everyone for their tender memories of my Dad. He was truly an amazing man and a wonderful husband and father.

    I need to set the record straight. Comment #1 by Kevin Barney is incorrect. Our family was living in South Africa from 1976-1979, where my Dad was serving as mission president. We have never lived in Grand Junction, Colorado. You may be confusing him with one of his cousins, who I believe lives in Colorado and has been in CES.

    Thank you again for posting comments about how my Dad touched so many people’s lives for good.

    Comment by Angi LeBaron Cummings — December 11, 2009 @ 10:28 am

  13. Brother Lebaron was a great Seminary Coordinator in Riverton Wyoming. My father, 88 yrs old, was very sad to hear of his death as was all of our family. Dale was so kind to my parents and more especially to my mother who taught seminary in Lander. He was a kind, eloquent man. Dale was good to compliment and teach effective teaching skills. He taught my mother many great teaching techniques as her seminary coordinator especially by teaching with the spirit. Dale always made you feel important and of value. He will be greatly missed. Our prayers go out to his wonderful wife and family.

    Comment by Dee Jones — December 11, 2009 @ 11:36 am

  14. Brother Labaron was an amazing man and child of God. There is no question in my mind as to what his status in Heaven will be…He will be exalted. He was treasured by our family in Wyoming. My Mother spoke so highly of him and he made her want to do the best that she could do. He added to her self esteem and she raised to greatness in the Church because of him.

    As a tender mercy of Heavenly Father, when my youngest son was being married in the temple, Brother Labaron was the sealer and he added to that special occasion. My Mom couldn’t be there but I let her know every single thing that happened and she was so very pleased.

    He even came to her viewing and it meant so much to our family and father. God will Bless Brother Labaron for his valiant spirit and accomplishments.

    Comment by Nan Ellen Simmons Ah You — December 11, 2009 @ 12:27 pm

  15. I was a missionary in the Johannesburg Mission from October 1878 through October 1980 (Actually arrived December 24, 1978).

    E. Dale Lebaron was the finest man I have ever known. As said of Joseph Smith, you have never hear the gospel preached with power and purity until you had heard him speak. I believe it was the same from President Lebaron. I had important friendship interaction with President Benson who changed the course of my life. But one simple interaction with Dale, through deep inspiration and looking into my soul, and seeing my potential as a striving missionary, changed my life.

    I wrote him a few years ago telling him of how much he had helped me. In my mind, his name will always be a great blessing because his impact on me was passed to my sons. Thank God for men such as him.

    Comment by Brent Lundell — December 12, 2009 @ 10:59 pm

  16. I apologize for the typing mistakes.

    Comment by Brent Lundell — December 12, 2009 @ 11:06 pm

  17. I met Brother LeBaron when the Pioneers in Africa DVD was debuted at BYU Education Week. I highly recommend this to all. Though his passing is tragic, you will learn from the video of the great souls in heaven who greet him now.

    Comment by Chris Kite — December 13, 2009 @ 10:08 pm

  18. Sad to hear the news. I actually heard it from his brother Eddie, in my ward. I used his Master’s Thesis on Benjamin F. Johnson, one of Brother LeBaron’s ancestors (contentdm.lib.byu.edu/cdm4/document.php?CISOROOT=/MTGM&CISOPTR=23524&REC=1) for writing a brief bio for one of my religion courses. It think Dale also did some good research regarding the Church of the Firstborn of the Fullness of Times. His work is appreciated.

    Comment by Tim Barker — December 22, 2009 @ 6:17 pm

  19. I only heard this weekend about Pres. Lebaron’s death. He was my mission president. My sympathies to his family.

    Comment by Linda Smith — January 10, 2010 @ 4:01 pm


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