View the parade route; it starts at Highland Elementary School, goes south on 6000 West, turns east on 10400 North, and ends at Heritage Park. This event is chaired by the DeeAnne Carlisle (parade helpers needed this year!)
Sponsor: Central Bank
2017 Highland Fling Days Grand Marshal - Don LeBaron, Highland City's First Mayor
Highland City has named Don R. LeBaron, the city’s first mayor, as grand marshal of the 2017 Highland Fling Grand Parade. The parade will be held on Saturday, Aug. 5, at 10 a.m.
Donald Ralph LeBaron was born on Dec. 4, 1926, in Barnwell, Alberta, Canada. He lived there until age 18 when he came to Utah to attend Brigham Young University. While there, he met Rae Marie Jerling, who would later become his wife. After two years at BYU, Don served a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in northern California and southern Oregon from 1947 to 1949. He and Rae Marie were married on Sept. 29, 1949, one month after he returned home. While Don was on his mission, Rae Marie’s father died, and Don decided to take over the Jerling family farm in Highland. It was there that Don and Rae Marie made their first home.
“I’d never farmed much before so I had to learn how to plow and till the ground and take the rocks off and plant and so forth,” Don said. He took some classes at BYU to learn more about farming, but he soon determined that farming would not make enough to support his family. Don decided to return to BYU and he eventually obtained his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering. He continued farming until he was done with school and offered a job in Idaho, making it necessary to leave Highland. The farm was eventually sold.
He spent six months working for the Phillips Petroleum Company, Atomic Energy Division, in Idaho Falls before taking a job with Sperry Rand in Salt Lake City. Don and Rae Marie moved back to Highland temporarily before purchasing a home in Kearns where they lived for a couple of years. Rae Marie’s mother then offered them a piece of ground in Highland, and they decided to make the city their permanent home. They built a house on the plot of land and lived there from 1960 to 1980; they then built a new home just east of where they had been living.
Don and Rae Marie were married for 37 years and had six children: Donald Ray, Annette, Dennis, Gerald, Alan and Kathy Marie. Rae Marie died in 1986 of cancer. Don retired from his job in 1988.
In August of 1977, the town of Highland was incorporated through an action of the Utah County Commission. Don was asked at that time to serve as town president until the following November when the first mayor would be elected. He decided to run for the office and won over his opponent by only two votes. He took office as Highland’s first mayor in 1978 and held that office until 1982.
None of the services that a city needs were in place when Highland became a city, and Don and his council were tasked with creating them. They contracted with other cities and the county for police and fire protection. In addition to these issues, Don said one of his first challenges as mayor was working with a company that needed gravel and wanted a permit to mine it in an area east of the city. The city saw large gravel trucks driving on its roads as a safety issue and wanted to preserve the look of its mountainside, and the matter ended up in court. The city attorney managed to delay the case for several years and the company eventually gave up the fight. “It would have been an ugly scar and there wouldn’t have been anybody living there,” Don said.
In 1982, some members of the community asked Don to seek election to the Utah House of Representatives where he represented the cities of Highland, Alpine and Cedar Hills as well as areas of American Fork, Lehi and Pleasant Grove. He served in the legislature for a total of 10 years. It was there that he met RoseMary Thomas, who was working as the reading clerk in the House of Representatives and as a secretary in Legislative Research and General Counsel in the Utah State Capitol. They were married on Aug. 22, 1986.
Over the years, Don has served in many positions of responsibility in the LDS Church including bishop, high councilman and stake patriarch. He and his wife RoseMary have served missions together for the LDS Church in the European Mediterranean Area, at Temple Square in Salt Lake City and in Johannesburg, South Africa. They currently live in American Fork.