The Mormon Giant *
By Kris Wray
While Dayer LeBaron [Sr]’s eldest son Ben may have been able to do 100 push-ups in a traffic jam to demonstrate he was mighty and strong, and bellow out roars that would leave people’s ears ringing as evidence he was the Lion of Judah, ol’ Ben had serious competition from another, little known member of the LeBaron family.
Dayer’s younger brother Leo had a daughter named Leona, Ben’s cousin. Leona LeBaron Heaton gave birth to a son in 1931, in Hurricane, Utah, and named him Don. Don’s father, Jonathan, who had dabbled in professional wrestling [the male version of soap operas type], was once described as the “hymn-singing, psalm-shouting Brother Jonathan, who tossed opponents from pillar to post while in the midst of a Bible quotation”.
Don–at 6 ft. 6 in. and 300ish pounds–followed in his footsteps. Raised Mormon, Don entered the ring in 1949 as Don Leo Jonathan, “The Mormon Giant”, and didn’t quit wrestling until 1980.
In 1972, the same year Ervil had his brother Joel killed, Don the Mormon Giant defeated André the Giant with his trademark finisher, “The birthright brain buster”. Okay, that part’s not true. Don did win, but it was because André the Giant was disqualified [several rematches followed].
What is true is that years before Jake “The Snake” Roberts gained fame by bringing his pet boa into the ring in the 80s and 90s, The Mormon Giant often entered his matches with a seven-foot, defanged rattlesnake named “Cold Chills” draped over his shoulders. Gentiles who witnessed Don handle his serpent surely must have known that by such a sign following him, he was a true believer [Mark 16:17-18].
Big Don, also nicknamed The Lumberjack, won over 40 championships during his career, and was inducted into the Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2006.
Don died October 13, 2018.
One can only imagine the face-offs that must have occurred when The Mormon Giant and LeBaron boys crossed paths.
* Don Leo Jonathan – Wikipediaen.wikipedia.org › wiki › Don_Leo_Jonathan
The Mormon Giant Sonny Jonathan. Billed height, 6 ft 6 in (198 cm). Billed weight , 285–340 lb (129–154 kg). Billed from, Salt Lake City, Utah. Trained by, Brother Jonathan. Debut, 1949. Retired, 1980. Don Heaton (April 29, 1931 – October 13, 2018), also known as Don Leo Jonathan, was an …Billed weight: 285–340 lb (129–154 kg)Died: October 13, 2018 (aged 87); Langley, Bri…Debut: 1949Born: April 29, 1931; Hurricane, Utah, U.SProfessional wrestling … · Personal life · Championships and …