Ernest “Leo” Chance was born in Keokuk, Iowa August 20, 1926, to Ernest Chance and Leona Boston Chance. He passed away on February 3, 2023, in Overland Park, Kansas at Tallgrass Creek Retirement Community.
He graduated from Burlington High School, Burlington, Iowa in 1943. He went on to attend Olivet Nazarene (College) University and after a brief leave to join the Army, he returned to graduate with a bachelor’s degree in business in 1948. During this time, he met and married Ruth Alberta Clendenen in Troy, Ohio in 1946. When he graduated, they moved to Troy, Ohio and lived there for several years before moving to Overland Park, Kansas. He then attended the Nazarene Theological Seminary in Kansas City, Missouri, and graduated in 1954 with a Master of Divinity Degree. After pastoring 4 different Nazarene Churches in Ohio and serving as a chaplain in the Ohio National Guard, he and his family returned to Overland Park.
While living in Overland Park and pastoring Bristol Hill United Methodist church, he also transferred his National Guard chaplaincy affiliation from Ohio to Kansas. In 1968, the Kansas National Guard was activated and deployed to Viet Nam. During his time in the Army, he was also deployed to Korea and Germany along with his stateside postings. He continued to serve as a chaplain until his retirement in 1986 as a Lt. Colonel. Following the death of Ruth, he moved back to Overland Park and became a member of Resurrection United Methodist Church. He continued to serve the church delivering Mugs to new visitors. He loved saying he was a “Mugger.” Dad was always in service to the churches he and Mom attended.
While in the Army, Leo and Ruth took square dancing, round dancing, and ballroom dancing. They especially enjoyed square dancing with their local group wherever the Army took them. During his retirement he continued to enjoy dancing with Ruth, as well as playing golf, tennis, riding his bike with others, and listening to music--especially hymns.
Leo was a born leader. His churches were always successful, and he always left them more stable than they were when he was assigned to them. The members of his congregation, whether a civilian church or a military chapel, always experienced Leo as a kind, caring, and compassionate person. He was always willing to help anyone in need. Oh yes, he was also a tease, joker, and ornery.
Leo and Ruth are survived by three children, Diane Tolin (Larry), Donna Zimmer (Ken), and Robert “Bob” Chance (Melanie); seven grandchildren, Kim Welch (Chris), Kris Kappel, Kathi Meinhardt (David), Gregg Tolin (Laurie), Patrick Zimmer (Bonnie), Amy Kesterman (Greg), and Hannah Windle (Zac) - along with sixteen great-grandchildren and four great-great-grandchildren.
The last six years Leo resided in Memory Care at Blue Sage Pointe, Tallgrass Retirement Community. The family would like to thank the wonderful caregivers there as well as the Ascend Hospice group that cared dearly for him.
His Celebration of Life service will be held on April 1, 2023 at 11:00 AM in the Wesley Covenant Chapel at Resurrection United Methodist Church, Leawood, KS 66224.
In leu of flowers, Memorial Contributions can be sent to Ascend Hospice, 4550 W 109th St. Suite 210, Overland Park, KS 66211 or The Clendenen Scholarship Foundation, Office of Development, Olivet Nazarene University, One University Ave., Bourbonnais, IL 60914.
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