Leon Dow “Shorty” Ames, 94 of Chehalis, was welcomed into heaven on Saturday, April 19, 2014 following a brief bout with pneumonia. Shorty was born on August 13, 1919 to Henry and Ethel Ames in Mount Dora, New Mexico. He had two older brothers, an older sister and younger twin brothers. Shorty’s mother Ethel, died in childbirth in 1924. Henry and the children struggled on without a wife and mother in New Mexico until the Dust Bowl years made life too difficult. In search of a better life, the family made a cross-country trip in a Model-A Ford to try farming with a relative in Florida, but Dad Ames didn’t like Florida, so they made the long journey back to New Mexico. They finally found a home in Randle, WA when they joined Shorty’s Uncle Ernest on his homestead on the Cispus in 1934.
Shorty graduated from Randle High School in 1938. He worked as a janitor at the school during his senior year and became a trusted and valuable employee. His work ethic paved the way for other jobs in the community. He landed a job with the local power company, which eventually became Lewis County PUD where he worked until his retirement in 1976.
Shorty met the love of his life, Rhonda May Green at a Grange dance. They were married in 1942 and celebrated nearly 62 years together before Rhonda passed away in 2004. Shorty served in the US Navy during WW2. Before he was assigned duty, he was called home because of the death of their infant daughter due to preeclampsia and toxemia. While on bereavement leave, he missed an opportunity to attend electrician school in Chicago. He spent the rest of the War in the Philippines, repairing and maintaining ships.
After the war, Shorty returned to work with the PUD. Shorty & Rhonda resided briefly in Morton and Mineral before finally purchasing a small farm and acreage in rural Chehalis where Shorty lived the rest of his life. He had a milk cow for many years and provided fresh milk and cream for people who needed it. He was a horse lover and a self-taught farrier. After his retirement from PUD in 1976, he spent several years working as a maintenance man in logging camps in Southeast Alaska. Shorty was a handyman whose skills were often employed by family and friends. He loved to cut wood from his own 40-acre farm, and provided firewood for many friends and family members over the years. He also grew a large garden and freely shared its bounty. He truly loved to work. He was a man of quiet strength and integrity. He lived his faith in Jesus Christ every day, and demonstrated it through acts of kindness, generosity, goodness, patience and faithfulness. Shorty was a charter member of Bethel Church. He served as an usher, a board member, sang in the choir, and was always ready to lend a hand when there was a work project to be done. He faithfully attended Bethel Church for 65 years.
Shorty is preceded in death by his parents Henry and Ethel; his siblings Ernest, Arthur, Alma, Henry and Homer; his bride of 62 years, Rhonda and an infant daughter, Patricia. He is survived by five children; Ben (Cheryl) Ames of Doty, Leon (Sandi) Ames, Centralia, Del (Holly) Ames, Chehalis, Vicki (David) Judd, Longview, and Tami (Dan) Wiley of Kalama, 15 grandchildren and 18 great-grandchildren.