The large recliner awaits Ron’s return, as he always has, but it won’t be this time. Ronald Hendrickson of Missoula died on a red-sky smoky afternoon on July 26, 2021 at St. Patrick’s Hospital at the age of 86. Ron was born November 19, 1934 to Arthur Hendrickson and Anna Fassbender Hendrickson on the Sweeney Creek homestead in Florence, Montana. He attended the Florence-Carlton School and was involved with the Boys Club, basketball, football, Drama Club and the annual staff (directory). Ron has also been active on the student council and has served as a class president. He graduated in 1953. He met Lolo’s Betty Kuney at a ball in Florence and they started dating soon after. Ron (Ronnie as everyone called him then and some now) and Betty were married on June 19, 1955. Prior to their marriage, he joined the United States Army in 1954. Ron was stationed in Hawaii during his tenure. service until honorably released in 1956. He was also an active member of the United States Army Reserve until his honorable release in 1962. In 1956, he and Betty moved to Cedar Rapids, Iowa to join Betty’s Uncle Bob Snyder and Aunt Ruth Kuney Snyder to venture into the sawmill and farm manufacturing business. It wasn’t long before they longed for the mountains of western Montana and returned, first to Deer Lodge, where he joined his older brother Art as a substation electrician for the Milwaukee Railroad. After a short stint with the Milwaukee, they moved to Missoula, settling in the Target Range area. One by one, Ron and Betty had five houses built in the area, completing all of the finishing work on each house themselves, while raising two young children. Ron and Betty divorced in 1989, but remained friends until the end. Betty was by his side when he passed away. In 1959 Ron began his career with the US Forest Service, Missoula Ranger District-Lolo National Forest. He worked in the field and eventually became a dispatcher for the Lolo Forest. In 1974 he was chosen by the office of the region 1 fire coordinator to be deputy regional fire coordinator, then in 1980 promoted to regional fire coordinator for region 1, northern region. During his 30 years in the forest service, he has accumulated many accolades and been held in high regard by many inside and outside the agency. He retired from this position in 1989. After his career in the Forest Service, he worked briefly for Empire Airways. Soon after, he helped Marta Timmons, and together they were largely responsible for the business development of the east end of Missoula International Airport – specifically, the building of Northstar Air Express (now Northstar Jet). and the acquisition of Black Hills Aviation (now known as Neptune Aviation Services.) When not working his day job, he occasionally performed maintenance services for T&T Rentals and was generally busy working around the house or helping friends and relatives with their projects. He could fix just about anything, so he was the first to call for help. He then “retired” for the second time in 2009 from Northstar / Neptune. He was happiest when he worked, so facing a partial leg amputation in 2009, it was a huge adjustment that he had to overcome. Losing his leg was his toughest battle, but he handled the pain, frustrations, obstacles and successes directly, with as few complaints as possible (he didn’t have much patience to complain or apologize) .) Even with all of his health issues, Ron lived independently in his tiny Cottage Court house until the end, and was proud of himself that he could still get around on his own. Ron was a very generous person. If any of the children, grandchildren, parents, friends or someone they just met needed help, they would be there with any kind of support. He was always there to help, whether it was advice or money or just someone to talk to. We are all very grateful for his selfless generosity in any form, his motivation to motivate and his true capacity as a mentor. Ron’s unmistakable positive impact on his community of relatives, friends and many others throughout his career has spread and been profound. One of the perks of retirement was that it gave him more time for his westerns. If one looked at his TV remote control, Spectrum Western channel numbers 4-4-8 are probably exhausted. He was passionate about sports and loved to cheer on his favorite teams: the Griz, Seahawks and Mariners. He also enjoyed watching daytime shows such as “The View” and “The Doctors” until it was time to head to Eagles Lodge. The Eagles on South Avenue were his social outlet and second home, dating back to his forestry service days when it was the Rusty Nail; he had been a member of the OFE since 1999. He made his daily pilgrimage there to spend time with his friends and acquaintances, only a health problem or a pandemic forcing him to be absent. If Ron didn’t show up, usually someone would call him and check on him. The place won’t be the same without the golden Prius parked in front. Ron prided himself on being a tough old bird, as he was. He’s survived a car crash with a train at Deer Lodge, survived his lower leg amputation and emergency brain surgery, and all kinds of other things along the way. We thought he would pull off that latest rodeo, but kidney failure and a femoral artery aneurysm proved too difficult to overcome. We would have liked things to have turned out differently, but now there is no more pain, no more struggle, nothing to deal with; just peace and rest. The family thank the staff at Community Medical Center and St. Patrick’s Hospital for their care and skills during their final days, as well as all the doctors, nurses and therapists who have helped them over the years. Ron was predeceased by his parents, Arthur and Anna; stepfathers, Carl Anderson and Howard Daniels; in-laws, Harold and Lena Kuney; siblings Ola Allen, Art Hendrickson and Dennis Hendrickson; half-sister Carol Elaine Cook Timmons; brothers-in-law Ernie Allen and Walt Allen. He is survived by his son Randy (Lisa) Hendrickson; his daughter Tamara (Perry) Martin; grandchildren: Brian Hendrickson and Shauna (Cody) Robertson; Ashleen (Ben) Spencer; Alexa House; great-grandchildren: Sam Spencer (Ashleen and Ben) and Lily House (Alexa); Randy and Tamara’s mother, Betty Hendrickson; sisters-in-law Darlene Hendrickson (Art) and Marietta Hendrickson (Dennis). Half-brother JB Anderson, half-sister Mary Ellen Anderson Johnson and many other relatives and friends also survive. A memorial service with full military honors will be held on Friday, August 27 at the Western Montana Veterans Cemetery, starting at 11 am; a reception at the Eagles will follow at 1 p.m. The family strongly encourages compliance with security measures related to COVID-19. Anyone considering attending is encouraged to take exemplary precautions, not only for their safety, but for others as well. Masks will be available for anyone who needs them. For those who cannot attend, there will be live coverage of the ceremony on the Garden City Funeral Home web page. The link is: https://www.gardencityfh.com/memorials/ronald–hendrickson/4680457/obituary.php We will miss you, dad. Thank you for everything.
Posted by Missoulian on Aug 22, 2021.