Thursday, June 13, 2024

Ronald L. Berry

Major, USAF Ret.
November 27, 1935 – May 13, 2024


Ronald Lee Berry, 88 of Chelan, Washington passed away at his home on the morning of Monday, May 13, 2024. Ron was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s over 3 years ago but the most recent diagnosis of Metastatic Cancer was unexpected and swift.

Ron was born November 27, 1935 to Lester Henry and Beatrice Dorothalene (Crow) Berry in Aledo, Illinois. Apart from a short time in Dixon, Illinois, his childhood was spent in Aledo. He always spoke of attending the rural one room school house through grade six. Seventh grade took him to town and the Aledo School District where he became a proud Green Dragon. Little Ronnie Berry, as he was known, was a star running back for the football team. In his senior year they shared the conference title and he was the only Aledo player selected to the Little Six All Star team. He graduated from Aledo High School in 1953. He went on to attend Monmouth College, a private college in Monmouth, Illinois, on a football scholarship. His focus was Science and Chemistry. After briefly attending the University of Illinois, he decided to enlist in the military.

The nearest enlistment office was an Air Force recruiter. He enlisted in November of 1955 and thus his twenty-year career began.  Basic training was at Parks Air Force Base, California. He was married to Rita I. Brown while at MacDill AFB in Tampa, Florida. He received his commission in 1958 upon graduation from Officer Candidate School. Daughter Lisa was born while at K.I. Sawyer in Marquette, Michigan. Son Scott was born while at Davis-Monthan AFB in Tucson, Arizona. He was stationed at Ubon Royal Thai Air Force Base in Thailand during the Vietnam conflict. He attended the University of Colorado at Boulder, under the Air Force Institute of Technology Program, where he received his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering. Through a USAF and Royal Air Force exchange program Ron served as an avionics staff officer with the Ministry of Defense in London. His final assignment was out of Nellis AFB in Las Vegas. During that time, he was OIC leading crews all over the Pacific Northwest setting up test sites while working on guidance systems. It was while setting up one of these sites that he discovered Lake Chelan.

After retiring from the Air Force, he moved to Chelan. He obtained a real estate license and worked at Chelan Realty. He took a position at Lake Chelan Community Hospital as the Support Services Manager for several years. He received training and volunteered as an EMT though the hospital. Served one term as a Chelan City Councilman. After he was divorced in 1985, Ron decided on a new adventure. The Chelan Golf Course had just built a new clubhouse. He put in a successful bid for their concession. He ran the Eagle Nest snack bar which included catering for many golf tournaments, weddings, and special events. He also drove school bus for Chelan school district. On November 7, 1987 he married Toni Higgins and became step-father to her two children, Geoff and Maggie Huffer. He enjoyed following them in school functions and at their sporting events. Finally, he became a contractor with the Post Office. He operated the Chelan Highway Contract Route for the 19 years. Ron and Toni enjoyed many years as snowbirds in Arizona, California, and Nevada.

Ron was a lifelong golfer playing all over the U.S., England, Scotland, and Spain. He loved watching Gonzaga basketball. Ron and Toni attended the WCC tournament in Las Vegas for many years. They were Seattle Seahawks season ticketholders during the Kingdome years and enjoyed watching the Mariners in person and on TV. Whether on Ron’s Honda Goldwing or in a car, Ron and Toni enjoyed many road trips over the years from Canada to Mexico and many parts of the U.S. They made a special trip to Thailand touring the whole country by train, plane and elephant. They thoroughly enjoyed being season ticket holders at the 5th Avenue Theatre in Seattle. The Phantom of the Opera was Ron’s favorite. Summer hikes with the girls were also a favorite. Ron also enjoyed hosting large dinner parties for family and friends. He was an excellent cook and many recipes were his own. Ron and Toni also loved their pets having many dogs, cats, and other assorted critters over the years.

Ron is survived by his wife of 37 years, Toni of Chelan. Daughter, Lisa Sloan of Chelan. Step-daughter Maggie Huffer (Rick Linn) of Kirkland, Washington. Step-son Geoff Huffer (Nina) of Westminster, Colorado. Grandsons: Corey Sloan (Rachael Luster) of Seattle, Washington. Dylan Sloan (Catt Gagnon) of Chelan. Step-grandchildren: Charli and Chloe Huffer of Westminster, Colorado. Avery Bennett (Tyler) of Redmond, Washington. Kody Linn of Redmond, Washington. Ron was preceded in death by his parents; sister and brother-in-law Karon and Gary Anderson and nephew Tye; brother-in-law, Ben Higgins; Sons, Scott Berry and still born infant Michael; Grandson, Connor Sloan. Also, golfing buddies, Walt, Loren and Hal.

Thank you to Confluence Health. Dr. Mary Timiras, Dr. Morrisa Baskin, Dr. Trevor Archibald for their past care. To the Confluence Hospice Team, especially nurses Adrienne, Stacy, Kelly, Janna and Dr. McCormick, your guidance, kindness, and wisdom meant so much this past month.

Please leave any thoughts and memories for the family at . 

Services to be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, June 15, 2024 at Precht Rose Chapel, Chelan, WA. Memorials may be made to Wenatchee Valley Humane Society.