Ronald J. Ekern, 78, of Chetek, passed away peacefully Sept. 20, 2017, at Luther Hospital in Eau Claire.
He was born Dec. 22, 1938, in Rice Lake, the son of Hollis D. and Lila J. (Gilbert) Ekern.
Ron was a farm boy raised in Mauston. He graduated Mauston High School in 1956 and joined the Air Force and served his country from 1956 – 1960.
Growing up on a farm Ron learned to be a man of many resources. His interests included electronics, photography, computers, plumbing and a 1939 Allis Chalmers B.
He spent several years in Milwaukee attending the Milwaukee University of Wisconsin where he earned his Bachelor of Science and a Masters Degree in Physics. He met his wife Pat in Milwaukee where they were married in 1967. From Milwaukee Ron and Pat with their baby son Ronnie moved to Potsdam, New York where Ron earned a PHD in Physics from Clarkson College of Technology in 1975.
Ron was a proud member of the U.S. Naval Reserves from 1963 – 1995 retiring as Commander.
He was the Director of Applied Materials Research at Ray O Vac in Madison from 1979 – 1995. While there he was awarded several patents.
After his retirement, he and Pat enjoyed traveling in their RV. The animals were always a joy to Ron and they enjoyed his gentle, quiet and humble demeanor. He was known for his quick wit and quips within the family. Two words that would sum up Ron’s character would be integrity and honesty.
Ron leaves to celebrate his memory: his wife of fifty years, Patricia L. (Taube) Ekern of Chetek; son, Cory G. Ekern of Madison; sister, Ann (Tom) Willson of Cashiers, North Carolina; brother, Philip H. (Ann) Ekern of Mauston; sister, Leslye Jane (Steve) Fesler of Grand Island, Florida; uncle, Duane Ekern of Shell Lake; and many nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Hollis and Lila Ekern; sons, Daniel L. Ekern and Ronald J. Ekern; and sister, Judith M. Little.
A celebration of life will be held sometime in the spring.
The Burnham Ours Kolstad Family Funeral Home of Chetek has been entrusted with arrangements.