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Ronald J Weiss

February 27, 1938 - November 27, 2018

Ronald James Weiss died November 27, 2018, with family holding his hands. Born February 27, 1938, in Helena, MT, to Edward and Regina Weiss, Ron lived a full life and touched more hearts than can be counted. He was the second-oldest child of eight and was always surrounded by siblings and many cousins. They grew up roaming the hills around Helena and the family cabin in Nelson. Ron graduated from Helena High School in 1956 and Montana State University in Bozeman in 1960. He was a member of the MSU Army ROTC and “majored in rifle marksmanship”. After college, Ron entered the Army, fulfilled his service commitments, and in 1962 earned a place on the President’s Hundred at the President’s Rifle Match, an honor and achievement that he treasured. In the late 1960s, Ron returned to active duty, served one tour in Vietnam, and earned the Bronze Star, a Purple Heart, and the Air Medal with “V”. Most importantly, Ron earned the lifelong admiration, trust, and love of the men he served with as battery commander. Afterward, Ron returned to Portland, OR, where he met his wife Gretchen. They married in 1974 in a small Lutheran church in Sherwood. Ron missed the mountains of Montana, the hunting and fishing, and his family. So Ron and Gretchen moved to Helena where they were blessed with two children, Carl and Rachel. During his lifetime, Ron worked for several governmental agencies and held varied positions: welfare case manager, vocational counselor, budget analyst for the Montana governor’s office, and agency budget analyst. Ron filled his off-work hours with hunting, fishing, boating, hiking, camping, and rifle marksmanship. He was an active and involved father who spent countless hours on soccer field sidelines, passing on his knowledge of the outdoors, coaching Rachel with her marksmanship, and encouraging Carl and Rachel to pursue and develop their own interests. Ron and his family were active members of Our Redeemer’s Lutheran Church and then New Life Lutheran Church. Ron contributed to the broader community by working to support the American Legion baseball program, coaching the Helena Junior Rifle Club, driving the DAV van, and assisting with military burial services at the Montana State Veterans Cemetery. In 2002, Ron and Gretchen moved to Spokane. They attended St. Luke Lutheran Church, where Ron reunited with old friends and made new ones. He loved the men’s group fishing trips to area lakes and rivers, grew dahlias, pursued wood turning, and continued some marksmanship activities. Though Ron struggled with his health in the later years, he approached those battles with courage, grace, and his trademark kindness and smile. Ron is remembered for his good humor, generous spirit, and for always protecting “the kids”, whether those “kids” were younger siblings, his children, neighbors, or the men he served with in Vietnam. His friendships spanned generations and geography. Ron was preceded in death by his parents, his sister Jean, his nephew Justin, and his brother-in-law Chaplain John. He is survived by Gretchen, Carl, and Rachel; his siblings Edward, Kathleen, Shirley, Tom, Mark, and Meg and their families; numerous Salisbury, Weston, and Brisbin cousins; and many other family and friends. Ron’s family wishes to acknowledge the exceptional care provided to him by: Mann-Grandstaff VA - Dr. Heidi Heller, Bob Bond PA, the Home Based Primary Care team; Providence Adult Day Health; Havenwood caregivers (Dena, Dorathy, Penny, & Michaila); Esperance; Hospice of Spokane; and his much loved niece Shannon Weiss. With their help, Ron was able to spend his last years at home where he could continue to enjoy his garden, neighborhood, friends, and family. A Memorial Service is planned for Sunday, December 16th at 2:00 PM at St. Luke Lutheran Church, 9706 N Division St, Spokane, WA 99218. Graveside services will be held at the MT State Veteran’s Cemetery at Fort Harrison next spring.


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