Ronald James Gorman was born on April 10, 1932 in Viroqua, Wi. to Winfred and Mabel (Gilbeck) Gorman. His parents divorced soon after he was born. In that difficult time in our history, it was hard to raise a child alone, so Ron eventually lived with a series of Aunts and Uncles until he came to live with his beloved Frances and Myrtle Lee. They became his surrogate parents and were a part of his life until their deaths.
At the age of 17, he sought greater adventures and joined the Navy. While in the Navy, he participated in the Korean War. He saw many parts of the world he would have never seen had he not served. He discharged from the Navy in Southern California, where he would stay for the next 17 years.
Ron was a man of many talents. There were few things he could not fix, including any kind of engine. He had his own garage in California, as well as several other ventures. He was a member of the Los Alamitos Mounted Police, where he was able to ride his own horse in the New Years Day Rose Parade at least one year. It was also while he was in California, he met the love of his life, Nona. Soon after they met, they formed a bond that would not be broken for over 50 years until the time of his death.
In 1965, they decided to leave the congestion of Southern California and return to Ron’s roots in Western Wisconsin. Ron was always a country boy at heart, and after a visit, realized how much he wanted to be a part of this area again. He and Nona, along with two of her daughters, left the freeways of California for the gravel roads of Westby, Wi. Eventually, they farmed a succession of larger and better farms together. It was a sometimes trying period but it was also during this time they were blessed with the birth of their daughter Carrie, who was a surprise and joy to them both.
In the early 70’s, they decided to leave farming. Ron decided to embark on yet another career. Ron purchased a boom truck and began his own business painting barns and trimming trees. Many buildings in the Coulee Region were preserved with his expertise. It was also a time when the Dutch Elm Disease destroyed most of the Elm trees in the area and Ron was busy for quite some time removing them.
Ron’s final career change came when he decided to rejoin military service. He enlisted in the Wisconsin Army National Guard and went to work at MATES in Fort McCoy. He served there until he was 60 years old, retiring from his formal working life at that time.
Ron and Nona had always had a love of camping. They had a series of campers until an opportunity came along for them to have a permanent site with the help of their dear friend, Lee Ekern. Ron built the cabin with mostly salvaged materials and hard work. That cabin on the Black River was the site of many happy family memories for years to come. After retirement, Ron and Nona were able to shed the binds to one area and took to the open road in an RV. For the next 7 years, they traveled from sea to shining sea and back.
They eventually returned to Sparta to be closer to family and friends. Ron was not a guy to be idle tho. They purchased a mobile home with a carport that soon became a full garage. He also became a member of the Monroe County Sheriff’s Dept as a transport officer. He enjoyed this work and the people he worked with very much. He was always ready to go when they called.
One of the highlights in the last years of his life, besides still being with his love, was to be able to participate in the Freedom Honor Flight for Veterans. He was able to go on May 6, 2017 and was very humbled by all the honors.
Ron went to his eternal rest on September 3, 2019 at the Morrow Home with his Nona by his side. He is survived by his wife of 51 years, Nona, daughter, Carrie Siem, stepdaughters, Pamela (James) DeAngelo, Deborah (Charles) Amundson, Kim (Michael) Gerke, Robin (Thomas) Walker. There are 12 children who called him Grandpa Ron, 23 who called him great grandpa, and 1 great-great grandpa.
A visitation will be held from 2 p.m. until 4 p.m. on Saturday September 7, 2019 at Lanham-Schanhofer Funeral Home, Sparta. Military honors provided by VFW Post 2112 will be held at the funeral home at 4 p.m.
The Lanham-Schanhofer Funeral Home, Sparta, is assisting the family with arrangements.
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