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Ronald Jackson (1932 - 2013)

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Ronald Lee Jackson

Helena, MT —On November 20, 2013, Ronald "Ron" Lee Jackson passed away peacefully at the family home in White Sulphur Springs, MT after extended health issues. Ron was 81 years old and lived a long and blessed life.

Born on July 23, 1932 to Oakley and Byrdie Jackson, Ron was raised in White Sulphur on the family homestead at Woods Gulch. He was the youngest of six children and fond of joking that his folks "kept having kids 'till they reached perfection." Ron often recounted his younger days by telling his family that his father, Oakley, would meet him at the door with a milking pail - no matter the hour or condition he arrived in - and perhaps that is why ranch work served as the axis point of Ron's life. Although he didn't consider himself a cowboy (he only moved cows by horseback until the invention of the 4-wheeler), Ron identified as a rancher and the work-ethic and values that lifestyle assumed.

In 1950, Ron graduated from the local high school and later enlisted in the U.S. Army on April 8, 1954, serving in Germany until an honorable discharge on March 24, 1956. During this time he was awarded the Army of Occupational Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, and a Marksmanship Medal before returning home. This would constitute his only real leave from the place he felt he belonged.

Ron married Dorothy "Janie" Young in January 1953 and on December 7, 1964 they welcomed a son, Scott, into their lives. Ron liked to point out that Scott was born on the anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Ron eventually crossed paths with his future wife of 21 years, Pam Rohweder. Ron and Pam spent nine months commuting between Dickinson, ND and White Sulphur before Pam moved to the ranch and married Ron on December 26, 1992.

Ron loved the ranching life and everything that came with it, but was fortunate to travel the world as well - sightseeing in such unlikely places as Africa, Australia, Hawaii and England. But Ron's favorite destination was Costa Rica, where he travelled with his wife (Pam), children and grandchildren numerous times and made countless friends. It was ironic that Ron often found himself beachside because he didn't swim and he frequently, and seriously, declared that water "shouldn't be above the boots."

But despite all his travels, Ron's life was in White Sulphur. His greatest pleasures were sorting cows, waiting for blue-bells to bloom in spring, dancing with his beloved Pam, playing bridge with good friends, drinking ordinary coffee at Dori's Café, taking mountain drives to Sky Ranch for one of Jackie's meals, and the never-ending chase to rid a meadow of leafy spurge. Recently, Ron became interested in organizing a 2015 celebration for his family homestead's 100 year anniversary - even at 81 Ron was still planning ahead.

One of Ron's best qualities was his sincere sense of generosity. He was able and willing to open the doors of his home and heart to local kids in need and invited them into his family circle. In 2011, Ron decided to open his home to even more people, agreeing to host the Red Ants Pants Music Festival in the cow pasture behind his house in the belief that the event would serve his community well. Ron enjoyed the music with his family as though he were any other regular spectator, reclined in a pop-up chair, and the festival permitted Ron to indulge one of his other pleasures - meeting people from all walks of life.

Ron was active in many civic organizations including the Conservation District, the American Legion, the Eastern Star and the Mason's, of which he had been a member since February of 1954. He was so proud to know his grandson, Austin, was following in his footsteps to join the Mason's as well. A Presbyterian, Ron was very involved in the Yoked Parish with his wife, Pam, and gave his time whenever needed.

Ron was preceded in death by his parents, Oakley and Byrdie (Biggins) Jackson; a brother, Gilbert "Bub" Jackson; sisters Lucille Hutchison and Doris Bianchi; and granddaughter Kaitlyn Sereday.

Ron is survived by his wife of 21 years, Pam (Rohweder) Jackson; sister Maxine Stamper of Pahrump, NV; brother Richard Jackson of Walnut Creek, CA; sons Scott (Lynn) Jackson of White Sulphur and James (Jessica) Fandrich of Wishek, ND; daughters Nicolle (Shane) Sereday of White Sulphur and Christine (George Cave) Fandrich of Bismarck, ND; and twelve grandchildren.

Visitation will take place at the Yoked Parish in White Sulphur Springs on Monday, November 25 from 9 a.m. until 7 p.m. and Tuesday, November 26 from 9 a.m. until Noon. A funeral service is scheduled at the Yoked Parish at 1:00 p.m. with burial at Mayn Cemetery to follow. A coffee hour will take place at the Meagher County Senior Center after services are completed. Memorials in Ron's name are suggested to Martha Chapter #11 of the Eastern Star at P.O. Box 436 or the Yoked Parish at P.O. Box 732, White Sulphur Springs, MT. Please visit www.stevensonwilke.com to offer the family a condolence or to share a memory of Ron.



Funeral Home
Anderson Stevenson Wilke Funeral Home & Crematory
3750 N Montana Ave Helena, MT 59602
(406) 442-8520
Published in Great Falls Tribune on Nov. 24, 2013
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