"Chief" Richard P. Ruonala
October 02, 1934 - September 04, 2016
Goose Creek, SC
Richard "Chief" Ruonala, 81, left as quickly as he possibly could, once he knew it was inevitable. He made that blessed trip to heaven in the early morning of September 4, 2016. His anticipation and desire to reunite with his (predeceased) bride of 53 years appeared to increase daily. Even when his speech had stopped, his smile had not.
Born in Boston, Massachusetts in 1934 to the late Eli and Ruth Ruonala. The first several years of his life were quite difficult. But, instead of allowing his hardship to mold him, he was a man determined use it to provide him with the drive to prove he was a good man worthy of love. His family can give testament to the fact that he was successful in that endeavor, and that he loved to hit a golf ball!
He enlisted in the US Navy and served our country for 21 years. Though it took years to become evident, the exposure received in Vietnam caused great injury to his body. He eventually became 100% disabled in body...but, not in spirit.
He attended Baptist College and received his BS. Then he began his second career in law enforcement and retired as Chief of Police in Goose Creek, SC.
He is survived by his children, Terri Anderson (Michael) of Summerville, SC; Rick Ruonala (Susan) of Myrtle Beach, SC; Ray Ruonala of Charleston, SC; and Crystal Alexander of Goose Creek, SC;13 grandchildren; 3 great-grandsons; a sister, Laura :Terry" Vander-Heyden (Leon) of Arizona; three sister-in laws, Judy McClain (Mack) of Louisiana; Ellen Rogers of Virginia; Juanita "Nita" Gallagher (Andy) of Virginia; and several nephews. He is predeceased by his beloved, Grace.
Friends of the Chief and his family are invited as we come together to celebrate his life on Tuesday September 13, 2016 at 5:00pm at The Chapel of the Holy Spirit on 526 College Park Road in Ladson, SC. The family will gladly receive guests an hour before the service. If you have a fond memory of the Chief, please write it down and bring it to the service.
On September 16, 2016 at 3:00pm, Chief will have a burial service at Fort Jackson National Cemetery in Columbia, South Carolina with the military honors he so richly deserves.
Published in The Sun News on Sept. 10, 2016