Harold Ronald 'Ron' Harkins
Phoenix - Harold Ronald 'Ron' Harkins passed away peacefully in Phoenix, AZ on August 1, 2020, at the age of 76.
As a gentle, caring husband, brother, uncle, great uncle and friend he will remain in the hearts of those he touched throughout his life.
Born in Mesa, Arizona on May 5, 1944 to the late Dwight 'Red' and Alice (Peralta) Harkins, Ron grew up on 7th Street in Tempe, with his older brothers LeRoy and Dee, sharing a close lifelong bond. Introduced to electronics at an early age by his father, Ron developed a keen interest and aptitude for radios, and became an enthusiastic apprentice for his father's entertainment businesses.
Ron graduated from Tempe High School in 1962, and attended Phoenix College, ASU and Ron Ballie School of Broadcast. He proudly joined the US Army in 1967, completing basic training at Ft Bliss, TX, then stationed at Ft Monmouth, NJ, and Ft Bragg, NC. He then deployed to Cam Ranh Bay, Vietnam where he helped to establish and operate a MARS communication station which facilitated weekly calls home for thousands of servicemen. He was honorably discharged from the 6th Special Forces - Airborne Division in 1970 with the rank of Sergeant.
In 1972, Ron married a fellow Arizona native, Joan King. They were a fantastic team. Together they built and operated KSTM-FM 107.1 radio station in Apache Junction, providing music, news and sports broadcasting. Ron had a passion for DJing: starting in 1959 with his inception of Tempe High's summer 'Teen Canteen', he spun records for the community for the next 60 years. 'Ron the Pro DJ' was a mainstay for Arizonans' most special events, and he thrived on modernizing his sound engineering and maintaining a vast music library.
Ron enjoyed a lifetime of travelling and sharing experiences with family, starting with memorable road trips with his brothers to Yosemite National Park in 1961, then to Seattle World's Fair in 1962. For decades Ron and Joan criss-crossed the US, travelling with her parents, Roy and Maxine King, to National Senior Tennis Tournaments. Ron photographed the senior players of the National Senior Women's Tennis Association, and was thrilled whenever his pictures were published in an issue of the NSWTA's magazine. He thoroughly enjoyed cuisine from small dives to fancy restaurants. Ron was a walking encyclopedia of where to eat and what to order when in dozens of cities across the US. He also loved meeting family at the movie theatre.
Ron was very grateful for our country's belated recognition of the service and sacrifices made by its Vietnam Vets. His mother worked tirelessly in her lifetime to this end, including volunteering with the American Legion Auxiliary. Ron was proud to share his army experiences with his grandnephew Benjamin Leonard during their annual Veteran's Day phone calls, and with grandniece Cassandra Leonard as the subject of a Veteran's Journey project. He also volunteered for several years at the Phoenix VA Hospital.
Ron will be remembered for his amazing ability to connect with people (he never met a stranger), his storytelling, and his love for his family and his country. Both as a DJ and a treasured family member, Ron brought life to the party.
Ron is survived by his beloved wife of 48 years, Joan, as well as brothers LeRoy (Edith) of Tempe, AZ and Dee (Sharon) of Chandler, AZ; half-siblings Dan of Phoenix, AZ and Demi Jensen (Chris) of Phoenix, AZ; and brother-in-law Kerry King of El Segundo, CA; also nieces Jennifer Leonard (Patrick) of Lake Oswego, OR, Stephanie Harkins of San Diego, CA, Kathryn Patterson (Rob) of Louisville, KY, Lacy Tageson (Scott) of Rincon, GA, Millicent Harkins of Tempe, AZ, Kamy King of Portland, OR, and nephew Kraig King of Phoenix, AZ; as well as (9) grandnieces, (5) grandnephews, (1) great grandniece and (3) great grandnephews. Ron was preceded in death by his half-brother Gary.
A private family service will be held; virtual participation will be provided by Greenwood Memory Lawn Cemetery. On Aug 13, at 10am please visit website https://www.dignitymemorial.com/obituaries/phoenix-az/ron-harkins-9298665
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Freedom Service Dogs of America https://freedomservicedogs.org