ABILENE - On Wednesday, December 11, Ronald Gene Haley, "Ron", of Abilene Texas passed away at the age of 78.
Ron was born on August 21, 1941 in Abilene Texas to Louella Davenport and Chester Haley. Ron graduated from Loraine High School and later earned both his Bachelor of Science in Animal Science and a Master of Science in Animal Science from Texas A&M University. Throughout his life, Ron had several careers including teaching and a brief stint in real estate. He also worked as welder and farrier throughout his life.
Ron grew up in Mertzon and later Colorado City where he lived for many years on the Byrne ranch with his mother, Louella, stepfather Bruce Byrne, sisters Sharon Byrne Sadler and Datha Byrne Johnson, brothers Byron Byrne and Robert Haley. As a youth, he often took charge of caring for his siblings and valued his time growing up on the ranch, which no doubt contributed to his love of animals and science.
A self-proclaimed "dyed in the wool" Aggie, Ron was never one to miss an Aggie football game and was always eager to share stories of his treasured time as a student at Texas A&M serving in the Corps of Cadets and later working at the Animal Science Center during his graduate studies where he was an instructor and resided at and managed the Texas A&M Horse Center.
Ron's studies at Texas A&M were interrupted with a call to serve in the Vietnam War where he served in the 1st Cavalry Division of the U.S. Army. Upon his return, at the end of his military career, he was stationed at Fort Riley, Kansas as an Honorary Trooper where he was commissioned to care for the last cavalry horse, "Chief". His fondness of horses contributed to one of his proudest moments of service. Chief was the last cavalry horse in the US Army and was one of four horses in US history to be buried with military honors. Chief has been credited as the last living operational cavalry mount owned by the US Army and was buried in an upright position.
Ron's love of learning continued throughout his life. He obtained a Composite Science teaching certificate and worked as a curriculum planning advisor for Region 18 in Ector County where he also taught science at Crockett Junior High School and at the Career Center in Odessa, Texas. His love of science and learning extended beyond his life with his donation to The Texas A&M University School of Medicine Department of Neuroscience and Experimental Therapeutics. It was his decision to donate life so that others may live. Ron was a member of the Abilene Retired Teachers Association and the Abilene A&M Club.
Ron is preceded in death by his mother, Louella, his father, Chester Haley, his sister, Sharon Byrne Sadler, and his brother, Robert Haley.
A loving husband and proud father, Ron fondly referred to as "Popsy" is survived by his wife, Betty Haley; son, Heath Stidham Haley; daughter, Holly Haley Rabinowitz and husband Adam; and three stepchildren, Mike Wilson and wife Renee, Kathi Carter, and Kyla McGuffin and husband Dawson; thirteen grandchildren and eleven great-grandchildren.
The family would like to express their most sincere gratitude to the staff at Abilene Regional Medical Center, PCU for the loving care they provided Popsy during his last days.
A memorial to honor Ron's life will be held on Saturday, December 14 at 2 PM at the Texas State Veteran's Cemetery in Abilene Texas. At Ron's request, his body was given to medical research studies.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial donations may be made to the Department of Neuroscience and Experimental Therapeutics, Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine. Please designate the Anatomical Gift Fund as the recipient, in memory of Ron Haley, 8447 State Highway 47, Bryan, Texas 77807-3260.
Published in Odessa American on Dec. 14, 2019.