Ronald Eugene RIEL (1938 - 2017)

6 entries | 1 photo
  • "We were very sorry to hear of Ron's passing. We always..."
    - John and Lanae McCormick
  • "Thank you for your service to our country. Rest in peace."
  • "Ron's big spirit, warm hugs, and quick smile and wit will..."
    - Susan Byorth
  • "I'm so very sorry for your loss. He was a wonderful man..."
    - Wendy Strain
  • "Ron was truly one of a kind and was like a 2nd Dad to me..."
    - Monica Heidman
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Ronald Eugene Riel died peacefully in his home on September 10, 2017 in Spokane Valley, WA at the age of 79.
Ronald is survived by the love of his life, wife, Kathie Riel; five children and their spouses Ron Riel (Terry), Cherie Wall (Dave), Laurie Gilstrap (Kerry), David Riel (Barbara) and Michele Haus (Al); 16 grandchildren: Alex and Natalie Riel, Ryan and Nick (Tara) Wall, Nicole (Kasey Folsom), Justin, Jaclyn, and Joseph Gilstrap, Darren and Ethan Cheatham, Devin and Jennifer Riel, Brandon, Ashley, Emily and Maria Haus; and four great-grandchildren, Makenna Wall, Lincoln Wall, Kasey and Brentin Folsom; sister Jan (Bob) Martin, and numerous nieces and nephews. He is preceded in death by his parents Ronald Joseph and Alice Dravis Riel.
Ron was born on March 23, 1938 in Yakima, WA. He grew up on the family hop farm in Wapato, WA where he learned to operate heavy equipment. His love of flying started at an early age and he achieved his pilot's license in high school. He graduated from Marquette High School in 1956 and from Gonzaga University in 1962 with a degree in Marketing. While at Gonzaga, he was a member of the ROTC, and of the renowned Gonzaga Glee Club. He married Kathie Acher, his college sweetheart, in 1962. They recently celebrated their 55th wedding anniversary with a family gathering in Minnesota. Immediately after graduating from Gonzaga, he entered the Navy as an Ensign and moved to Milton, Florida to attend Navy Flight School. After several years of training, he was deployed overseas multiple times in support of the Vietnam War where he flew P2V patrol and anti-submarine warfare aircraft. After his military service, he was hired by Northwest Orient Airlines as a pilot. Over the next 10 years, Ron and Kathie happily welcomed their five children into their home. His children remember him as a hard-working father who encouraged them to pursue their goals and was always there to share his wisdom. Frequent camping and motorhome trips throughout their childhood will be cherished memories. Though a pilot strike caused him to work at various jobs for a few years, eventually, he was recalled to work at Northwest, and returned to his true calling and enjoyed a rewarding career as a pilot. During his career with Northwest, he was privileged to fly many different types of aircraft and retired as a B-747-400 Captain.
Upon retirement, Ron and Kathie returned to the Pacific Northwest, settling in the Spokane Valley. Ron was very active during retirement. He was a member of the Knights of Columbus, St. Mary's Catholic Church, holding several officer positions. He was also an active member of the Spokane Valley Kiwanis Club where he volunteered and served in numerous capacities and was honored to ultimately preside as Lieutenant Governor of Division 46 of the Pacific Northwest District. He was a dedicated member of St. Mary's Catholic Church in Spokane Valley where he served as a Eucharistic Minister. Ron was a lifelong Gonzaga Basketball fan, attending both the men's and women's games for many years. Ron could frequently be found working in his yard on his tractor or indoors enjoying a fine novel. Ron always had a passion for fishing and enjoyed his last fishing trip on Father's Day with one of his sons and a granddaughter.
A Vigil will be held on Wednesday, September 13 at 7:00pm and a Funeral Mass will be celebrated on Thursday, September 14, 2017 at 10:00am both at St. Mary's Catholic Church, 304 S. Adams, Spokane Valley. Father Mike Ishida will officiate the ceremonies. Interment will take place at St. Joseph Catholic Cemetery the same day at 1pm. All are welcome to attend and celebrate Ronald Riel's life. Arrangements have been entrusted to:


Published in Spokesman-Review on Sept. 13, 2017
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