Ronald “Ron” W. Russell, 82 of Gladstone, MO, died Thursday, August 22, 2019 at North Kansas City Hospital.
He leaves his wife, Ruth Ann (Adams) Russell, of 36 years, his daughter, Vicki Pakwood; his son Steve Russell; his daughter Debbie Russell; his daughter Sharon Russell; his son Jason Russell, 10 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren.
He was born and raised in Maryville, Tennessee, in the Foot Hills of the Smoky Mountains. He was the son of Jesse and Katherine (Lewis) Russell of Maryville, Tennessee. He was the oldest of 5 children and helped to raise his 4 sisters, who always called him “Buddy”. He attended school in Maryville up to and including the 8th grade.
In 1956, Ron joined the United States Army. The Army motivated him to complete his High School Education and test out of the College Equivalent Exam, which represented 2 years of College.
In 1960, Ron attended the Non-commissioned Officer Class and was promoted to Sergeant E5, where he served as a Motor Pool Sergeant in the Seventh Army Support Command, 85 Ordinance Battalion in Germany. 4415 Unit maintained the General Motor Pool as well as a fleet of “Dragon Wagons”.
Ron returned to the United States, where he served with Company B, 701st Maintenance Battalion, Fort Riley, Kansas. During his tenure at Fort Riley, Ron experienced a blood clot, which caused blindness in his left eye. The Army placed Ron on Limited Activities (desk work). When his re-up came around, Ron left the Army after 9 years of service.
In November of 1964, Ron moved his family to Kansas City, where he worked a number of different jobs. in 1965, Ron took a position at Bill Allen Chevrolet GMC. Where he worked on GMC trucks for the next 9 years.
In 1974, Ron left Bill Allen Chevrolet and started his own business, Ramblin’ Ron’s Inc. A mobile road service company with a hand full of tools and an aluminum step van and $100.00. Over the years he acquired a business located at 1427 Garfield, which became his company headquarters. Over the next few years, he added a bigger facility across the street at 2010 Truman Rd. and later a body shop that adjoined the original truck shop on Garfield. At the height of the operation, he employed a dozen mechanics and body shop staff, as well as part dept and office staff. In 2002, Ron and Ruth retired and rented out the facilities.
For the next 17 years, Ron’s heart continued to deteriorate. A series of medical complications plagued Ron. He lost most all of his hearing and toward the end, he became totally blind. In the last few months, Ron’s Congestive Heart Failure limited his activities.
Ron entered North Kansas City Hospital for the last time on Saturday, August 17, 2019. He was in the ICU until Wednesday, August 21, 2019, when he relocated to the Hospital Hospice Center. Ron passed away peacefully with family members at his side at 7:45 pm on Thursday, August 22, 2019.
As per Ron’s wishes, a gathering of Family and Friends will be held at Stroud’s, on the deck, 5410 NE Oak Ridge Drive, Kansas City, MO, on Monday, September 9th, 2019. Please arrive at 6:00 pm. The buffet will open at 6:30 pm, followed by a remembrance of “Radical Ron’s Life”. Come prepared to share memories and tales.