Ron Birdwell was born September 20th, 1938 and was called home to Jesus while at home, surrounded by his family, on October 26th, 2020.
Ron was the second child born to Jesse H. Birdwell and Leona McCormick Birdwell in Scottsbluff, Nebraska. He was one of four boys in a family that moved around many times to find work during and after the Great Depression. During his childhood, he enjoyed spending summers at the McCormick family farm in Griswold, Iowa. Ron began his working years at age 14 where he worked long hours in a lumber mill for 10 cents a day. On his 17th birthday, he enlisted in the Navy where he set sail aboard the USS Helena, venturing to Japan, the Philippines, Taiwan, and many other places. While in the Navy, he worked as a boilermaker and found the trade that would become his lifelong career. He always proudly spoke of serving his country in a time “of wooden ships and iron men”.
After completing his service, Ron married his first wife, and adopted a daughter, Patty. His second marriage welcomed two sons, Ronald Ray, jr. in 1968 and Patrick Shannon in 1970, along with his beloved stepsons, Michael and Terry Nunns. In September 1980, Ron met the love of his life, Cheryl, in Dallas, Texas. They married March 21st, 1981. In May of that same year, they packed their belongings and headed north for Montana, a lifelong dream of Ron’s that Cheryl also shared. They had their sights set on Kalispell, but God led them to Roundup where they found their dream in a piece of land they named “Serenity”. Ron, Cheryl, Ronnie, and Rick truly homesteaded the bare piece of land and six months of sweat and dedication, they built their log cabin. In 1983, they welcomed a son, Jonathan. By 1985, the economy in Montana left jobs scarce and with the help of Ron’s younger brother, Bob, the family relocated to Bellevue, Washington and eventually settled in Vancouver where Ron began a very rewarding career with Carrier, a large industrial heating and air conditioning company. While in Washington, Ron and Cheryl welcomed two daughters, Summer in 1987 and Katrina, in 1993. In 1995, Ron knew he wanted to get his family out of the city and back to the place where his heart was; Montana. The family packed up and moved back to Roundup while Ron continued travelling with Carrier and eventually Johnson Controls, another heating and air conditioning company. In 1997, Ron opened his own business, Birdwell HVAC. Ron loved being his own boss and while serving his community he met and made deep friendships with his customers and other local professionals.
In 2009, at the age of 71, Ron made the difficult but necessary decision to retire and close his business. During his retirement, he stayed busy doing projects around his beloved Serenity and making countless memories with his family. In 2014, Ron and Cheryl adopted their final child, Destiny, who was born in 2004. Camping trips, drives to the mountains, sight-seeing, watching his grandbabies be born, holding hands with his sweetheart, and making 100 years’ worth of plans for the future. In August, Ron and Cheryl relocated to their new forever home outside of Lavina, Montana. Ron loved having coffee with his sweetheart on the front porch overlooking the river; he told his family every day that he was finally home.
Ron’s life was dedicated to 3 things; his God, his family, and his work and always in that order. He turned his life over to God in 1997 and looked forward to the day he would be welcomed to his eternal home with Jesus. Ron lived for and loved his family. His love for his bride, Cheryl, never faltered and while it could embarrass her at times, his whole family idolized his love for his wife.
Ron is preceded in death by his parents, Jesse Birdwell and Leona Hyde; brothers, Robert (Christine) Birdwell and Larry Birdwell; sons, Patrick (Janice) Birdwell and Terry (MaryAnn) Nunns; daughter-in-law Janie (Patrick) Birdwell; and dear friends James Higgins, Gary Miller, and Jack Church.
Ron is survived by his beloved wife Cheryl; children, Ronald “Ronnie” Ray (Sabina) Birdwell jr., Michael (Christine) Nunns, Jonathan (Sherami) Birdwell, Summer Birdwell (Chris Buttram), Katrina (Michael) Mullin, and Destiny Birdwell; grandchildren Macayla (Wesley) Jessen, Brittany Birdwell, Mariah (Dillon) Phipps, Jameson Birdwell, Lyla and Izzy Bellino, Kylynn Mullin, Paisley Rutschke, Carter Mullin, Brynlee Birdwell, and Logan Mullin; and one great-grandchild, Emily Phipps; brother, Keith (Nancy) Birdwell and sister-in-law, Christine Birdwell.
While his family knows he is no longer in pain, they will forever feel the enormous void he left. His stories, his memories, and his values will live on through the lives of those he leaves behind. A small family service will take place at 2:00pm on Sunday, November 1st, at the family farm in Lavina. Ron’s family would like to thank Stillwater Hospice for the loving care they provided to him in his final days.
To plant a tree in memory of Ronald Ray Birdwell, Sr., visit the Tribute Store.
201 Bundy Road
Lavina, MT 59046