In Memory

Ronald Thon

Ronald Thon

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06/10/12 01:40 AM #1    

Karen Gerstl (LeDuke)

Ronald Thon (correct spelling) was our neighbor and our paperboy when I first met him.  He was one of the many kids in the neighborhood that played together.  I remember once when we were about 13, there was a vacant lot 2 doors down and my girlfriend and I were playing there, we came upon a big rubber hose, and we were walking it like a tight rope, when all of a sudden we heard this loud buzzing sound.  Within seconds my friend was covered with bees and screaming.......I ran for help, also screaming.  Ronnie had been nearby with a bow and arrow set and came to my friends rescue, whacking her with the bow to make the bees go away, now he was screaming too as he was being stung.  They both got quite a few stings, but survived.....that was the day my crush on Ronnie Thon started.  He was my hero!

We both ended up working at Picciolo's Restaurant on Capital Drive.  He made the pizza's and I was a waitress.  He developed quite a talent for tossing the dough in the air while making the pizza. 

After Graduation we dated briefly, but our lives took different paths.  I met my husband,  and got engaged.

The last time I saw Ronnie alive was in June of 1963, it was in Tennessee.  My parents were driving me to Georgia to get married, and we pulled into a Stuckey's for a rest stop.  We noticed another car in the parking lot with Wisconsin plates as we walked in.  When I came out of the restroom, and was waiting for my family, I noticed a guy standing next to me.  I turned to look and it was Ronnie Thon.  We hugged and were shocked to see eachother.  He drove with his buddy to get fireworks for the upcoming 4th of July.  That seemed like a long drive just for fireworks.  We said goodbye.

In 1966 I got a call from the girl who was stung by the bees, she lived across the street from Ronnie's mom.

She told me that he had died.  He was stationed in Fort Bragg, North Carolina he was a Green Beret.

He was engaged to Gail.  Gail had an ex-boyfriend that left town 2 years before, and she had never heard from him again, so she moved on and met Ronnie.  Well on a Friday night, they were watching TV, when there was a knock at the door.  Gail opened the door and her ex was there.  She explained that she had moved on, and asked him to leave.  He left, but came back with a gun.  He opened the door and shot Ronnie in the back, as he watched TV.  Gail called the police.  The guy picked Ron up and carried him to his car, and pulled away as the police were approaching.  The police chased him, he panicked and shot Ron again, this time in the stomach.

Ron lay unconcious in the hospital for 3 days, till Sept. 18th, 1966 when he died at 22 yrs of age!  I heard that the shooter served 15 years for his murder.  Really??

I went to his funeral, it was a full military funeral.  When they shot the guns their was not a dry eye there.  Such a useless waste of a young life.   R.I.P. Ronald Thon

06/21/12 06:46 AM #2    

Patricia McCarthy (McCarthy)

Until now, I didn't know how Ron died. I remember him as being gentle and sweet, (and a major hunk).He is with the angels, and I know they appreciate him. Sleep tight, Ronnie. 



07/02/12 01:24 PM #3    

Kenneth Pallaske

Ron and I were friends -more casual than anything. We enjoyed each other's company from time to time. He was a great guy. I was shocked to find out about his death at the 10 year reunion. I found out he had been shot but, little more than that. Thank you for sharing this with us, Karen. I sense that it had to be difficult for you.


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