Ronald Joseph Lievens, age 84 passed away in Olathe, Kansas on June 8th 2021.
Ron was born in Atkinson, Illinois on October 30th 1936, where he spent his childhood on a farm with his parents Joe and Rose Lievens and older sisters Marian and Pat. In high school, he met Dina, the love of his life and wife of 63 years. Ron left Atkinson in 1954, to serve in the Air Force until 1958, when he was honorably discharged with the rank of Airman First Class. After returning to the States, Ron and Dina were married and moved to Rapid City, South Dakota where he attended South Dakota School of Mines and Technology earning his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering. While still in college, they welcomed their first daughter, Kelly, in 1959. After graduation, the family moved to La Crosse, Wisconsin where they welcomed their second daughter, Christi, in 1963. 1966 brought their youngest daughter, Cindy, and the move to Onalaska, Wisconsin where they lived and raised their daughters.
Ron spent his career working in the heating and air conditioning industry, working for Trane Company, DBO Corporation, Twin City Fan and Blower, Acme Engineering, and finished his career working for Emerson Ventilation Products in Kansas. He received at least twelve patents for his fan designs. Ron was very humble in his professional achievements, but it should be noted that he designed the air conditioning system for the second tower of the World Trade Center. By the end of his career, he had risen to a vice president of engineering at Emerson Ventilation. He also contributed to his community as a La Crosse county board member, Onalaska school board member and president, and spearheaded the annexation of his subdivision into the city of Onalaska. No matter where they lived, he served as an usher in the local Catholic church. Most recently, at Prince of Peace Church in Olathe, Kansas, he and Dina served communion to homebound parishioners. We often joked that they were older than the people they visited.
Ron was a man of many talents. He was quick with a joke, known for the mischievous twinkle in his eye, and optimistic attitude. Ron enjoyed spending time outdoors, fishing, hunting, golfing, trapshooting, and spending weekends waterskiing with his girls on the Black River and Lake Neshonoc. When the girls were little, they enjoyed taking rides with their dad on his motorcycle, often stopping at a golf course or local spot to play pool. He also channeled his skills as an engineer to build and fly model airplanes. Ron and Dina also enjoyed traveling to many places including Mexico, Hawaii, Alaska, Italy, Vatican City, France and England. In retirement, he discovered a newfound passion for woodworking, yet another way to utilize his design skills. Throughout the year, time was spent creating homemade Christmas gifts for every family member. These were not just wood projects but works of art that will be passed down to future generations. Christmas was also a special time for Ron to spoil his family with delicious meats cooked in his smoker. The entire family looked forward to the holidays in hopes of winning the family Euchre tournament, always crossing their fingers to have Ron as a partner. Other favorite past times included watching westerns, reading science fiction books, taking naps in his chair, enjoying a good drink, watching KU basketball and KC Royals baseball with Dina.
Ron was preceded in death by his parents and sisters. He is survived his wife, Dina, nee Simon; daughters Kelly Clark (Brad), Christi Gramling (Tim), Cindy Dettlaff (Jay); his seven grandchildren Tracy Roe (Nic), Jim Clark, Daniel, David, and Matthew (Shannon) Gramling, Cassidy and Sawyer Dettlaff; and two great-grandsons, Colton and Shey Roe.
He was loved by many and will be dearly missed.
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