On the evening of July 3rd, 2015, Ron passed away after a long battle with a very rare form of amyloidosis, in the loving comfort of his wife and children at St. Vincent DePaul Medical Center in St. Louis, Missouri. Ron was only 62 years old.
Ron was born November 26th, 1952, in Henley, Missouri, a scenic country town south of Jefferson City, the middle of three sons born to Dennie and Bertie Spalding.
ďRonnieĒ as he was fondly named by his close family, was a cute little boy, full of sunshine and wonder, with an optimism and love for people and Godís Earth that was always inspiring to those around him. He loved being outside, fishing, hunting with the family coon dogs, riding and training horses, playing baseball, basketball and football, and helping his dad at the family service station and stables.
He was very much the middle son, always striving to help everyone get along and keep those he loved happy and content. Times were not easy and Ronnie grew up quickly, learning to be diligent and dedicated to his responsibilities - though he never for a second lost that little boy sunshine and sparkle in his eyes.
Ron quickly grew to love the challenge of academics and sports, and the intricacies of science, especially chemistry and engineering. He excelled in track and baseball and won several science and other academic awards, finishing his Jefferson City High School career as his class Valedictorian.
During his senior year, he was introduced to his future wife, the beautiful Quenned Powell of Jefferson City. They bonded and became best friends for life, weathering the next four years apart as they began the next chapter of their lives, off to the university.
Armed with Monty Python humor and the love and support of his future wife, Ron embarked for the University of Missouri at Rolla, a tough engineering school for only the most witty and studious future engineers. Ron had a baseball scholarship and balanced his time well between academics, sports, work on the oil rigs and out in the fields, great friends, and of course many trips back and forth to Springfield to visit Quen. He graduated from the schools of Engineering Management and Chemical Engineering in 1974, and he and Quen were married on Flag Day, June 14th, 1975.
He began his engineering career at Bethlehem Steel near Chicago, but being quite ambitious and a bit of an entrepreneur, he moved around a lot, working in real estate, water treatment engineering, and advancing his engineering management career. Ron and Quen moved about 20 times, living in Iowa, Texas, Louisiana, Delaware, and finally moving back to their beloved Missouri, settling west of St. Louis, designing and building their dream home. Ron enjoyed Quenís endless love and support throughout all the moving and career changes, not to mention weekly business travels that kept him away from home much of the time.
Their first child, Kristen was born in 1979 in Iowa and trekked with them through many of their travels. Their second, Ryan, was born in 1984 in Texas, enjoying his school years growing up in beautiful Lake Saint Louis. Ronís children have many fond memories of the affection and care he showed them throughout their lives and how he always taught them to work hard and smart, but have lots of fun along the way. He believed in always doing the right thing simply because it is the right thing to do, and any other benefits that may come are just icing on the cake.
Kristen wed her husband Michael in 2003 and had Ronís first grandson Sam in 2008. His second grandson William was born in 2011. Ronís love of children was expressed in the way he cherished his time with the little boys. They adored him and the love and strength he planted in their hearts will serve them well their whole lives. Ryan wed Mollie June 27th of this year. They begin their journey together with Ronís gifts of love, optimism and strength in their heart and soul. He will enjoy watching their marriage blossom and family grow from his Heavenly vista.
Ron was one of those rare individuals who loved competition purely for the spirit of the event and participated in numerous running and biking races as well as triathlons throughout his adulthood. Sadly, as the effects of amyloidosis spread throughout his body, one of his greatest distresses became his inability to participate in these events. His last triathlon was at age 55.
He believed people were best well-rounded; the more you dedicate yourself to, the richer a person you are. He always strove to be a supportive and caring husband and father, a creative and brilliant engineer, and an exceptional manager and leader, earning his MBA from Southern Illinois University in 1998. He also participated in several academic and professional fraternities over his college and professional career. Ron was quietly spiritual and believed it was each personís duty to work hard, do good for the world every day, take good care of their body, mind and health, and be there to ease the burden and bring sunshine to the path of others.
Ron really enjoyed live blues music, 60ís and 70ís rock, and playing the acoustic guitar. He loved taking his family to the beach, to see fireworks, to the fair and amusement parks, on fun water and snow skiing vacations, and riding his motorcycle on beautiful country roads, with Kristen on back as often as she could manage. He was a loyal Cardinals fan and enjoyed many games with family and friends. Ron was also a patient and effective teacher. He loved to help others, and a good share of his childrenís math and science skills can be attributed to countless hours of his help with school. He had hoped to have a second career as a professor in his retirement.
Perhaps one of the staunchest testaments to Ronís character was that he gave life everything he had, with every ounce of optimism, love and faith he could muster. He proudly stood and gave a beautiful speech at Ryan and Mollieís rehearsal dinner the night before their wedding, joining family and friends in celebration afterward. He was in pain vaster than we can comprehend. God knew he had expended everything he had and compassionately released his soul the following morning.
Ron was preceded in death by his father Dennie and his older brother Ted. Both were also wonderful men whose lives were overcome early in the grueling struggle with amyloidosis.
Ron is survived by his wife Quen, his daughter Kristen, son Ryan, son-in-law Michael, daughter-in-law Molly, and his grandsons Sam and William.
Ronís ashes remain in the Lake Saint Louis home he and Quen built to raise their family. In lieu of flowers or gifts, donations to the ATTR Familial Amyloidosis branch of the Amyloidosis Research Foundation in memory of Ron Spalding would be greatly appreciated to help find treatments for this devastating disease. Please contact Muriel Finkle: firstname.lastname@example.org 866-404-7539 / 708-987-7711 Ė our most heartfelt thanks for your donations.
Tremendous gratitude to Dr. Merril Benson and his research team at Indiana University, Dr. Mazen Hanna and his team at the Cleveland Clinic, and Alnylam Pharmaceuticals for their dedication to finding treatments for ATTR FAP/FAC and their kindness and support to Ron and his family. Many thanks to Dr. Kevin Weikart, family physician and personal friend, for his care and support to the family. Also, the family would like to thank the Lake Saint Louis Police and Fire Departments, all the physicians and staff at the SSM St. Joseph Medical Center ICU in Lake Saint Louis, and all the physicians and staff at the St. Vincent DuPaul CCU for their expertise, exceptional care, grace and compassion for all of us.
Thanks be to God in His Mercy to end Ronís suffering in the flesh, before it had broken his character or caused him any more agony and grief. Although our heartache is immense, we know our beloved husband, father and grandfather is well in the comfort of Godís hands.