Ron Wilkins

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Lieutenant Colonel (retired) Ronald Bryce Wilkins, age 66, died of natural causes at his alpine home in Bellevue, Colorado on Monday, January 15, 2017. Ron was born to Maxine and Bryce Wilkins on April 11, 1951 in Goodland, Kansas, just prior to the family relocating to Colorado to be closer to both his maternal and paternal grandparents. Ron spent a great deal of time with his grandparents and was influenced to a desire toward military service by his grandfather, Cecil Wilkins and a passion to ranching by his grandfather, Paul Brown. His formative years were spent in Hugo, Colorado where his parents published the Eastern Colorado Plainsman, then later moved to Mitchell, Nebraska to complete high school while working in his family business, The Index and also Scottsbluff Star-Herald. Ron graduated from Mitchell High School in 1969. Ron married Belinda (Beanie) Yakel of Gering, Nebraska in December of 1969. Three children were born to this union; Brandy Lorraine, Christina Noel and Veronica Lynette. He continued in the family business as publisher of the Julesburg (CO) Advocate and later founding the Haxtun (CO) Herald. Ron and Beanie divorced after selling his interest in the Julesburg Advocate in 1989 after a 20-year publishing career to pursue a career in health care. Ron returned to Scottsbluff to complete his BSN in nursing from the University of Nebraska where he met classmate Rena "Reye". Ron and Rena were married May 10, 1991. After completing their degrees, the couple enlisted as officers in the United States Air Force, training at Lackland AFB in San Antonio, Texas. They were stationed in Biloxi, Mississippi, San Antonio, Texas and Aurora, Colorado. Although joining the military late in life at age 40, Ron achieved rank of Lt. Colonel. During his military service Ron completed five oversees tours serving the wounded in Peru, Iraq, Turkey and Germany. In addition to his military service, he was a nurse administrator for the Veteran's Administration. Ron retired from service in 2013 to resume his passion for animal husbandry on a small ranch in the Big Horn Canyon, north of Loveland. In addition to his animals, Ron had a zeal for life in his guns, motorcycle riding, jeeping, four-wheeling but most of all his fourteen grandchildren. Ron was a lifetimemember/officer of Loveland  American Legion Post 2000 as well as being active in God's Country Cowboy Church. Ron is survived by his wife Rena; daughters, Brandi Pontius, Gwyn Weisberg, Christina Eeckhout, Christy Kramer, and Veronica Wilkins; sister, Janet Reneau; brother, Kevin Wilkins; and his mother, Maxine Goldsmith in addition to his much-loved grandchildren Takota, Cian, Vidana, Alirice, Thane, Sydney, Taylyn, Shaylyne, Kaden, Christian, Tristian, Aspen, Autumn and Troy. He was preceded in death by his father, C. Bryce Wilkins. A memorial service with military honors was held on Saturday, January 20 at God's Country Cowboy Church in Loveland. Donations to the Shriner's Hospital (www.schrinershospitalforchildren.org) may be made in his honor in lieu of flowers.

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