1936 – 2020
Ronald Emory Wegener was born December 14th, 1936 in Warrenton, Missouri to Burnie and Ava Wegener. He lived in the house in which he was born throughout high school. He played every sport offered but was a stand-out in basketball, plus excelled at the b-flat clarinet and in vocal music as well as academically. During the summers and whenever possible during the school year, Ron worked in the clay pits and shoveled coal to earn money for college. He graduated from the Missouri School of Mines and Metallurgy in Rolla, MO, completing the five-year program in electrical engineering in four years. Ron was also a United States Army Second Lieutenant.
In 1958, Ron moved to St. Louis, MO where he worked at Emerson Electric and Monsanto. In 1963 he married the love of his life, Karen O’Sullivan. He received a Master of Business Administration in 1965 from St. Louis University. He became the University of Missouri’s Business and Industry Specialist in 1970. Ron moved his family to Lamar after being recruited by Tom O’Sullivan Sr., to become the Manager of Engineering at O’Sullivan Industries in 1972. When O’Sullivan Industries built the new warehouse, Ron ensured it was completed under budget.
Ron was active in the community, always trying to make it an even better place to live. He strongly supported public education, having served on the Lamar R-1 School Board for 12 years, including many as President of the Board. The highlight of his boar tenure was working tirelessly with the architects to ensure the new high school incorporated every possible feature available at the time while the building was completed on time and budget. He served on the Mary K. Finley Library Board for many years and was Board President for the past few years. He was also on the Board of Directors for the George Washington Carver Center.
Always an active member of the United Methodist Church, Ron served the Lord as a Trustee, a Sunday school teacher and on the Administrative Board as well as other numerous committees over the years. He was a “prime mover” in the construction of the new Sanctuary and Family Life Center, which the congregation and several community organizations now enjoy. His beautiful bass voice was an asset to the choir Sunday after Sunday.
Ron had a brilliant mind. His wife has always said that he was the smartest person she ever knew. For instance, at a checkout counter at the grocery store, he would add the prices and identify the total even before the cash register. In recent years, Ron and Karen have enjoyed playing “wordscapes”, a word puzzle on their cell phones. Karen would complete about 80 – 90% of the words and then get stuck on the last and hardest one or two words, she would then tell him “it’s your turn” and almost always he would complete the puzzle in 15 – 20 seconds. Ron was precise in his use of language, resulting in being the unofficial editor of legal letters and contracts for O’Sullivan Industries until such time as a lawyer was hired. No letter got his approval if any word was misspelled or if there was a grammatical error. When he started negotiating with German woodworking machinery suppliers, he learned German in order to better communicate with the manufacturers.
Known for his sense of humor and dry wit, Ron was a prankster. When giving a layman’s sermon one Sunday morning, he pretended to have lost his place, he stuttered and stammered long enough that people in the congregation were becoming rather uncomfortable. The joke was on the listeners though because he used this to begin a discussion about empathy. One Easter, Karen’s Mother proudly displayed a standing bunny cake, complete with pink bunny ears and coconut over the white frosting, however when the cake was served, Ron had dropped a few raisins near the bunny’s tail.
An obituary for Ron would be incomplete without mentioning his goodness, spelling out in detail his absolute commitment to honesty. This man was just good through and through. Moral, thoughtful and kind to all with whom he came in contact with. It was just naturally the way he related to people. He prompted us all to do better, to be better.
Ron lived a very full life, overcoming many obstacles. His determination to proceed and succeed in spite of overwhelming health problems was an inspiration to all who knew him. He died October 17th, 2020, passing peacefully at Mercy Hospital in Springfield, MO, with family nearby. Preceding Ron in death were his parents and his sister Dolores Wegener Adams.
Ron is survived by Karen, his wife of 57 years; a daughter, Suzanne Shaffer, M.D. and her husband Chad Shaffer, M.D., daughter Kari Worsley and her husband Russ Worsley and a daughter Wendy Bartholomew and her husband Matthew Bartholomew. In addition, there are five grandchildren; Jensen Worsley, Brittany Ashbacher and husband Aaron, Hayden, Mason and Eliana Bartholomew; and three great-grandchildren; SkyLar, Xavier and Emerson Ashbacher. Ron was an enthusiastic supporter of his family, rarely missing volleyball, basketball, or football games, swim meets, tennis matches, track meets or band concerts when the children or grandchildren were involved.
Funeral Services are under the direction of Daniel Funeral Home. The family has put considerable thought into planning a service worthy of Ron’s life while incorporating COVID-19 safety measures. To protect family members with auto-immune diseases, it will be unconventional. A visitation will be held Saturday, October 24th, 2020 at the Lamar United Methodist Church from 11:00 a.m. – 2 p.m., without family present. The funeral will be at 2:00 p.m. followed by graveside services at Lake Cemetery in Lamar. Livestreaming will be available on the Lamar United Methodist Church’s facebook page.
Please join us in honoring the family’s request that everyone in attendance wear masks and practice social distancing.
Contributions are suggested and made payable to the Mary K. Finley Library, Lamar United Methodist Church or to Cox Barton County Hospital in care of Daniel Funeral Home.
Condolences may be shared at www.dfhlamar.com