Ronald (Ron) Lynn Skalsky, 68, of Ham Lake, MN passed away in his home on September 6, 2019 after a long and hard-fought battle with cancer. He was surrounded by friends and family.
Ron was born on June 2, 1951 in Jackson, MN to Vernon and Darlene Skalsky. Shortly before graduating from high school in 1969, Ron enlisted in the Army. Ron was sent to Vietnam where he was a “Dust Off” helicopter combat medic. As a result of his bravery and service, Ron received many awards, most notably the Bronze Star for Valor, the Cross of Gallantry and an Army Commendation Medal (ARCOM). After an honorable discharge from the military, Ron returned to Minnesota and was accepted into a Physician's Assistant (PA) program, which was a new and emerging profession at the time.
In 1972, Ron married Vivian Hammons and they had two children, Nathan and Rebecca. They spent many summer weekends at their lake cabin in North Minnesota where they enjoyed fishing and water sports. In 1992, the family relocated to Sioux Falls, South Dakota where Ron continued to work as a PA. They also enjoyed family trips to Yellowstone, Colorado, and Boston on the 4th of July. Ron and Vivian were married for 26 years before Vivian lost her battle with cancer in 1999.
Ron met Barb (Hanabarger), whom he married on June 12, 2000. The two of them moved to Minnesota in 2003 where Ron spent the next 15 years doting on the yard, the fish pond, and the bird feeders around the house. In the years that followed Ron’s cancer diagnosis in 2003, he continued to remain active; he always had to be doing something, fixing something, or cleaning something! In 2013, Ron retired, a status which he fully embraced! When they weren't in Minnesota, Ron and Barb traveled in their Airstream camper, spent the winter months in Panama City Beach, Florida, and visited their eight grandkids in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, Rochester, Minnesota and Madison, Wisconsin. Ron was thrilled to be a part of the Twin Cities Honor Flight in September 2018 where he traveled to our nation’s capital with his son Nathan, and other military veterans. It meant the world to him to be invited on this special trip!
Ron was proud of his service, his sobriety and most of all, his family. He will be remembered as a generous and passionate man, who could talk to anyone. His personality filled a room, his laugh was infectious, and his smile warm and welcoming. His four-legged furbabies Abbie and Sadie will miss the ear scratches and tummy rubs Ron frequently gave them.
He is survived by his wife, Barb; mother, Darlene Getchell of Baxter, MN; son Nate (Jen) Skalsky of Rochester, MN; daughter Rebecca (Craig) DeWit of Sioux Falls, SD; sons Kelly Bloemke of Madison, WI and Casey Bloemke of Arden Hills, MN; grandchildren, Aftyn, Haley, Aiden, Elijah Judah, Julia, Brooklynn and Lily; siblings Cheryl (John) Flatt of Detroit Lakes, MN; Joe Getchell of Baxter, MN; Linda (Ray) Augustson of Aitkin, MN; Jerry (Vicki) Getchell of Marine on St. Croix, MN; and Larry Getchell of Aitkin, MN.
Ron was preceded in death by his father Vernon, step-father Gerald Getchell, his first wife Vivian, and brothers Todd and Jim.
A celebration of Ron's life will be held on Monday, September 23 at 10 am, with visitation one hour prior, at the Kozlak-Radulovich Funeral Chapel in Blaine, MN. All are invited to join the family for the luncheon which will immediately follow the funeral service. Those who wish to do so are welcome to join the family for Ron’s interment at Fort Snelling National Cemetery (near the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport) where Ron’s life and service to our country will be recognized with full military honors, including a military squadron flyover by the T-6 Thunder at 1:30 pm.
Ron's family would like to give a special shout-out to the following: Special thanks to Heartland Hospice; Homeless and Wounded Warriors of Minnesota; Minnesota Vietnam Veterans Charity for the Honor Flight and fly-over and to John Flatt for hand crafting the beautiful flag case and urn.