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U.S. Air Force Helicopter History
Ronald M. Allen, USAF
December 05, 1935 – October 23, 2015
Missoula —Ronald M. Allen, 79, passed away peacefully, surrounded by family, on Friday, October 23, 2015, after a short illness.
Ron was born December 5, 1935, to Robert and Ruby Allen, both now deceased, in Corpus Christi, Texas. At the age of 16, he left home and found work at the King Ranch in Texas working in the stables. Later, he became a jockey for the ranch’s race horses, working the tracks in Florida in the winter and New York during the summer.
Eventually, Ron tired of having to keep his weight down and joined the United States Air Force in 1956. After Basic Training and Tech School, Ron’s first assignment was at Ellsworth AFB near Rapid City, SD. Here, in his free time, he raced motocross and met Mary Sue Sulgrove. Ron and Mary Sue would marry on September 3, 1959, and quickly begin a family. Mary Sue stayed home and raised the children while Ron worked his way through the ranks.
Ron’s work would take the family to Sacramento, Albuquerque, Madrid, Austin, and Spokane. Ron spent a year in Vietnam (1970-1971) and would be awarded the Bronze Star for his efforts there. Throughout his military career, Ron earned many commendations and awards, eventually retiring at his last post in Great Falls after over 21 years in the military. Still a young man, Ron would work at Boeing, Caterpillar, and in civil service back at Malmstrom AFB in helicopter maintenance. Ultimately, he retired in 2004.
Ron is survived by his wife of nearly 55 years, Mary Sue, and three sons, Joel S. Allen and Cynthia Zyzda of Steamboat Springs, CO; Jay and Jackie Allen of Missoula; and Jeff and Danielle Allen, of La Jolla, CA, as well as grandchildren Kali Allen, of London, England; Shanley Allen and Jake Allen of Missoula, Amanda Allen, of Whitefish; Justin Ackerman, of Vaughn; and Shelby and Braeden Allen, of La Jolla. He also leaves behind two beautiful great granddaughters.
He was preceded in death by his parents and two daughters, Jodi Sue Allen and Joanne Allen. The family has eschewed any services at Ron’s request.
Published by Great Falls Tribune on Oct. 29, 2015.
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