Dedicated to the Preservation of the
U.S. Air Force Helicopter History
Ronald Vickroy, USAF? – December 22, 2019
Ronald Vickroy son of Philip and Ann (Heinrich) is now made perfect in the presence of his Lord, Jesus Christ.
Ron passed away Dec. 22, 2019 from the horrific disease PSP.
He is preceded in death by his parents and is survived by his wife Donna (Levergood), sons Brett (Jess) and Bart (Stacy Pomroy) and three awesome grandsons, Colton, Weston, and Boden. Also left behind are his sister Diane, brothers Dennis (Connie), David and Richard (Lori) and numerous nephews and nieces whom he greatly loved. Ron is also survived by good friends Tom Pomroy and Ron Roberson.
Ron was a 1966 graduate of Johnstown High School and a 1972 graduate of the Air Force Academy. He served his country as a helicopter pilot and flew in the mission Frequent Wind (evacuation of Saigon).
After leaving the military and earning his MBA from Carnegie Mellon University he took a position with Ryan Homes in Venice, Fl. Realizing Florida was not for him he returned to Johnstown taking a job with Crown American as director of Marketing of the hotel division. He began his position as an assistant professor of Business Management at the University of Pittsburgh in Johnstown in 1985.
Ron was greatly admired and respected by his students which is evidenced by the connection that is still in existence today. He was the recipient of the Provost award being honored for his service to the community, Ron also was recognized as outstanding Citizen by the Boy Scouts and was inducted into the Business Hall of Fame. Ron was extremely proud of the years he spent as a member of the board of Conemaugh Hospital, CORE and Semper Fi Odessey. Outside of his accomplishments, Ron enjoyed the game of golf. He was a long time member of Windber Country Club.
A huge thank you to our second family at St. Jude’s Haven and Windber Hospice. Ron’s wish is to be remembered as a person that truly cared for others.
Friends received 3–7 PM Thursday at Henderson Funeral Home-East Hills, 2503 Bedford St.. A celebration of Ron’s life will be held at Whalley Chapel at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown on Friday, December 27, 2019 at 11AM with Pastor Peter Nordlund officiating. In lieu of flowers please make donations to Windber Hospice or The Cambria County Humane Society.
To send flowers to Ronald’s family, please visit our floral section.
VISITATIONThursdayDecember 26, 20193:00 PM to 7:00 PMHenderson East Hills, Inc.2503 Bedford StreetJohnstown (Geistown), PA 15904
CELEBRATION OF LIFEFridayDecember 27, 201911:00 AMWhalley ChapelUniversity of Pittsburgh at JohnstownJohnstown, Pennsylvania 15904
Ron Vickroy (Knife 27) has moved on. He rarely spoke of his service but was a recipient of a DFC and Joint Special Operations service medal. CH-53 Vietnam pilot. He was a hallmark of our local community. His family is now learning of his real time in the Air Force. I thought he may have friends in this group who would appreciate the notification. Cheers.
Longtime UPJ professor Ron Vickroy passes away after battle with degenerative diseaseBy David Hurstdhurst@tribdem.com Dec 23, 2019
A veteran educator who helped guide the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown’s business department for decades has died.
Johnstown area native Ron Vickroy, 71, spent 27 years in the college’s business department, leading a generation of young men and women toward career paths – after originally moving to Florida for work in the 1970s, his family said.
“After Ron and I got married, he was making great money – working seven days a week in Florida for a home (building) company. But one day he said to me ‘I’d rather be pumping gas back in Johnstown,’ ” his wife, Donna, said.
Vickroy would instead come home to find his “niche,” she said.
After spending several years as marketing director for Crown American’s hotel division, Vickroy took a business management post at Pitt-Johnstown in the mid-80s.
“He loved it,” Donna Vickroy said.
“He touched lives” over the years that followed, forging bonds with hundreds of students – many who’ve found success in the business and marketing world across the nation, his son, Bart, said.
He said his father kept in touch with many – developing a database of over 600 former students that listed where they worked, family details and career accomplishments.
“We’ve heard so many stories from former students – people who said they wouldn’t have graduated if it wasn’t for him, or wouldn’t be where they are today,” said Bart – one of Vickroy’s two sons.
Longtime colleague John McGrath called Vickroy a mentor, saying he taught him the value of “service learning.”
“Serving others was a cornerstone of his life” – one forged during his days as an U.S. Air Force helicopter pilot during the end of the Vietnam War, McGrath said.
As a young pilot, Vickroy was heralded for saving dozens of American lives during Operation Frequent Wind by piloting one of the last rescue helicopters out of Saigon during the city’s fall to the North Vietnamese in 1975, he said.
Family said Vickroy spent four years with the Air Force Academy before serving another four in active duty.
But his life of service continued in Johnstown, where he worked with the Wounded Warriors Project and served on a list of boards, including the Conemaugh Health System Board of Directors and Semper Fi Odyssey, Bart Vickroy said.
An avid golfer, he was also a longtime member of the Windber Country Club.
University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown President Jem Spector said Vickroy’s passing will be felt by the community.
“Professor Ron Vickroy was a highly talented, engaging and transformative professor – a great teacher and advocate for our community,” Spector said. “We extend heartfelt condolences to his family and loved ones.”
Vickroy, who chaired the marketing department, retired in 2011 from full-time work but continued educating at an emeritus level for several years afterward.
An endowment in his name was created through the EngagePitt campaign in 2016 and raised more than $17,695 – topping its initial $15,000 goal, the campaign’s website shows.
Complications from a rare, aggressive brain disorder – progressive supranuclear palsy – claimed him Sunday, family members said.
Henderson Funeral Home is handling funeral arrangements for Vickroy at its 2503 Bedford St. location.
A celebration of Vickroy’s life is also being planned at Whalley Chapel at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown.
David Hurst is a reporter for The Tribune-Democrat. He can be reached at (814) 532-5053. Follow him on Twitter @TDDavidHurst and Instagram @TDDavidHurst