Ronald Lee Van GundyJune 12, 1944 ~ July 6, 2017 (age 73)
Ronald “Ron” Van Gundy, age 73, went to be in the arms of his Heavenly Father on Thursday, July 6, 2017 in Yakima, WA. Ron was born on June 12, 1944 to Erma Bertha (Means) and Albert Frederick Wilhelm Van Gundy in Tilden, Nebraska only a few miles from where Johnny Carson grew up. Ron is the fifth of six children with three brothers and two sisters. When he was in third grade Ron’s father quit farming and the family moved to Valentine, Nebraska where he attended school until the family again moved to Sunnyside, WA. Ron graduated from Sunnyside High School in 1962 and was married in 1963 and late divorced in 1994. He has one son and two daughters who have given him six grandchildren. Ron married his current wife Anna in 2003. After graduating from high school, Ron went to work for the wholesale distributing company Western States Distributors of Spokane. He became an area manager after his first year with them. In April 1968 Ron moved to Sunnyside where he most enjoyed living and where he could have some involvement in the agriculture industry. Ron went to work for Roza Irrigation District a week after returning to his hometown of Sunnyside. He took over assistant manager position at Roza Irrigation in 1971. He was then appointed to district manager in 1982 and continued to hold that position until 2002 when he retired due to health issues. After retirement, Roza asked him to continue as their Policy Director which he did until his death. Ron was the longest standing employee of 49 years at Roza Irrigation District. He loved every minute of it (and yes including the droughts). Ron also served on the board of directors of the Washington State Water Resources Association for over 20 years and only retired from the board a few years ago. Ron was the 2001 recipient of the WSWRA Water Resources Leadership Award for excellence in water Resources management. He was honored by the Northwest Irrigation Operators with the Headgate Award in 1996. Ron was honored to be the recipient of the WSWRA Distinguished Service Award in December of 2016. Ron was also near the end of a 40 year reservoir project which he scouted the sight, sized the reservoir and secured $26 million in grant funding for the $31 million dollar project which is set to be finished in a few weeks. Ron’s impact on water resources in the Yakima Valley and across the state may initially be measured by his drive toward innovations in water management but may be best measured by his unwavering desire to improve relationships across boundaries within the industry. Ron enjoyed being around his family, playing games or just sitting on his deck at his Arizona house having coffee. He also enjoyed his most recent hobby of car restoration. He was an avid golfer! He enjoyed rounds of golf with his buddies when he could find time between his love of work and farming. His family will miss his witty sense of humor, his smirk and his passion for life.
Ron is survived by his wife, Anna Van Gundy of Sunnyside, WA. Three children Rhonda Crane (Scott) and their children Hailey and Ashley of Bothell, WA. Krysti Febus (Charley) and their children Teagan, Baeley and Emma of Grandview, WA, Russ Van Gundy (Jennie) of Tennessee and child Brittney. Two sisters Marcy Schultz of Nebraska and Marlene Ruppert (Jim) Tennessee. He is also survived by his sister-in-law, Jackie Van Gundy. He is preceded in death by his parents Al and Erma Van Gundy, three brothers and sister-in-laws Duane Van Gundy (Judy), Jerry Van Gundy, Ken Van Gundy (Jackie).
In lieu of flowers donation may be made to the Spondylitis Association of America – at spondylitis.org, or by phone 1-800-777-8189 EXT. 229 or by mail at P.O. Box 5872, Sherman Oaks, CA. 91413 in the name of Ron Van Gundy.
Viewing and visitation will be held on Friday, July 14, 2017 from 8:30 a.m. until time of the Funeral service at 1:00 p.m. at the Smith Funeral Home Chapel in Sunnyside, WA. Burial will follow at the Lower Valley Memorial Gardens in Sunnyside, WA. Those wishing to sign Ron’s online memorial book may do so at www.funeralhomesmith.com Smith Funeral Home in care of arrangements.