Ronald Wesley Van Pelt

Ronald Wesley Van Pelt, 74, of Willow Springs, Missouri, died at his home on May 25, 2023, from a sudden heart attack.  He was born on June 12, 1948, in Jefferson, Iowa, to Wesley and Lucy (Gibson) Van Pelt. 
He grew up on a farm near Panora, Iowa, and graduated from Panora-Linden High School in 1966. Ron excelled at all sports, lettering in football, basketball, baseball, and track.
Following graduation, he served in the US Air Force from August 1967 to August 1971.  He was stationed at Lackland AFB, Texas; Keesler AFB, Mississippi; Shemya AFB, Alaska; and Richards-Gebaur AFB, Missouri.  Ron achieved the rank of Staff Sergeant. During this time, Ron received specialized training and certifications supporting Ground Radio Communications Equipment Repair and Management/Supervision.  He was awarded the National Defense Service Medal.
Ron was married on July 19, 1969, to Carolyn (Gilmore) Van Pelt at St. Cecilia’s Catholic Church in Panora, Iowa, and lived in Omaha, Nebraska, and Kansas City, Missouri, prior to moving to Humboldt, Iowa.  The marriage ended in divorce, in March 1996. Through that union, he had two children, Douglas Alan Van Pelt and Laura Ann Van Pelt.  Ron loved watching his children grow up and following their academic and athletic events.
Following his military service, Ron applied his radio and satellite communications skills working and managing in several agencies/companies such as the National Weather Service, Union Pacific, the Federal Aviation Administration, US West, and Qwest Communications.
After retiring in 2005, Ron purchased a 330-acre ranch in Willow Springs, Missouri, and began his second career as a rancher.  Ron’s lifelong dream was to be a cowboy.  He embraced every day of the ranch life.  He found joy in riding his Paint Horses, working cattle, baling hay, riding around the ranch on his four-wheeler, following sports, and loving his Great Dane dogs. 
Ron was always willing to lend a hand to his neighbors and friends.  If you ask Ron’s friends, they would say he had a quiet nature, a good sense of humor, loved animals, and didn’t claim to know all the answers, but sure enjoyed figuring out the solutions.
He is survived by his ex-wife, Carolyn; son, Douglas (Rhonda); daughter, Laura; grandchildren, Avery, Owen, Peyton, and Mason; sister, Rozanne Strait; his two brothers, Gregory (Brenda) and Richard; many nieces and nephews; and his two Great Danes, Roscoe and Sammie.  He was preceded in death by his parents and brother-in-law, Pete Strait.
A memorial visitation service will be held on June 19, at Yarber Mortuary in Willow Springs, Missouri, from 6 to 8 p.m., to honor his memory, share stories, and find solace in the bonds we formed with him.  May his soul find eternal peace, and may his loved ones and friends find comfort in the cherished memories they hold dear.  Graveside services will take place at St. Mary’s Cemetery, Jamaica, Iowa, at a date to be determined.  Memorials can be directed to the family. Condolences may be expressed at
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