Ronald Carl Looney, 67, died Feb. 17 at his home, surrounded by his family. He was diagnosed with cancer in July 2012.
Ron was born in Caldwell, Idaho, on Sept. 5, 1945, to Walter Carl Looney and Bonita Isabelle Goebel Looney.
They lived in the Dixie area for a while then moved to Horseshoe Bend, Idaho, where Ron started school. He then moved with his parents to Prairie City and attended school there. While he was in high school he joined the Prairie City Fire Department. During the summer, they spent time at the Crane Prairie Guard Station. Ron grew up around lookouts and guard stations.
They moved to Burns in 1964, where they made their home. Ron was a reserve police officer for many years, and was also a member of the Hines Fire Department, from 1982 to 1984.
Ron could do anything he set his mind to do. He made juniper wood furniture. He was a lover of the outdoors; hunting and fishing were among his favorite pastimes.
Ron was married to Linda Petersen in 1968, and they started their family in Burns. They had four children, three boys and a girl. They were divorced in 2001 after 33 years, but remained friends. Ron then married Corky Briggs on Aug. 7, 2010, in Hines, where they resided until his death.
Ron’s son Phil tells this about his dad: “When I think back over my life, my dad was both my father and my friend.
My memories go back very early. Wherever dad went, I was with him, which was usually great hunting and fishing memories. Unlike today, we spent more time outdoors as a family than we did hanging out at home. Dad would take me to work with him from time to time, whether it was logging or working in the mill. He started contracting out to do hand piling, thinning, cat piling, cutting poles, etc. So we were always together and working together. I truly believe that is why our family bond is so strong. I learned things from him that no amount of college could teach.
Good work ethics, integrity, teamwork and love and respect for the outdoors. He taught us how to hunt, fish, trap and see the beauty around us. Dad and Mom coached our ball teams and were supportive and active in all the things we did.
“Dad did so many things during his lifetime that I am not sure I could list them all. But the ones I remember are: hunter, fisherman, trapper, logger, mill worker, military, firefighter, law enforcement officer, fence builder, cook, leatherworker, gem cutter, knife builder, ceramic business, wood cutter, seamstress, juniper wood furniture, poker player, taxidermist, backyard mechanic, landscaper and gardener, to name a few. He would learn these things, master them, and then move on to something new. It used to frustrate me that he would do amazing work and make a name for himself, and then stop, instead of taking it to the next level and making a serious business out of them.
But, one thing Dad always told me was, ‘Do what you like to do or don’t do it at all.’ I see now that when he would do those things he was interested in doing, he would master them and move on to something else because they would lose their challenge and fun.
“Dad lived by his belief that family comes first and love what you do.
“I have no bad memories of my dad, he was strict but fair. He was firm but loving. He was a guidance counselor but let us spread our own wings in life. He taught me that the true riches in life have nothing to do with money.”
Ron is survived by his wife, Corky; daughters, Kelli Beers and husband Robert of Hines and Christina Pratt Meyers and husband Scott of Washington; sons, Philip Looney of Burns, Robert Looney of Hines and Randy Looney of Ceres, Calif.; foster son, Robert Knieriem and wife Shara of Orting, Wash.; stepchildren, James and Sara Briggs of Sweet Home, Jeremy Briggs of Hines and Matthew and Kasey Briggs of Hines; 19 grandchildren; two great-granddaughters; sister, Rosalie Duff and husband Joe; brother, Rick Looney and wife Esther; numerous nieces and nephews; three aunts; and one uncle.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Carl and Bonita Looney; both sets of grandparents; nieces, Carla Jo Duff and Stephanie Dauphinais; and cousins, Delbert, Tena and Darryl.
Funeral services were held at the Nazarene Church in Hines on Feb. 22.
In lieu of flowers, contributions in Ronald Looney’s memory may be made to LaFollette’s Chapel, P.O. Box 488, Burns, OR 97720, or to his daughter Kelli Beers, P.O. Box 1466, Hines, OR 97738 to help defray funeral expenses.