Ronald James Huddleston passed away peacefully on the morning on September 17, 2022, at the age of 84 in HopeWest hospice facility in Grand Junction, Colorado. Ron had been treated for lung cancer in 2018, and it had reoccurred in the spring of 2022. This, along with progressive dementia led to his death.
Ron was born in Cisco, Texas, in 1938 in his grandmother’s house. He was the oldest of four children born to James and Margarette Huddleston and spent his childhood years in small towns in west Texas. Since his dad worked for the Humble Pipeline Company, the Huddleston family also lived in several pipeline communities while Ron was growing up. Ron had great memories of living in these pipeline communities. Ron graduated from Winters High School in 1956 and then attended Baylor University in Waco, Texas. He met his future wife Linda Gayle Frazier in Waco while attending Baylor. After Ron graduated from Baylor in 1960, he and Gayle got married on June 11th. They had celebrated their 62nd wedding anniversary this year in Maui with their children and their spouses and all the grandkids.
Ron attended Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Ft. Worth, Texas, for two years before joining the U. S. Navy in 1962 where he had been accepted into the flight training program. Ron’s interest in aviation had been fostered by his uncle Spurgeon Parks who was a pilot in World War II. Ron spent five years in the Navy flying patrol aircraft on missions out of Barbers Point, Hawaii, and Adak, Alaska. After serving in the Navy, he continued his career as a pilot when he went to work for United Air Lines where he flew various airplanes for another 30 years.
Ron and Gayle made lots of moves while Ron was in the Navy and while he was working for United Airlines. His Naval aviator training began in Pensacola, Florida, and five moves later he settled into his 1st duty station at Barbers Point, Hawaii. Ron and Gayle’s two children were born while Ron was in the Navy.
Ron’s first domicile with United was Chicago, Illinois. Next the Huddleston family moved to the Denver Metro area where Ron and Gayle lived for 23 years. When Ron got a bid to Miami, Ron and Gayle moved to Punta Gorda, Florida, and lived there for 10 years. They learned to scuba dive, bought a sail boat and thoroughly enjoyed water activities while in Florida. Fittingly, Ron’s last domicile with United was back in Hawaii, where he had started his first assignment in the Navy. Ron retired from United Air Lines in 1998 flying the Boeing 747.
After retirement, Ron and Gayle eventually moved back to Colorado where they had built a cabin in mountains. Many happy days were spent at this cabin. It became the favorite spot for Christmas for kids and grandkids, even though snowmobiling was the only way to get there in the winter.
Ron had many different interests. He enjoyed music, motorcycles, snowmobiles, ATVS, hunting, camping, hiking, sailing, and scuba diving. He even built an airplane. He was also active in various Masonic organizations for over 47 years.
During retirement, Ron and Gayle enjoyed traveling together around the world and were fortunate enough to visit all 7 continents and more than 80 countries.
As much as Ron loved to travel, his greatest joy in life was spending time with family and friends and swapping stories with them! Ron was known for his singular wit and dry sense of humor. He will be missed, but many of his tales will likely live on to be retold by his kids, grandkids, other relatives, and friends.
Ron was preceded in death by his parents: Margarette and James Huddleston, and 2 siblings: Beverly Ann Passow and Randy Michael Huddleston. Ron is survived by his wife, Linda Gayle Huddleston; two children: James Andrew Huddleston (wife Lynne) and Heidi Brauch (husband Dan); four grandchildren: Cory James Huddleston, Wesley John Huddleston, Natalie Pearl Brauch, and Garrett Daniel Brauch; a younger brother, Rodney Huddleston (wife Melanie); plus numerous in-laws, nieces, nephews, and cousins.