Humble, kind, and generous, Ronald Edgar Andes lived a life rich in family and service to others. A man who understood what was truly important, Ron led with his heart and gave all he could to those he loved. Revered by many, Ron will long be remembered in the hearts of those he loved.
Despite the obvious gloom of the Great Depression, the power of hope undulated in the hearts of many. With a natural drive to not just endure but thrive in the face of uncertainty, the nation continued to put one foot in front of the other to build a better future. Nowhere was there more hope than in the Gas City home of James “Ed” and Lucille (McPhearson) Andes as they welcomed their first child, Ronald, into their hearts and home on August 5th.
Born in a time of struggle and growing up in the wake of WWII, like many of his generation Ron grew up firmly centered in the values of family, community, and country. As a youth, he spent many of his days enjoying the freedoms of riding dirt bikes, the pleasures of hunting and fishing with his father, and the satisfaction of mowing.
After graduating from Mississinewa High School in 1951, Ron enlisted in the Navy on April 1, 1952. Despite the fact that everyone thought he was playing an April Fools joke, Ron’s love of the water and call for adventure assured that it was indeed the truth. As hoped, during his service, Ron traveled to Taiwan, Japan, and Hawaii. Upon being honorably discharged on June 21, 1956, Ron returned to Gas City and lived with his parents.
In January of 1959, Ron had the good fortune of meeting Verta Ree Beck through a mutual friend. When his car broke down, and Verta Ree stopped by to take him home the two experienced the spark of attraction. A few months later when their paths crossed again, they started dating. After a month of dating, Ron and Verta were clear that their hearts were destined for one another’s and the happy couple planned to be married on July 3rd. For a moment their plans were threatened by their pastor’s sudden illness. Fortunately, he felt better later in the evening and was able to marry the young couple.
Following the wedding, Ron moved to Marion where Verta Ree had been living. A few years later Ron and Verta were blessed to grow their family with the birth of their son Michael. Their joy grew, when their daughter Trina was born a couple of years later, completing their family.
The family of four lived in Marion until 1967 when they purchased a home and business in Huntington. For two years the family ran the Dairy Queen on Etna while living in their home next door. After selling the house and business in 1969, The Andes moved to Tri-Lakes, north of Columbia City where they lived until 1991 when Ron and Verta Ree moved to their present home in Thorncreek Township.
Ron provided for his family by working at Osborn Paper Company in Marion, then Essex Wire in Columbia City for over 11 years. After working for 17 years at Lyall Assemblies/Noble Wire, in Albion, Ron retired in May of 2001. Virta Ree retired from the company just two months later.
Not one to sit still for very long, Ron kept busy tending to his large garden where he relished in growing a bounty of vegetables and flowers. He was also an accomplished handyman. He could often be found working on a project around the house which he and his wife had single-handedly remodeled over the years. Ron also loved to ride his motorcycle with his favorite riding partner, Verta Ree. Because too many vacation, celebration, and life plans throughout his life were met with calamity, including a disappointing attempt to vacation at a rental cottage at Barbie Lakes when the kids were young, Ron kept his travels close to home. Though they never ventured too far, Ron and Verta Ree enjoyed the freedom of exploring the beauty of Whitley County by motorcycle.
Without a doubt, Ron was happiest in the good company of his beautiful family. His children were his joy and his grandchildren his heart’s delight. Any time spent together was a priceless treasure that Ron cherished wholeheartedly. Those who knew him best will unhesitatingly agree that Ron’s smile was fullest when he was surrounded by family.
Though the world feels less certain without Ron’s steadfast presence, may it afford comfort to know that Ron’s legacy lives on in our hearts. As we take the time to enjoy the simple things in life, explore the world in our backyards, and open our hearts to the wonders that surround us we keep the spark of Ron’s bright spirit radiating in our own lives. In so doing, the memories of his goodness will continue to inspire others for years to come.
Ronald Edgar Andes, 84, of Columbia City, passed away Wednesday, September 13, 2017, at Parkview Regional Medical Center. Born August 5, 1933, in Gas City, he was the son of James “Ed” and Lucille (McPhearson) Andes. Survivors include his wife of 58 years, Verta Ree Andes; son, Michael (Tamara) Andes, of Fort Wayne; daughter, Trina (Craig) Baughman, of Huntington; brother, Frank (Sherry) Andes, of Gas City; four grandchildren; and seven great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his parents; sister, Ann Berry and a grandson, Toby Miller.
Visitation is 1-4 p.m. Sunday, September 17, 2017, at DeMoney-Grimes, a Life Story Funeral Home, 600 Countryside Drive, Columbia City. Funeral service will be 10 a.m. Monday at the DeMoney-Grimes Funeral Home. Burial will follow at Masonic Cemetery in Van Buren. where he will be laid to rest near Verta Ree's family. Memorials may be given in his memory to Alzheimer’s Association.