Ronald Lee Lawrence was born in Conde, SD on June 24, 1936 to James and Amanda (Maass) Lawrence. Ron was released from the clutches of Alzheimer’s Dementia on November 17, 2019 surrounded by his loving family at Maryhouse in Pierre, SD.
Ron’s youth was spent in the family poolhall with his older brother Darry playing pool. Ron slid a milk crate around to get tall enough to see onto the table, becoming a pool shark; something he would utilize to terrorize family members during the annual Christmas day pool tournament.
The family moved to Onida, SD where Ron earned the nickname “Mouse” due to his diminutive size and the fact that he was short for his grade after being advanced a grade in elementary school. The reasons for the advancement are not known for certain, but some speculation was a reluctant 2nd grade teacher!
Ron was an athlete his entire life becoming a standout player in basketball and baseball. His mother always knew when he was getting close to home as she could hear the basketball pounding on the sidewalk. He never went anywhere without a basketball. His 1953 Onida Warrior basketball team won the State B tournament in a hard-fought battle with Ravinia. Ron made the all-tournament team and was inducted into the Warrior Hall of Fame in 2010.
After graduation in 1953 Ron joined the US Army and served with the Occupation Forces in Japan. Upon discharge, Ron studied at Huron College playing on the basketball team and graduating with a degree in education, earning a master’s degree later from Black Hills State.
Ron met the love of his life Gloria Gloe and they were married on November 20, 1960 in Presho. They settled in Onida where Ron was working as a teacher and coach. To this union four children were born.
In 1964 the family moved to Pierre where Ron started working for the State of South Dakota in Vocational Rehabilitation. Summers during the elementary school years found the Lawrence family traveling the state in the Pierre Swim Team caravan. The winter months found the family traveling to amateur basketball games and tournaments to all points in South Dakota. Ron was inducted into the SD Amateur Basketball Hall of Fame in 1991.
Ron returned to K-12 education taking a position as principal and head coach with the Stanley County School System in Fort Pierre. Ron and family worked together painting houses during the summer months. During the 1977-78 season his Buffalos would earn a 3rd place finish in the State B Basketball tournament, losing only to Armour in the semifinals. Ron was inducted into the Buffalo Hall of Fame in 2007.
Ron was a member of Faith Lutheran Church serving on several Church Boards.
Ron and Gloria moved to Tucson, AZ in 1986 where Ron worked in the insurance industry. The move prompted the Christmas trips which remained a family tradition after they moved back to Fort Pierre in 1994.
Ron loved being active and remained an avid lifelong hunter, basketball coach (coaching several grandchildren’s elementary teams while in retirement), golfing, competing in running events to include marathons & Iron Man events and competing in the Senior Olympics placing second in the National Tournament in basketball.
Grateful for having shared his remarkable life are his wife of 59 years, Gloria, children Brenda (Bruce) Lounsbury – Fort Pierre, Brad (Mary Powell) – Madison, SD, Deb (Monty) Kenworthy – Fort Pierre and Tracy (Oren) Lesmeister – Parade, SD, 6 grandchildren, Jessica (Chad Cowan) Lounsbury, Brandon (Jamie) Lounsbury, Amanda (Gregory Carroll) Lounsbury, Colten (Darrian Tanner) Lesmeister, Colby (Jeff) Blakesly and Chelsy (Cody Norman) Lesmeister and 9 great grandchildren. Ron was proceeded in death by his parents and brother.
Prayer service on Wednesday November 20th at Isburg Funeral Home at 7 PM with visitation from 5 to 7 and Funeral service on Thursday November 21st at 10 AM at Faith Lutheran Church in Pierre. Interment to follow the service at Scotty Philip Cemetery with fellowship to follow at Moose Lodge. Online condolences may be written at: www.isburgfuneralchapels.com