Ronnie was born October 27, 1948 in East Stroudsburg, PA to Irwin and Gladys Steilen Shinnen. Growing up at his parents’ hotel, Onawa Lodge in Mountainhome, PA, Ron learned to ski at an early age which led him to become a ski instructor.
After entering a ski endurance contest, which he won, one of the prizes was a helicopter ride. This opened up his love for flying. While still in Pennsylvania, he obtained his helicopter pilot license and found a job flying in Philadelphia. He then transferred his attention to obtain his A&P license and moved to Tulsa, OK to attend Spartan School of Aeronautics. After Spartan, he obtained a job with Campbell Air Service out of Louisiana and was on the road with a crew spraying pine release.
Ron and Nicky married May 16th, 1970. They decided to settle and create their homestead in Sapulpa, OK.
After several years of flying, his father in law Gene, urged him to think to the future and pointed him toward the direction of being a firefighter. Ron retired from the Tulsa Fire Department after 30 years of service, many of those later years as an Arson Investigator. He loved the chase and detective work that ensued. He received the honor of Fire Prevention Officer of the Year in 1998.
Anyone who knew Ron would automatically think of fishing. With his fishing partner, Terry Miller, (and numerous others), Ron slayed many fish on local, state and US lakes, and also while vacationing in many ocean waters. Newspapers would feature his latest catch and he shared his love of and talent for fishing with his eldest grandson, Cade.
Ron was known for speaking his mind; going upstream against the popular vote, and standing firm on his own opinions. His strong work ethic was apparent as he never took one ‘sick day’ in his 30 year TFD career.
He could repair practically anything and known by many as Ron’s Repair Service. He was the family and neighborhood handyman, and often said ‘Papa can fix it’!
Ron loved his family. He worked hard which allowed traveling all over the world. He would often show up at family, school or sporting events in the firetruck or with his work radio in hand. He never missed a time to support his girls.
The last few years, Ron battled Lewy Body Disease. It was cruel and ripped him of all the activities he loved. Nicky has emulated the commitment of her marriage vows; through sickness and health, in ugly times and peace, in the eye of the hurricane she stood strong. Without her we would be lost, Mom you are our hero!
Ron is survived by his wife, Nicky (Griffith) Shinnen of the home. They celebrated 50 years of marriage this past May. Daughters, Heather (Will) Evans of Oklahoma City, OK and Holly (Gary) Gramm of Bristow, OK. Grandchildren, Cade and Cooper Evans, Graycie and Bowan Gramm. Brothers, Robert (Romayne) Shinnen of Ft. Collins, CO and Larry (Beverly) Shinnen of Garnett Valley, PA. Nieces/Nephew Joslyn (Andrew) Radden of Aurora, CO, Tracey (Steve) Schlenker of Parker, CO, Sean Shinnen and Starree Shinnen of PA. Cousin, Howard Steilen, Jr of Orleans, MA.
A private family graveside service will be held Friday, September 25th at Memorial Park Cemetery in Tulsa, OK. A memorial service and celebration of Ron’s life will be held at the Shinnen Family residence Friday, September 25th, at 3:00 pm in Sapulpa, OK. All are welcome to attend.
The family would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to Jamie McNac and Kaet Barnhill for their special care and attention to Ron and the Shinnen family during the past year.
Arrangements and services are entrusted to Heath-Griffith Funeral Home of Tulsa, Oklahoma. Expressions of Sympathy for the Shinnen family may be left by visiting www.heathgriffithfuneralhome.com .
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