Ronald Glenn Wallace

December 10, 1943 - June 24, 2020

My beloved husband, Ronald Glenn Wallace, 76, a resident of Fort Myers, FL, passed away at home on June 24, 2020.  Born in 1943 in Puyallup, WA, Ron grew up in Richland, WA, a town built on the Columbia River by the US government to house the scientists, engineers, and support personnel for the Hanford plutonium enrichment site’s role in the Manhattan Project’s atomic bomb production. 

In Richland, Ron attended Marcus Whitman K-6, Chief Joseph Junior High, and Columbia High School, whose sports teams were called the Bombers.  Committed to scouting, Ron rose to the Order of the Arrow, adopting the name of Kum Tux Pike Tilicum.  Surrounded by the scientists and engineers from Hanford, Ron’s interest in all things electronic began very early, both in ham radio and in building all manner of electronic gizmos, something he continued doing throughout his life.  Ron told wonderful stories of his father’s support for his projects and of the disruptive efforts to participate by his two younger brothers. 

Ron got his B.S.E.E. and M.S.E.E. at the University of Washington, with his undergraduate studies funded by a gymnastics scholarship (he was a successful competitive trampolinist) and Air Force ROTC, the latter of which also funded his graduate work.  Serving for four years in the Viet Nam era’s Air Force Electronic Systems Command, Ron designed, installed, and troubleshooted satellite communications networks, often TDY from his base at Hanscome Field, near Boston, MA, and he was Captain Wallace when honorably discharged.

It was while serving in the Air Force that Ron met his future wife, Naomi Bloom, then completing her MBA at Boston University.  With his discharge in hand and Naomi’s new degree, Ron and Naomi were married in Boston before spending their honeymoon tent camping across the US, with myriad stops along the way to visit first Naomi’s East Coast and then Ron’s West Coast family and friends.  Their shared love of travel, as well as visits with far flung family and friends, was a passion in which they indulged throughout their married life. 

Ron and Naomi settled in what’s now called Silicon Valley (but was then still mostly fruit orchards) for a few years before they headed to the Washington, DC area in 1977.  Having developed an interest in American Indian pottery, weaving, and kachina during their honeymoon’s foray into the southwest, they spent much of their limited vacation time while living in California in and around historical Indian lands, collecting as they went.

Settling in Fairfax, VA, Ron began his full-time work for ORI, often under contract to NASA, and his part-time PhD studies in satellite communications theory at George Washington University from which he earned his Engineer Degree, a non-thesis alternative to the PhD.  By then Ron had joined NASA, where he became the mission manager for terrestrial search and rescue as well as an American delegate to COSPAS/SARSAT.  This international program for terrestrial search and rescue relied on satellite signal processing to locate vessels lost at sea, downed planes, and lost back country travelers. 

While based in Northern VA, Ron and Naomi expanded greatly their travels, with both of them traveling for business and pleasure at every opportunity.  They also took up sailing on the Chesapeake Bay, starting with their Catalina 27, “La Princesa,” and then moving up to a Caliber ’40, “Mar-Lin Nights.”  Gunkholing on the Chesapeake, taking full advantages of DC’s cultural riches, and seeing as much of the world as possible while working very long hours, Ron and Naomi packed two years of living into every calendar year while still spending as much time as possible with a growing circle of friends, family, colleagues, fellow boaters and travelers.

Ron and Naomi moved to Fort Myers, FL in 1999 for Naomi’s health, designing and building their dream home, “Casa de Ranas.”  Ron took early retirement from NASA to make the move possible, and he then took charge of home, boat, and so much more while Naomi continued her career in enterprise software.  Getting involved with the Sanibel-Captiva Power Squadron, to include teaching both marine electronics and communications, and driving cancer patients to their treatments for the “Road to Recovery” program were just two of the many ways in which Ron put down roots in and contributed to his adopted hometown.  When handling a blue water sailboat became too much for Naomi, they had built and commissioned in 2010 an American Tug ’34, “SmartyPants,” so that they could continue much loved evenings at anchor. 

Together with his wife, and often accompanied by family and friends, Ron traveled the world, from Uluru in Australia, Petra in Jordan, and Machu Pichu in Peru, to the great capital cities of Europe and South America.  He enjoyed weeks of London theater and museums and all the other cultural riches of major cities, but he also enjoyed taking the road less traveled, going right off the map to see what those dotted line roads might offer.  In terms of philanthropy, Ron and Naomi put their money where their hearts were, supporting the arts, education, public TV/radio, investigative journalism, and much more. 

When cancer struck in 2005, Ron beat it and was able to enjoy a long period of great health and full remission.  When a different, very aggressive and treatment-resistant cancer struck in 2018, Ron tackled it with his trademark optimism, taking each failed treatment with equanimity and moving on to the next.  We are very grateful to Dr. William Harwin for all he did to help Ron and Naomi in their second cancer battle, and to Flora Gadson and Laszlo Hegedus for taking such good care of us and of our home.

Ron is survived by his beloved wife of 48 years, Naomi Lee Bloom; his sister Arlene Anne (Wallace) Towne of Yuma, AZ; his brothers Chester Dee (known as “Dee”) Wallace of Sierra City, CA; Dennis Earl (Sandy) Wallace of Redmond, OR; and Randolph Lee (known as “Randy”) (Deeannamarie) Wallace; his brother-in-law  and sister-in-law Irwin Isaac Weitz and Marsha Bloom Weitz; and a great many, much-loved nieces/nephews and great nieces/nephews.  Ron was predeceased by his wonderful parents, Chester Stollard Wallace and Grace Tallman Wallace, his brother-in-law Carl T (known as “Ted”) Towne, and his nieces Vicki Lea Towne and Rebekah Wallace.

In Fort Myers, Ron was a passionate supporter of the Florida Repertory Theatre https://www.floridarep.org/   To help other young gymnasts at the University of Washington, Ron supported the non-profit Washington Men’s Gymnastic Foundation http://wmgf.us/  Donations to either of these organizations in Ron’s memory would be a great kindness.  When it’s safe to travel and gather, celebrations of Ron’s life will be held in Fort Myers and in his beloved Pacific Northwest where the Wallace clan is concentrated.

Friends are invited to send condolences via the on-line guest book which can be found at www.MullinsMemorial.com. https://mullinsmemorial.com/obituaries/ronald-glenn-wallace/

Mullins Memorial Funeral Home & Cremation Service, Fort Myers, is entrusted with final care.

Guestbook

  1. Renee Pesci Jul 13, 2020 at 5:19 pm

    Ron was a great man and he will be missed by many! Sending comforting thoughts to Naomi and the family.

  2. Marsha & Mike Kistler Jul 13, 2020 at 5:51 pm

    Such an interesting life Ron led! We’ve benefitted from his philanthropy at FL Rep for many years. Thank you for sharing his story.

  3. Sarah Owen Jul 13, 2020 at 5:52 pm

    Thinking of you Naomi- Ron was the only real “ rocket scientist” I had ever met. You two were a dynamic duo. Much love and prayers for comfort and peace.
    Sarah

  4. Tami Jul 13, 2020 at 7:49 pm

    With all these accolades, so important, such a life. I only got to know the man as a human being, as a husband as a client. For me he was warm, always willing to teach me, inspiring.. I think the greatest thing for me is that I knew I was in the presence of a very intelligent man with a lot of accomplishments and yet I never felt smaller. That is a great man

  5. Barb and Herb Passo Jul 13, 2020 at 8:14 pm

    Ron was able to accomplish far more in his seventy-six years than most of us could ever hope to achieve, but most importantly, his ability to get things right on his first attempt is impressive. He certainly got his marriage right on the first attempt. How fortunate both Ron and Naomi are to have had forty-eight full and robust years together. Their adventures could fill volumes and the collections are enviable. Those of us who knew them as a couple easily recognized their dedication and devotion to each other. I know that while it will be a momentous task, Naomi will muster on and she will keep Ron’s memory alive. May Ron’s memory be for a blessing.

  6. Jane Nesvig Jul 13, 2020 at 9:58 pm

    This is a loving tribute to a life well-lived. I read with interest Ron’s northwest connections, for I grew up in Walla Walla, right down the highway from Richland. Those Washington roots grow strong and deep.

    May happy memories of your years of love and adventure bring comfort and healing to your heart.

    Jane Nesvig

  7. Glenys & Warren Churchin Melbourne Australia Jul 13, 2020 at 10:44 pm

    Farewell to a beautiful man and one of nature’s gentlemen, our memories of you will forever be with us. You have left your footprints on our hearts, RIP Ron, travel well

  8. Susannah Landis Jul 13, 2020 at 11:45 pm

    Dear Naomi, you know how I feel about your losing your great love. I am so saddened. Thank you for the heartfelt obituary that you wrote for your dear husband. My condolences go out to everyone who knew and loved Ron. In my opinion, good people should never die, and Ron was a mensch who should have gone on forever.

    Love to you, Naomi.

    Susie Landis

  9. Tom Raftery Jul 14, 2020 at 1:56 am

    I am so very sorry for your loss Naomi

  10. Bill Kutik Jul 14, 2020 at 5:54 am

    Ron was a mensch, a prince and a saint. I am so grateful for having known him and never expect to meet his like again.

  11. Renate & German Vanegas Jul 14, 2020 at 10:17 am

    Dear Naomi and extended Family,
    Our innermost sympathy on the earthly departure of your beloved Ron. He certainly was a fighter to the end. He will always be with you in spirit although he went ahead of you. We remember him and I know for a fact that he will be greatly missed by all whose life he touched.
    With love in our hearts,
    Renate & German and Family

  12. Don & Betty Abbott Jul 14, 2020 at 10:31 am

    Betty and I will miss Ron’s smile and never ending enthusiasm. He touched the hearts of many without great fanfare or need for recognition. There will be many times ahead when we will remember him with just a silent whisper of his name. We are sure he will hear us and smile once again.

    With great appreciation for Ron and the blessings he shared among us.
    Don & Betty

  13. Mari Ripp Jul 14, 2020 at 12:39 pm

    Dear Naomi,
    It was with great sadness that I saw your note about Ron’s passing. Thank you for including me among your friends and letting me know. I am sure it is hard for you to accept that in spite of the two of you fighting heroically, at the end this terrible illness was not to be defeated.

    I remember Ron to be a wonderful, sweet man. It was always a pleasure to meet him, even though we didn’t know each other very well he always had a warm smile, kind words, and a great sense of humor.
    I am sure you miss him terribly, but hopefully the memories of the wonderful years you had together will comfort you and help you in the years to come.

    Please accept my deepest condolences! My thoughts and prayers are with you!
    Mari Ripp

  14. Nancy Posnick Jul 14, 2020 at 1:18 pm

    Dear Naomi!
    What a beautiful and interesting life Ron experienced and shared with you. So accomplished and fulfilling.
    I know your pain is deep inside you and you will always miss Ron. Yet what memories of your marriage and life together! Keep them in your heart as the years go on and you will once again feel the gratitude and blessings that you and Ron shared together. Sending you much love.

  15. Neil Curiel Jul 14, 2020 at 1:29 pm

    To a wonderful human who lived a wonderful life! Rest well.

  16. Bethany Wallace Jul 14, 2020 at 3:13 pm

    Ron was truly one-of-a-kind! What a beautiful obituary. Ron lived life to the fullest. I look forward to a time when we can celebrate his life together.

  17. Gary Coles Jul 14, 2020 at 3:49 pm

    I greatly admired Ron. He was a quiet guy, and, a man of few words. But when he spoke, always calmly and quietly, he was always right about what he shared. All appreciated his calm demeanor. Many times he had some underlying subtle humor, but never at the expense of another. He loved Naomi beyond measure. His life centered around her.

    On the periphery Ron had many and varied interests, like boating, electronics, theater, travel, and so on. But again, Naomi was at the center of these activities, as well as the center of Ron’s everyday life.

    Some of Ron’s interests we’re impossible for me to understand. For example, one of his engineering textbooks I saw years ago had almost no words, only mathematical symbols and equations. When I asked him what one paragraph-long equation was he said “It describes how microwaves travel in the rain.”

    Indeed, Ron was admired because he was admirable. He was also loved deeply by Naomi and by all who knew him. I loved Ron Wallace and shall miss him, greatly!

  18. Mary Wright Jul 15, 2020 at 7:03 am

    Ron was a great man. Thank you for sharing your story. What wonderful memories you have.
    Peace to you in your journey.
    Sincerely,
    Mary Wright

  19. Bob Smith Jul 15, 2020 at 7:37 am

    We will both miss you Ron, I loved listening to your stories,
    Much love to you Naomi, Ron is at peace now safe in the arms of the Lord, may his gentle soul R.I.P.,
    Bob and Gloria Smith, fellow members of San Cap Power Squadron.

  20. Dr. Stephen Zellner Jul 15, 2020 at 9:09 am

    I was so sorry to read of Ron’s passing. I knew him well for many years as his physician during his earlier battle with cancer. He was instantly liked by all her met. He will be missed by those whom lives he touched.

  21. Fred Hutchinson Jul 15, 2020 at 2:51 pm

    Naomi, we are so sorry for your loss. Ron was truly one of the “nice guys” we so seldom meet and interesting as well. We will miss him.

    Sally and Fred Hutchinson

  22. Kathleen and Gunter Glass Jul 16, 2020 at 2:06 pm

    Naomi, what a wonderful life you two lived together. Few couples get to experience such a close and lasting relationship. There was a picture that you recently posted where Ron, seated, is looking up at you. From the expression on his face it is obvious that he simply adored you.

  23. Laszlo Hegedus Jul 17, 2020 at 9:41 pm

    Naomi,we are sorry for your loss. I learned a lot from Ron, He will live in ur heart forever.

    The Hegedus Family.

  24. Naomi Thomson Jul 19, 2020 at 10:33 pm

    Ron was a wonderful human being, I am glad I had the opportunity to know him

  25. Sandy Wallace Jul 20, 2020 at 3:21 pm

    I’m going to miss Ron so much. I have been blessed with the most wonderful Wallace brother in laws. Ron welcomed me from the moment we met I was an instant sister. He was kind, loving, welcoming, honest, decent man. I love him!
    Sandy Wallace

  26. Jemetta Hunt Jul 23, 2020 at 3:26 pm

    Dear Naomi,
    I want to express our deepest sympathy for the loss of your husband, Ronald Glenn Wallace.
    Please know that our thoughts and prayers are with you.
    Thank you for opening your heart, at this very difficult time, to share a life-time of cherished memories. What a beautiful tribute to his life both professionally and personally. He will be deeply missed by all who knew and loved him.
    Sincerely,
    Jemetta Hunt, President
    AAUW, Fort Myers/Lee County Branch

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