As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord - Joshua 24:15b. These words best describe the life of Ronald Ray Songer, who went to be with the Lord July 8, 2020. He departed this life at his home in rural Caney, Kansas, surrounded by his wife and children. His love and commitment to God, family and country made him a giant of a man wrapped in strength and integrity.
Ronald Ray Songer was born February 11, 1941 in Wichita, KS, the son of Walter “Ray” Songer and Ivy “Irene” DeMoss Helton. He spent the first four years of his life living primarily with his grandparents on the farm and other relatives in various towns; as his father spent two years hospitalized with tuberculosis, and his mother worked miles away during World War II.
After his parent’s divorce and his mother’s remarriage to Ora Aaron Helton, the family moved to California. During his childhood and teen years, Ron divided his time living with his mother in Bell Gardens, CA, his father in Wichita, KS and his Uncle Paul in Horseshoe Bend, ID. He spoke often of his adventures with his dad and also with his uncle, including attending a one room school house, camping and fishing the Elk River and sledding down the Idaho mountains on the inverse hood of a Ford.
Ron returned to California, finished his high school education, graduating from Bell Gardens High School in 1959, while living on his own and working to support himself. In September, 1961, Ron enlisted in the United States Army, as a Material Supply Specialist. He served primarily at White Sands Missile Range, in New Mexico and was honorably discharged in September, 1964 as a Sergeant.
During Ron’s time in the military, he was most proud of the time he spent as Commander of the Color Guard , always proudly carrying the United States flag. He also received a Good Conduct Medal, an Expert – Rifle Badge and a Sharpshooter – Carbine Badge. Throughout his life, Ron continued to love his country, to speak boldly in support of this great nation and was a lifelong Republican.
During his early twenties, Ron’s life took a dramatic change, when he dedicated his life to the Lord, was baptized, and strived to live by God’s Word each day of his life. He served the Lord as Spiritual Board Chairman, Christian Education Board member, Singles Minister, Young Married’s Sunday School teacher, as well as teaching other adult classes, Choir member, Soloist, and Evangelism Director. His greatest desires were to help someone come to accept Jesus as their personal Savior, and to help them grow in their faith. Ron was also a member of the Gideon organization. He especially enjoyed the time he spent with fellow Gideon members for prayer and passing out Bibles at area schools and colleges.
Since his service to the Church was volunteered, he made a good living for his family by working at McDonnell Douglas Aircraft Company (now Boeing) for 20 years, where he was part of the DC 10 Flight Test team. Ron took early retirement and after much prayer, moved his family to Caney, Kansas in 1984 to provide a more wholesome environment for his wife and children. The early years in Kansas were tough financially. Ron worked various jobs; barely scraping out a living. He continued to have a strong faith, which was rewarded when the family moved to Independence, Kansas in 1987, where Ron became the first Manager of Montgomery County, Rural Water District #6. He then formed his own company, American Extinguisher Service & Fire Supply Company, in 1991. He loved seeing and talking to his “friends” each year when he would inspect and service their fire extinguishers. He also loved being able to set his schedule around his family and church activities, which came first in his life. Ron built his company over a period of 25 years, only retiring, due to the battle he would begin with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease), which ultimately took his life.
Ron shared this life with his wife, Valerie Gravett Songer. They were married on December 1, 1973 in Bell Gardens, CA. She survives at the home. Ron is also survived by his children, Douglas Paul Songer (Shyra), Ronda Songer Bradbury (Max), Teresa Songer Crupper (Alan), Darren Ray Songer, bonus daughter, Amber Nading-Gass (Steve). He is also survived by grandchildren, Taylor Crupper, Grant Crupper, Anthony Siebels, Harmony Songer, Jade Songer, Cadence Songer, Ali Bradbury, Zac Bradbury and bonus grandchildren, Clifton Sinclair, Jentry Gass, and Baylee Gass.
Ron has successfully fought the good fight, finished the course and kept the faith – II Timothy 4:7a. That would be the desire of his heart for you as well.
Services for Ron will be held Tuesday, July 14, 2020 at 10:00 a.m., at Tyro Christian Church with burial at Robbins Cemetery, with full military honors.
Visitation will take place at David W. Barnes Funeral Home, Coffeyville, Kansas on Monday, July 13, 2020 from 12-8 p.m.
Memorials are suggested to Gideons International or Venture Christian Church and may be left with the funeral home or mailed in care of David W. Barnes Funeral Home, 306 North Cline Road, Coffeyville, KS 67337.
To leave a message for the family please visit www.dwbfh.com.
David W. Barnes Funeral Home of Coffeyville is in charge of arrangements.