Ron Schommer, 80, lost a 60-day duel with COVID-19 on January 4, 2021. He was a man of calloused grit and determination, coupled with a giving, gentle heart.
Ron was born in Chanute, KS to Emmett and Mary (Ward) Schommer. He often shared stories of growing up an ornery young man in Chanute, a favorite tale involved a Volkswagen “mysteriously” appearing on the roof of the High School. As a Chanute High School graduate, Ron enlisted in the Air Force and was based in Turkey. Completing his Air Force duty, he then joined the U.S. Navy and worked as a Communications Technician in locations around the world, including Vietnam.
Ron was stationed in Hawaii when he left the Navy in 1978 and he continued to reside there for an additional 12 years, becoming an accomplished bowler, fisherman and beer drinker, not necessarily in that order. As a competitive bowler, he rolled a perfect 300 game on Dec 11, 1989.
He returned to his hometown of Chanute, KS in 1990 where he owned and solely operated Brandon’s Auto Repair, a successful and satisfying business he continued to run until his recent hospitalization. Ron was a reader, well informed, and a man of opinions. His often used phrase was “I’m not stubborn, I’m just right” — which he frequently shared with a steady group of friends who stopped by his shop to drink coffee. Over the years, solutions to the many problems of the world were discovered during these coffee sessions, or so the gang liked to claim. On his off hours, Ron extended his social time and membership to multiple organizations — the Shriners, the VFW, the Elks Lodge, and the American Legion. “All the party places,” his family liked to say.
Ron was known as an extremely disciplined man who enjoyed exercise and maintaining his diet. Even in the past year it was not unusual for him to take a 60- or 70-mile round trip bicycle ride to Yates Center or Fredonia on a fine spring day. However, his strict health regime was never imposed on his granddaughters who lovingly remember him serving up ice cream for breakfast and daily morning donut runs. He was consistent in his care for his family, for many years he prepared and packed a lunch each school day for his youngest granddaughter, and every Sunday he served his family pancakes.
A man of the road, Ron enjoyed the morning drive with his 2 youngest granddaughters to school every day. Saturdays were reserved for Road Trips of Discovery, no set destination, just a 300 mile day trip in the car with his family on an excursion to see the world. No matter where the road ended, Ron would always get you home. But his most beloved road tours were the countless journeys he made as a Shriner’s Hospital Dad. He was known to drop everything or cut a vacation short if a family needed transport for their child to the St. Louis Shrine Hospital. He was resolute in his dedication to these families.
Ron’s wisdom and enduring strength will remain everlasting, but his presence will be deeply missed by his family, including Ellen Schommer of Chanute, KS, his wife of 46 years, his son Sean and wife, Beth Schommer, of Rogers, AR, his daughter Monique and husband, Matt Hamilton, of Parsons, KS, and his daughter Kris Schommer Barnhart of Chanute KS. He was a Grandfather to grandsons Grant and Christian, granddaughters Terra, Bailey and Molly, and a Great-Grandfather to Abigail and Marci. Ron was a brother to Richard and wife, Sue Schommer, Andy and husband, Dean Brandon, and Gary and wife, Virgina Schommer, an Uncle to numerous nieces and nephews, a cousin to many close and distant family members, and lastly a constant and reliable friend to many.
A Celebration of Life will be held in Ron’s honor this spring, a date and time to be determined when it is deemed safe to hold a public event. In memory of Ron, work hard and love your family. Memorials may be made in his name to the Mirza Hospital Dad’s Transportation Unit. 110 W 5th Street. Pittsburg, KS. 66762