Ronald D. Waltz, 79, of Brookings, South Dakota, passed away Friday, Nov. 6, 2020, at The Neighborhoods at Brookview. Ronald Dean Waltz was born July 25, 1941, in Turtle Lake, North Dakota, son of Emanuel and Ida (Berg) Waltz.
He graduated from Turtle Lake High School in 1959. A gifted athlete, Ron excelled at basketball, baseball and was an all-conference tight end in football. Ron attended Bismarck Junior College before becoming a Radiological Technologist at St. Luke’s Hospital in Fargo. It was there where he met and later married Judy Johnson on Sept. 14, 1963, in Buffalo, North Dakota. In February 1964, they moved to Grand Forks, North Dakota, where Ron attended the University of North Dakota and received his bachelor of science degree in business administration.
While in Grand Forks, their first son, Bryan, was born during the blizzard of 1966. Ron ran behind a snowmobile carrying a suitcase for 10 blocks, taking Judy to the hospital. In September 1966, the family moved to Columbus, Montana, where Ron served as CEO for Stillwater Community Hospital. He was also their X-ray tech. On Halloween, 1967, their second son, Greg, was born. In 1970, they moved to Fosston, Minnesota, where Ron was CEO of the hospital and nursing home. One year later, Ron became CEO of Good Samaritan Hospital and Haaland Home in Rugby North Dakota, while leading a pilot project to develop the first Human Services Center in North Dakota, which became a model for rural healthcare. While in Rugby, Ron achieved his master’s degree in healthcare administration from the University of Minnesota. In 1986, Ron became Vice President of Rural Healthcare at Lutheran Health Systems, in Fargo, North Dakota.
In 1992, Ron and Judy moved to Seward, where Ron became the CEO of Seward Memorial Healthcare System and the Anna Sundermann Nursing Care Facility. In 2000, Ron retired and he and Judy moved to Brookings. Ron intended to retire but soon found he was still needed in healthcare and became a consultant working with several hospitals in the upper Midwest on an interim basis which included serving as interim CEO at Brookings Health System for about a year.
Ron was very active in the communities in which he lived. While in Columbus, Ron was a volunteer fireman and had a sorrel horse named Dance that he would often ride along the foothills of the Bear Tooth Mountains. In his free time, Ron could be found hunting and fishing with friends, golfing and loved traveling with Judy and his family. His family was very special to him and he was very proud of his grandchildren. Ron was a huge fan of the SDSU Jackrabbits and Nebraska Cornhuskers. He had a remarkable life which allowed him to travel the world, have an impact on healthcare facilities in several states and developed numerous strong friendships across the country and enjoyed telling jokes, funny stories and smoking a cigar on occasion.
He is survived by his wife, Judy Waltz, of Brookings; two sons, Bryan Waltz of Volga, South Dakota, and Greg (Kristan) Waltz, of Shakopee, Minnesota; three grandchildren, Natalie, Andrew and Kade; three nephews, Darold (Mimi) Bauer, Myron (Joyce) Bauer and Ron (Jeremy) Bauer; great nieces, Kate Bauer, Erin Bauer and Jenna Bauer; great-nephew Phillip (Michelle) Bauer and countless neighbors and friends.
He is preceded in death by his parents and his sister, Ruby.
A private family service will be Thursday Nov. 12, and will be livestreamed through the Rude’s Funeral Home Facebook page. A huge Celebration of Life is planned on July 25, 2021, on what would have been Ron’s 80th birthday. Memorial contributions are suggested to The Neighborhoods at Brookview or Ascension Lutheran Church in Brookings. Condolences may be left for the family at www.rudesfuneralhome.com