Ronald Duane Diest (February 12, 1944 — November 10, 2016)
Our friend, Ron Diest, passed away in his usual quiet and unassuming way at his home in the company of one of his long-time friends and care-givers on November 10, 2016.
Ron was born February 12, 1944, in Wichita, Kansas. He was the son of Orville A. and Margerie L. (Buckler) Diest, both deceased. While we don’t have information about his younger years or siblings, we know that his biological family placed him in the State Home for the Disabled at age nine and has had no contact with him since then. Fortunately, Ron’s disability took a backseat to his amazing spirit of determination. He received vocational training at the State home and developed a strong sense of work ethic. That work ethic landed him a job working in a family-owned restaurant when he was eighteen and he quickly became a member of his new-found family. They moved to Crested Butte in 1970, remaining there until relocating to Glenwood Springs in 1978. Ron enjoyed a true loving relationship with the Cranks that continued to grow as he moved through all the stages of his life. Ron was preceded in death by extended family members Sally (Brown) Crank and Anna Crank. He is survived by extended family Bill and Gloria Crank of Crested Butte and Kib Crank of Denver and nearest and dearest friends, Mike and Rita Deer of Glenwood Springs, CO.
Over the years, Ron suffered from a variety of very complex medical issues, but stubbornly refused to succumb to illness. He got up every morning and went to work at the 19th Street Diner. After work, he sat at the counter drinking coffee and visiting with the locals. He set short term goals for himself that kept him going when his strength began to wane. He participated in Special Olympics skiing until he was placed on continuous oxygen, and could not endure the altitude. He then turned to bowling, until his strength began to decrease. He placed first at the regional competition in 2013 and chose to be a spectator, cheering his friends on the following year. Eventually his stamina decreased to the point he had to stop working-after all, flammable oxygen just doesn’t work in a restaurant kitchen! After leaving the Diner, he spent his days going to Starbucks for coffee and visiting with his many friends who stopped by to chat. He enjoyed his final cup of Starbucks the day before his passing.
Ron was a kind and caring friend who was always interested in the triumphs and tribulations of those around him. His gentle nature and absolute refusal to allow his illness to control his life will always be an inspiration to all who knew and loved him. He will remain a steady presence in the hearts of his many friends and the staff and clients of Mountain Valley Developmental Services who have enjoyed the pleasure of his company for the past 38 years.
Ron will be laid to rest in the Crank family plot in Crested Butte, CO. Please join with family and friends for a memorial service at the Glenwood Springs Community Center at 2:00 pm on Thursday, November 17, 2016, to celebrate and acknowledge the strength, courage and determination of this very ordinary man who has lived an extraordinary life.
Memorial gifts can be made to Mountain Valley Developmental Services, P.O. Box 338, Glenwood Springs, CO. 81602 and will be used to place a bench with Ron’s name in a local park.
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