Ronald Francis Pflipsen arrived in this world on November 10, 1944. They say life is a journey and what a journey Ron had! He was a man of many talents and never-ending experiences. This small-town North Dakota boy grew up with a sister whom he adored, an older brother he looked up to, and two loving parents who taught him about responsibility, mechanics, and cooking with fresh ingredients.
Ron’s childhood led him from Garrison to the big city of Minot and then west to Seattle. He worked many jobs earning money for school but his favorite was as a bus driver in Seattle. Ron graduated from Marquette University School of Dentistry in 1971 before going on to complete his Pediatric Residency at Marquette in 1973. His dental school days led him to meet the love of his life. Ron and Jackie were married in 1970 and had 50 years of bliss together as they raised a family and discovered the world together.
After dental school, Ron joined the Navy to fulfill a two-year obligation and was assigned to 29 Palms Marine Corps Base in California. Upon completing his obligation, he set up a private practice in Wisconsin. However, Ron and Jackie soon decided to return to the military and joined the Army Dental Corps. Ron was first assigned to Fort Hood, Texas, and then to the Dental Activity in Augsburg, Germany, where he served as the Officer in Charge of the Children’s Clinic. Ron then moved to Fort Huachuca and served as the Officer in Charge of the Raymond Bliss Hospital Dental Clinic. It was during this time he fell in love with the desert and decided that Sierra Vista may be a place he would like to retire. After four years, he was assigned to the residency programs in Orthodontics and Pediatric Dentistry at Fort Knox, Kentucky where he taught and mentored dental residents. At the end of this tour, Ron was selected for and assumed Command of the 102nd Medical Detachment Dental Activity in Vicenza, Italy. Ron retired from the Army after a final assignment at Fort Lewis, Washington where he served for two years as the Director of Dental Services at Madigan Army Medical Center. In the end, Ron’s military experiences could not help but rub off on his children as they both serve on active duty.
After military retirement, Ron joined a thriving practice in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, and together with his lifelong friend, practiced for eight years. Ron then returned to Sierra Vista and tiptoed his way into full retirement by working part-time at the Gila River Indian Reservation outside of Phoenix, Arizona. After his daughter left Phoenix and Ron no longer had a place to stay, he assisted with the Chiricahua Community Health Center’s mobile dental unit until they found a full-time pediatric dentist.
When Ron fully retired he became active in community activities. He served as secretary of the Military Officers Association of America’s Coronado Chapter for eight years as well as a board member for the American Southwest Credit Union Board of Directors for 12 years. He became an avid traveler and almost made it to all seven continents: he just missed Antarctica, but not after two valiant attempts. Ron enjoyed photography, mushroom hunting, woodworking, bike riding with his Downhill To Breakfast buddies, and gourmet cooking: to include his famous wood-fired pizzas. Through it all, he was blessed with the best of friends who shared his interests and filled his life with fun and laughter. Ron was a kind and loving husband, father, and friend.
Ron is preceded in death by his parents Herbert and Elizabeth, and nephews Bob and Bill Pflipsen. Ron is survived by his wife of 50 years, Jackie, his son Matt (Chrystel), his daughter Chrissie, his grandchildren Owen and Eva, his sister Marilyn (Jim) Ireland and their children Tammy, Stephen, and Michelle, his brother Gary and his children Steve and Brian, his aunt Theresa, and many other close family members. Ron will be missed by all that were blessed enough to have him in their life. Ron entered eternal life on February 13, 2021, after a valiant battle with pancreatic cancer. The family would like to thank Casa de la Paz Hospice for all their care and support, as well as Ron’s other providers during this time.
Funeral services will be held on February 19, 2021, at Saint Andrew’s. The rosary will be said at 0945 with a Mass of Christian Burial at 1030 immediately followed by Military Honors. Ron requested that any donations made in his memory go to either the Saint Vincent DePaul Food Bank or Saint Andrew the Apostle Catholic Church, both in Sierra Vista.
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