Funeral services for Ronald Moore Fishburn, 86, of Purcell were held at Tuesday, December 17, 2019 at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in Norman. Interment was at Hillside Cemetery in Purcell under the direction of the Wilson-Little Funeral Home in Purcell.
Ronald Moore Fishburn was born July 8, 1933 in Norman, Oklahoma to Lewis McKinley (Luke) Fishburn and Ora Pulliam Fishburn. Ronald (Ron) started school at the Ladd School in Goldsby, at this time his mother ran the grocery store in Goldsby and his father sold tractors in Purcell. They moved to Purcell in 1947 so he and his younger brother Rod could attend High School.
Ron became involved in the FFA program and was inspired by his FFA teacher to go to college. After graduating High School, Ronald attended Oklahoma A&M College in Stillwater studying Soil Science. Upon graduation, he received a commission as an Officer in the United States Army through the Oklahoma State University ROTC program. He then attended Officer Basic Course in Ft. Benning, Georgia, becoming a Reserve Officer.
He was offered and accepted a job with the U.S. Geological office mapping soils in the Oklahoma Panhandle near Boise City. This is where he met his wife Patricia Robinson. After they married they decided to move back to Purcell. Ron then worked in Motor Freight for his father and was drilling as a Lieutenant in the Oklahoma National Guard.
As the Vietnam War was just beginning, he applied and was accepted into flight school for helicopters. He was awarded his Wings becoming a U.S. Army aviator on active duty. This job took him and his growing family all over the country including assignments in Texas, Alabama, North Carolina, Kentucky, Colorado, Arizona, Kansas and Utah.
Ron served three year-long tours in Vietnam in 1963, 1967 and 1972. He was highly decorated throughout his military career and achieved the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. He received numerous awards, including several air medals, the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Legion of Merit.
In 1963 he and his wife became members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Membership in the church introduced to him to the Boy Scouts of America as he became a Scout Master, a lifelong passion. He was involved with the Boy Scouts for over 50 years.
Tragedy stuck in 1979 when his third oldest son, Lorne, was killed in an automobile accident in Kentucky. After retiring from the military in 1980, he returned to his hometown of Purcell to continue raising his children and to begin a second career. Ronald became a realtor and began serving in the local church and the community.
Ronald ran for Purcell City Council, won and continued to serve on city council for 18 years, serving as mayor several times. His time as mayor and city council oversaw many structural and key developments that are still noticeable today. He also joined the Rotary Club in Purcell, eventually becoming the Rotary Club President and serving a term as Rotary District Governor for southwest Oklahoma.
He served as Bishop for the Noble Ward in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints for 10 years. Ron and Patricia served together as temple workers for the Oklahoma City Temple for many years. He cherished working in the temple with his wife. Ron’s service wasn’t limited to serving in organizations; he would help anyone and everyone. He helped those in need, especially ones down on their luck. The stories of him helping and giving to others would fill volumes.
Ron loved the youth. He attended Boy Scout Summer Camp at Slippery Falls, near Tishomingo for over 20 years. He attended Girls Summer Camp for the church for many years. He also helped in the implementation of the Rotary Youth Leadership Awards for southwest Oklahoma, attending this camp for many years.
Tragedy struck again in 2007 when his wife, Patricia, married for nearly 49 years, succumbed to cancer. Heartbroken but undeterred, he continued to help others. He remarried to Nita Fields a little over a year later. Ron’s children and grandchildren were his highest priority. He sacrificed to help them achieve and took great pride in all their accomplishments.
All six of his living children obtained college degrees. Five of his six children served in the military and the sixth served as a military spouse for 20 years. His children’s personal and professional accomplishments include; electrical engineer, career executive in oil and gas, architect, lawyer, pilot, retail management, two combat veterans, four military officers, four LDS returned missionaries, 22 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.
Ron continued flying after retirement from the Army. He loved flying his antique Taylorcraft and Cessna 150. He taught numerous people how to fly and encouraged several others that became aviators. Ronald would often fly over and photograph properties, events and even assisted with search and rescue. He was a patriot, pilot, realtor, Combat Veteran, counselor, bishop, father, husband, son, brother, and most of all a friend.
He loved all, didn’t hold grudges, dedicated his life to the service of God and country. He’s now resting, reunited with his sweet wife, son, father and mother and many others who passed on before him. When he departed this life and was greeted by his Savior, he most certainly was met with “Well done thou good and faithful servant.” From all that was fortunate enough to know you, thank you for your life of service to others, you made this world a better place.
He was preceded in death by his son, Lorne Fishburn; his wife, Patricia Ruth Fishburn and his parents, Lewis and Ora Fishburn.
Ron is survived by his wife, Nita (Fields) Fishburn; two daughters, Leah Fishburn and Mike Rios of Anchorage, Alaska, and Ronda Evans and husband, Matt, of Huntington Beach, Calif.; four sons, Tol Fishburn and wife, Cathryn, of Eagle River, Alaska, Brett Fishburn and wife, Kris, of Midland, Texas, Tate Fishburn and wife, Margaret, of Corrales, N.M. and Graham Fishburn of Purcell; brother, Rodney Fishburn of Layton, Utah; 22 grandchildren; six great-grandchildren and a host of other family and friends.
Online condolences may be made at wilsonlittle.com.