Ronald "Ron" Terrell Pollard
1934 - 2023
Obituary of Ronald "Ron" Terrell Pollard
On October 15, 2023 after 56 years of flying. Ron took his "final flight" home to be with his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. He passed away at Bonaventure Memory Care, with his wife of 58 years by his side. Ron was born December 21, 1934 to Richard and Dorothy Rollison in Cuba, Tennessee. His father died when he was 3. His mother and Ron moved to Washington DC for several years before returning to Memphis. His mother remarried when he was 8 to Hammond Pollard who adopted Ron.
He grew up in Memphis and spent his summers at the "Kia Kima" Boy Scout Camp in Hardy Arkansas located in the Ozark Mountains and started out as a camper, then a dishwasher and worked his way up to become the youngest-ever waterfront director at 17, teaching the boys swimming, life-saving and whitewater canoeing. As a youngster he loved the Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts baseball, football, bass fishing, building model airplanes and his little fox terrier "Spot". During his teen years he was up at 4 am delivering newspapers and saved enough to buy a car. He attended high school in Memphis and was a casual acquaintance of Elvis Presley, even dating the same girl. Ron attended Memphis State University and was enrolled in Air Force ROTC. After 2 years of college, he and a friend decided to join the military to become pilots. He passed both Air Force and Navy pilot exams and chose the Navy because he thought the uniform was "classier". At this time, he had never been in an airplane but he had idolized and built model airplanes for years. He entered the Navy as a Naval Aviation Cadet, training in Pensacola, Florida earning his wings of gold in 1956. During the next 8 years he flew different aircraft including the SNJ, T28, F9 F8 Cougar, F8U Crusader making numerous cruises to the Western Pacific spending some shore time in Guam, the Philippines, Japan and Hong Kong.
He spent some time with the Blue Angels team hoping to win a spot on the team but in order to advance his career, an opportunity came to attend the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California to earn his Bachelor's Degree and to be eligible for a command of a squadron, he needed a graduate degree to look forward to higher positions. While attending the Postgrauduate school, his best friend was dating a young schoolteacher and all had become good friends. When his friend graduated and got orders to a squadron, Ron stepped in and started courting Lois, and married the gal who would become the love of his life on December 19, 1965. His close friend later became the head of the Blue Angels, and was the last pilot shot down in the Vietnam War and died after years in captivity as MIA. After Ron's graduation, it was back to the fleet with orders to Florida flying the RA5C Vigilante, a fast, sophisticated reconnaissance aircraft, the largest plane to bring aboard the carrier.
He left on a carrier cruise to the Mediterranean in 1966 before his daughter Kim was born. When she was 3 months old, Lois flew to Europe to meet the carrier in port to introduce Kim to her dad. Ron made many carrier cruises to the Mediterranean and the Western Pacific with 58 combat missions over N. Vietnam. In 1970 son Scott was born at the Naval Air Station in Albany, Georgia. While Ron was on a cruise, the Naval base in Albany closed and Lois made the move to Key West Florida Naval Air Station with 2 kids, a German Shepard and a U-Haul trailer. In 1974 Ron completed his flying career as the Commanding Officer of RVAH 14 Vigilante squadron. He was offered an opportunity to serve on the Admiral's staff in Norfolk, Virgina which included a promotion to Captain but turned it down as was always Ron and Lois's plan to retire in Colorado after 20 years. He finished his last 18 months in Colorado Springs as an Air Force Exchange Officer at NORAD. It was at this juncture of his work life that he came a born-again Christian thanks to a fighter pilot friend he rode to work with witnessing to him daily that made a huge impact on his life. At 40 years old and unsure of what the future would hold, they moved to Steamboat Springs in 1976 and Ron returned to college on the GI Bill and earned a Master's Degree in business at the University of Denver. He entered the real estate business as a co-owner of Alpine Western Properties, then franchised into Better Homes and Gardens and eventually started Re/Max Steamboat where he served the community for 25 years. He served as the Steamboat Springs Board of Realtors President and was Broker of the Year as well as numerous achievement awards with the Re/Max International Organization including Broker/Owner of the Year over a 5-state region of 130 offices. His local affiliations included Better Business Bureau Board of Director, the VFW/American Legion, Steamboat Rotary for 25 plus years, and Winter Sports Club for numerous years while the kids were skiing competitively. They purchased a houseboat with 2 other Steamboat families and had many fond memories of 13 summer vacations at Lake Powell. They were heavily involved at Euzoa Bible Church for 32 years where Ron served as a Deacon and Head of the Elder Board. For the past 15 years Ron attended and served as a volunteer at the Steamboat Christian Center. He became a representative with Voice of the Martyrs giving presentations on Islam raising awareness of the persecution of Christians.
Ron's love for flying never left him so he went into a partnership in a Cessna T210 which gave them much pleasure flying to various golf resort destinations from the East Coast to the West Coast and all areas in between. He continued reunions to the Ozarks to meet up with his Boy Scout friends for canoe trips down his beloved Spring River. On one such trip they were joined by Sam Walton (Mr. Walmart) and his wife. Their love for travel took them to many places around the world including many spring break trips to Mexico with the kids, a Windjammer sailing trip to the Caribbean islands, the Dominican Republic, golfing in Scotland, a river cruise down the Danube River and most memorable was the trip to Israel, Mt. Sinai in Egypt and the ancient city of Petra in Jordan.
He became a volunteer pilot with Angel Flight offering free flights in his Cessna 210 to hospitals for people in need. Ron had a heart for missions and after joining Steamboat Christian Center, made mission trips to Mexico, Honduras and North Africa with good friend Dave Witt CEO of Spirit of Martyrdom. They have always been generous and philanthropic in supporting numerous Christian and Veteran organizations and sponsors of many children since 1989 through World Vision.
Ron was preceded in death by his beloved mother, Dorothy who came to live with Ron and Lois in Steamboat, and his father Hammond Pollard.
He is survived by his wife Lois, the love of his life, daughter Kimberly Brown, son Scott Pollard (Kristi) granddaughters, Kaeley Carter (Garrett), Kenady Brown, and Sadie Pollard. Ron was a loving husband, father and papa. He loved the Lord with all his heart and soul and was so proud to be an American and be able to serve his country with pride, honor and distinction for 20 years. He was a true patriot and will be greatly missed by family, friends and colleagues.
Ron will be laid to rest at Fort Logan National Cemetery on Wednesday, November 8, 2023 at 12:30PM with Navy Honors.To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Ronald "Ron" Pollard, please visit Tribute Store