Ronald M. Henderson, age 74 of rural Glenwood, died Monday June 22, 2020 at the Glacial Ridge Hospital in Glenwood after a long battle of failing health due to congestive heart failure and COPD. His family was at his side. A funeral service will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, June 27th at Chippewa Falls Lutheran Church in Terrace with Pastor Brenda Boogren officiating. Visitation will be from 4:00 - 7:00 p.m. on Friday at the funeral home in Glenwood and will continue one hour prior to the service at the church on Saturday. Masks are encouraged for all who attend these services. Interment will be in Oak Hill Cemetery, rural Lowry. There will be a time of outdoor fellowship following the burial. Details will be provided at the church. Those planning on attending are encouraged to bring their own chairs. Arrangements are with the Hoplin-Hitchcock Funeral Home in Glenwood.
Ron was born December 18, 1945 in Glenwood, MN, to Myron Bryce and Alice Emma (Anderson) Henderson of rural Lowry. He was their only child. When Ron was a toddler he moved with his parents to a farm in Chippewa Falls Township, where they made their home. Ron was baptized as an infant and received his religious education at Barsness Lutheran Church. He attended country school and Glenwood High School before pursuing his love of farming fulltime. Ron was married in 1975 and to that union five children were born.
As a lifelong farmer, Ron took great pride in caring for his crops and dairy cows. He was a dairyman for over 50 years. Most farmers have a definite preference when it comes to tractors, either red or green, and Ron was no exception. For him, it was John Deere green. Over the years, dating back as far as the 1960’s, Ron managed to amass an impressive tractor collection, with the two-cylinder models being his favorite. He took great care of his tractors and knew every model made along with extensive information about each one. In 1990, Ron purchased his uncle’s farm near Lowry and received the Century Farm plaque for that farm in 2019. It brought him great joy and satisfaction to keep the family farm intact and alive. The tradition continues today with Ron’s son, Mike.
In his younger years Ron enjoyed trapping and hunting, especially hunting pheasants with his dog Ranger. He felt grateful to have enjoyed a close relationship with his cousin, Rodney, and Rodney’s family. There was always time for Sunday picnics, birthday parties, and evening fishing after chores were done. Many times, both would milk a little early, hook up their fishing boats and meet at a lake with their families for swimming or fishing. The Henderson cousins knew him as “Sunny”, a nickname given to him by his grandma because of his “sunny” disposition. To this day many of his grandkids know him as Grandpa Sunny.
The demands of dairy farming make taking trips difficult for those who choose that life. This was certainly true for Ron. As such, when he was able to travel to Nebraska with his daughter, Becky, and her son, Bryce, to attend a 160-acre/7-day tractor auction it was a highlight of his life and he often spoke of it. Ron also went with his lifelong friend, John, on a cross country run in John’s semi-truck. He was gone for 7 days, one of his longest times away from the farm. He had many pictures from that trip and often told of all the places they had seen.
After retiring from milking, Ron still enjoyed field work and helped his son, Mike, out a great deal as well as helping with fieldwork at Neumanns and farm projects at Hackers. Grandpa Ron always carried a full set of tools in his trunk and a vice grip in his pocket because you never knew when you’d need one. In recent years, Ron, along with his daughter, Becky, kept a small herd of beef cows at the Lowry farm. He enjoyed the excuse they provided to stop at the farm on the pretense of checking on them, and then read the mail and maybe take a snooze.
In his retirement Ron enjoyed driving his red Chevy Impala around to see the progress of the crops and stopping by to visit friends and family. One never knew when the red Impala would swing into the driveway, but it was always good when grandpa stopped by. Ron truly enjoyed his grandchildren and was engaged in their lives. He enjoyed watching them at the county fair and would always ask about their animals and interests. It was very important to him that they study and do well in school. If he was at the house when they got home from school, he would ask them if they got smart today.
Ron also enjoyed playing cards and visiting with friends and family, whether in person or while chatting on his trusty flip-phone, watching old western movies, reading western books, and of course the (John Deere) Green Magazine.
Ron’s love of farming and nurturing a crop from the land was true and was passed down to each of his children who all work in agriculture today. Ron was loved by his children. He would frequently pick up his phone and call them and he always answered his phone when they called him with a question, problem, or just to visit. He ended each conversation with them by saying, “Keep smiling now.” He will be missed.
Ron is survived by three daughters, Renae (Bill) Neumann of Buffalo, Rebecca (Chris) Hacker of Starbuck, Patricia (Bill) Smeby of Elk River; a son, Myron (Ashley) of Glenwood; 13 grandchildren, Matt, Adam and Natalie Neumann; Bryce, Aidan, Kelsy, Chase, and Cyril Hacker; Jake, Amber, and Rachel Smeby; and Hailey and Blake Henderson, lifelong friend, John Hanson and family; several cousins and extended family.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Myron and Alice; a son in infancy; special cousin, Rodney Henderson; other cousins, and several aunts and uncles.
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