USAF MSGT Ronald Gene Cragoe, Ret.
February 10, 1936 ~ November 13, 2020
Ron G. Cragoe, 84, Sioux Falls, died Friday, November 13, 2020, at the Sanford USD Medical Center, in Sioux Falls, after a stroke.
Visitation will be 4-6pm, Tuesday, November 17, 2020, at Heartland Funeral Home, Brandon. Funeral Services will be 1pm, Wednesday, November, 18, also at Heartland Funeral Home, with Full Military Honors. Burial will follow at Maplewood Cemetery, Luverne, MN. Because of the Covid virus, masks are requested. Service limits allow only 75 persons.
Ronald Gene Cragoe, son of Sidney and Eva (Lehmann) Cragoe, was born on February 10, 1936, in the village of Magnolia, Minnesota, where he grew up and attended his early education. Ron’s mother Eva, worked at the Rock Café in Magnolia. Tuesday evenings, his first-grade math teacher would come to eat and help Ron with his math. When Ron reached his high school years, he attended school in Beaver Creek’s one-room schoolhouse. He completed his studies at the age of 15 and graduated in 1951. After graduation, Ron worked for farmers and driving trucks with his father for a few years. Ron was not sure what he wanted to do with his life until the Magnolia fair in 1953 when he spoke with a man named Ken Storm, who turned out to be a recruiter for the US Air Force. It was a few days later when Ron stopped at the bar for a beer. There was that same recruiter sitting at the bar. They began talking and before long, Ron had signed up to join the Air Force. The recruiter showed up at his family home to pick him up the next day and his mother Eva thought it was a joke until Mr. Storm presented the signed paperwork from the night before. Ron served his four years in France and was discharged. He waited the 91 days required before he enlisted again, serving four more years. Ron participated in the 1960 “Congolese Crisis”, earning his first letter of commendation before being discharged.
He met the beautiful Barb Stoterau shortly after his return home. She wanted nothing to do with a guy, who was older and had been in the military for 8 years already. He did not give up. She made him prove that he was worth her time. He tried and tried to get her to go skating with him and she refused over and over. One day, she gave in and it was not long after they were an inseparable couple. She had fallen for him. Try as they may, no one could keep them apart. November 26, 1961, they were married at the Methodist Church in Luverne, Minnesota. Their union was blessed with three children: Darci, Sheri, and Kelly. They made their first home together in Beaver Creek, MN. In 1963, they moved their young family to Sioux Falls, SD, where Barb was kept busy taking care of their home and children while Ron continued his military career. In 1967, they moved their family again to Brandon, SD. In the mid-80s, the family moved to Rapid City, SD, for several years. In 1989, Ron found himself in Panama’s “Operation Just Cause”, where he once again was recognized with a letter of commendation. Ron now served in the Air Guard until 1996, for a total of almost 44 years Air Force, when he retired. He drove a tour bus for various tour companies and hauled the mail in his “retirement years.”
After retirement Barb and Ron shared their time between Sioux Falls, and their winter home in Harlingen, Texas. While in South Dakota, Ron participated in dirt track racing both from the pits and then later from the stands. He was a lifetime fan of racing. While in Texas he loved to play games and the court’s potlucks. Ron and Barb saw the world together. They did not care where they were going as long as they were on their way. Life was an adventure! After Barb’s death in 2019, Ron moved to Primrose Retirement Community where he made many friends with whom he enjoyed spending time with. Ron had a very strong work ethic and was always trying to achieve more. His big heart and generous nature were always evident.
Ron will be deeply missed by his three children, Darci (Todd) Sharlow, Sioux Falls, SD, and Sheri Rozeboom-Kloes, Hills, MN, and Kelly Cragoe, Springfield, SD; four grandchildren and 16 great-grandchildren; along with a host of extended family and friends.
Ron was preceded in death by his wife, Barb; parents, Sydney and Eva Cragoe; and one sister, Fran.