Ronald Luttge

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November 29, 1931 ~ October 29, 2023

Ronald Luttge was born November 29, 1931, in Mineola, New York, to Dr. Louis and Ruth Luttge. He grew up on Long Island, in the town of Bethpage where he enjoyed hunting, fishing and sports. Ron played football, basketball, and (his first love) baseball. He attended Farmingdale High School and later went on to Hofstra College and the University of Maine. While working at the local lumber yard, between semesters, a lovely young woman caught his eye (which she promptly ignored). He and his one true love, Joan Wiggins, were married not long after and their adventures were just beginning.

Ron soon joined the Air Force, and after basic training in Rome, NY he and his new wife were assigned to Lowry AFB in Denver. His military career took him from Denver, to Maine, and on to LA (for training with Hughes Aircraft), and then back to NY. Later, Ron was assigned to LADD AFB in Fairbanks, Alaska. He and his wife loaded up their Nash Rambler, and their two young sons, and drove the two weeks to Alaska.  They found themselves on a very primitive ALCAN highway (before it was paved), changing flat tires as well as diapers. Eventually, a third son was born and the Luttge’s found themselves back on the road headed east, where their last child, a daughter, was born. Ron’s time in the Air Force found him working on the F86 Sabre, the F100/F101 Voodoo, the F89 Scorpion, and the F4 Phantom, among others. He was a fire control systems specialist that maintained the weapons system (missile and guns) with the targeting systems (radar, infrared, and gunsights) on the jets. Ron’s final assignment brought them full circle back to Colorado, where he finished his career as a technical training instructor utilizing all the skills and experience, he had acquired over the years.

After 14 years in the Air Force, Ron was offered an opportunity to work for Westinghouse Defense Operations. His career took him all over the United States and the world, including Asia, Europe, Africa, and England. While traveling for work, he took advantage of every opportunity to bring his family with him on assignment. Joan once estimated the family had moved over 20 times, before Ron retired from Westinghouse in the early 1990’s, ending his career as a Supervisor for Westinghouse Field Engineering and Service. He and his wife moved to South Dakota, where they appreciated a quieter life, surrounded by rural countryside and plenty of opportunities for him to continue his love of hunting (pheasants) and working his dogs (Springer Spaniels) in the field (the real joy of “hunting”).

Ron was known for his intelligence, sense of humor, lightning-quick wit, and his intense devotion to those he loved. He loved a good practical joke (case in point: When working in AK, he and his buddies collected several dead ravens and stuffed them upright into a snowbank that lined the runway. When a visiting General asked what was up with the ravens, he was told the crew had trained them to “stand at attention” to welcome incoming guests. The General, needless to say, was impressed.) He cheered, cursed, and swore off (never for very long) the Denver Broncos, the New York Yankees, and the New York Rangers. He believed, strongly, that honesty was not the best policy, but the only policy. Ron saw the world in black and white, and right and wrong. No gray spaces. He was an old-fashioned man living in a modern world, and they did not share space well. Ron was proud of his children and amazed at the good fortune he found in his wife. His health had begun to decline in recent years, and he passed away on October 29, one month to the day, of his 92nd birthday. He and Joan lived, traveled, and loved together for 71 years. He will be missed every day. The family will be honoring Ron with a small, private military ceremony.

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  • Derek Wales says:

    Eric has been my boss for over 10 years. And the relationship I have built with him has been unbreakable. Eric has spoken about his family and how much he loved them all especially his father. I am saddened to hear of his passing. My thoughts and prayers are with everyone in the Luttge family. Much love to you all. Wishing you all the peace and comfort possible.
    Please know that however you’re feeling right now-sad, numb, guilty, tired, angry-its normal. There is no right way to feel. I love you and am so sad that you all are going thru this!!
    Derek Wales

  • Rebecca Hannah says:

    I’m so sorry for your Loss Eric and family
    Sending Love Hugs and Prayers
    RIP Mr. Luttge

  • Ron Voelkel says:

    My sincere condolences Eric, to you, your sister and brother, and your mom. I know caring for your parents at this time in their lives has been challenging. You can rest in the fact that you did an admirable job in honoring your parents through difficult circumstances. May God bless you and keep you and the family close to Him in this time.

  • Neil Bates says:

    Joan and family, our thoughts are with you. A chance meeting in a hunting field in SD some 15 years ago and a shared love of hunting pheasants and great bird dogs gave us a chance to get to know you. It was a gift. Laurie and I will always remember.

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