Charles Ronald (Ron) Gustafson


Ron, age 90, passed away on June 14, 2024, (Flag Day) in Monte Vista, Colo.

Ron was born in New Britain, Conn., on June 6, 1934, of Swedish immigrants, David and Helen. After graduating from Farmington, Conn., High School, he joined the U.S. Air Force and attended basic training at the Sampson, N.Y., Air Force Base (AFB). He attended Air Force electronic schools at Keesler AFB in Biloxi, Miss., on three different occasions. He was a math and electronic instructor there. While stationed there, he attended Sergeant Military Leadership School and a 50-week long electronics superintendent management class. 

Ron was stationed twice in Germany and once in Greece as deputy station commander for microwaves. In Turkey he was station commander for microwaves. Ron’s last duty station was in Kansas City, Mo., with the Air Force Communication Service Headquarters. He was account manager for commercially leased circuits and equipment for all major Air Force command locations, the Air National Guard and Air Force Reserves within the United States. Ron attended the Non-Commission Officer Academy. Throughout his military career he took night college courses. In July 1974, Rob graduated magna cum laude from Park University in Kansas City, Mo. 

Ron retired from the Air Force in August of 1975 as a master sergeant (E-7). Ron received the Cold War Recognition Ribbon — National Defense Service Medal, Good Conduct Medal both for the Army and Air Force, Germany Occupation Medal, Air Force Longevity, Service Award, AF Outstanding Unit Award, Small Arms Expert Marksmanship Ribbon, NCO Military Academy Ribbon, and Air Force Commendation Award.

Ron started his second career working with the Social Security Administration in Kansas City, Mo. He was a benefit authorizer, recovery reviewer and claims authorizer. He retired as a GS-11 after 19 years in January 1995. 

Ron and his wife, Cindy, moved to Pagosa Springs in May of 1997 where they got involved with many activities. Ron became known as “Mr. Pagosa.”

Ron was either a volunteer member or financially supported the following organizations: San Juan Historical Museum; Chimney Rock Interpretive Association; Chamber of Commerce diplomat; supported activities and events at the Ross Argon Community Center; Pagosa Springs Outdoor Club; Gray Wolf Ski Club, Mountain Rotary Club; Hi Country Square Dance Group; head usher at the United Methodist Church and assistant at yearly bazaar; grand marshal for the 2002 Spanish Fiesta Parade; Kiwanis Man of the Year 2002; Archuleta County Fair volunteer 2007; Chamber of Commerce volunteer in 2007; Ruritan Club, Soup for the Soul Project support; leader of four different highway clean-up groups; driver for cancer and dialysis patients and veterans to Durango, Farmington and Albuquerque for doctor appointments; Ruby Sisson Library volunteer; member of local bridge club; president, treasurer and program director — Men’s Christian Breakfast Group; Mountain Express Transportation board member; 9Health Fair volunteer; GECKO (Giving Every Child Knowledge of the Outdoors); Relay for Life; Pagosa Springs Girls’ Choir supporter; Curtains Up Pagosa (CUPS) supporter; delivery of meals for Loaves and Fishes at the Parish Hall every Thursday; Pagosa Springs Center of the Arts and Friends of the Arts; Pagosa Springs’ Arts Council; grand marshal of the July 4th Parade in 2015; was honored by trip for veterans in Honor Flight to Washington, D.C., September 2017; Tunnels to Towers project (building homes for military Gold Star young families); Community Service Award — United Blood Services for 25 gallons (200 donations) of blood or apheresis.

Ron and Cindy were married for 42 years. On Dec. 3, 2014, Cindy passed away.

Ron was also preceded in death by his two brothers, Royal and Ramon. He is survived by his children: Diane Evans (John), Heide Ford (Zell), Roger Gustafson (Germmaine); stepchildren: Kim Glannon, Kristi Morelock (Tom), Kelly Glannon, Karla Stitt (Ronnie), Kevin Glannon (Melanie); grandchildren: Dustin Evans (Shiela), Ashton Evans, Etienne Hein, Taylor Stitt Grabmiller (John), Andie Stitt Zager (Zane), Brett and Erin Glannon; great-grandson: Jack Ronald Grabmiller; nieces: Anne Gustafson, Gail Lake, and Linda Gustafson.

Donations can be made to one of the following Pagosa Springs organizations: American Legion, Vets for Vets, Veterans Memorial Park, WHIPS (Women Helping in Pagosa).

A celebration of life service will be announced at a future date.