Ronnie Lee Free passed away on November 21, 2018 at St Vincent Healthcare in Billings, MT at the age of 66 years and 7 months.
Ron was born on April 22, 1952 in Lakeport, California to the late Patrick & Susan (Kirchmeier) Free. He had 1 brother and 1 sister.
Ron was united in marriage to Valerie Good Free on September 11, 1991 & made their home in Billings, Montana. Ron was blessed with 3 sons, Jeremy, Josh & Ken – his pride and joys. Two years ago, Ron and Val were reunited with their daughter, Brandi Chapin, and Ron’s cousin, Dottie Wilbanks, and her children, Jim and Hope. Ron had been trying to locate family members for years. God’s hand was at work reuniting family for Ron. Ron was able to meet all of them in person; for that, he was eternally grateful.
In Billings, Ron formed a roofing company and called it “Good Roofing”. He always said, “I couldn’t call it Free Roofing! We’d get a lot of calls but would make no money!” In actuality, Ron was honoring Val’s family, specifically Val’s father, Bert Good, who was proud to know that his name lived on in the roofing company. Ron put his mark on the roofing world in Billings and beyond. Good Roofing started with Ron & Val doing the roofing themselves and bloomed into his sons and the occasional hired hand to running companies abroad with hundreds of workers. Jeremy has continued to roof for over 20 years. Josh served our country, enlisting in the military, as Ron did but was also a roofing man. Ken did his time on the roof, as well. Ron taught everyone in the family about roofing and so much more.
Ron befriended people everywhere he went. He was a tall man of 6′ 6″ – easy to spot in a crowd – and Ron’s heart was big as an ocean. He mentored many a way-ward roofer, always encouraging and giving tough love, when needed. Ron believed people need a second chance and always saw the glass as half full. You could see Ron’s mind constantly at work trying to find solutions for every problem, most not even his to solve.
Although Ron had a good life, he also faced many trials and tribulations. Ron was a Vietnam Veteran, volunteering for service at the young age of 17. Ron survived his time in Vietnam however, in later years was totally disabled and, eventually, lost his life due to it.
Ron was a very kind and compassionate man who will be greatly missed by family, friends and all who ever knew him. Blessed be his memory.
Ron was preceded in death by his father, Patrick Free; his mother, Susan Kirchmeier Free and his step-mother, Betty Free, his brother, Patrick Free and brother-in-law Jack Ellis and many of his in-law family.
Ron is survived by his wife, Valerie Free, his sons, Jeremy (Megan) Francom of Billings, MT; Joshua (Heather) Francom of Billings, MT; Ken Free of Billings, MT and daughter, Brandi Chapin of Sioux Falls, SD. His grandchildren Skylar Chapin, Jamie Chapin, Alivia Snyder, Lukas Francom, Emrie Francom, Tamira Chapin, James Francom and Thomas Francom. His sister Kathy (Mike) Melton of Big Fork, MT his sisters & brothers-in-law – Karen (Kevin) Good of Trail, MN; Ramona (Michael) Sweeney of Sioux City IA; Quinten (Cathy) Good of Trail, MN; Leona Culkins of Omaha, NE; Roger (Lori) Good of Gully, MN; Kirk (Natalie) Good of Palmer, Alaska; Bonnie (Charlton) Harris of Forest Grove, OR; Dawn (Brandon) Smith of Forest Grove, OR and Diane (Steve) Collins of Nebraska City, NE. Ron has many nieces, nephews and friends who mourn his passing.
Special thanks to Dr. Troy Fiddler and all the people at the Frontier Cancer Center in Billings, Montana who fought the fight with Ron and Val over the past year. The family appreciates all they did to help.
Funeral Services will be held at 11:00 A.M. Wednesday, November 28, 2018 at Cremation & Funeral Gallery. Interment with full Military Honors will follow at the Yellowstone National Cemetery at 1:00 P.M.