July 13, 1946 – January 3, 2020 – (age 73)
Ronald Joseph Hellstern, loving husband, father, and grandfather passed away peacefully on Friday, January 4, 2020, at the age of 73, surrounded by his family.
Ron was born on July 13, 1946, in Chicago, Illinois to Joseph George Hellstern and Rosina Elizabeth Huss. He was the oldest of four children (Don, Rosina, and Doug).
Ron grew up in Antioch, Illinois and graduated from Antioch High School. His love for the outdoors began when he was young and traveled around the US with his family. His travels continued into adulthood, and he eventually visited all 50 US states and 50 countries around the globe. As a boy, Ron started his own neighborhood science exploration club and even created a unique flag to mark the club. This early exposure to the great outdoors later prompted him to move west to attend Utah State University.
While attending USU, he was a member of both the swimming team and the marching band. Ron graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Physical Education and Athletics, with a minor in Zoology. He later returned and earned his master’s degree from USU in Physical Education. He then began his lifelong passion of teaching.
Ron loved sports and became a coach in basketball, track, trampoline, golf, and swimming. While living in Idaho, he started the Lava Hot Springs Swim team, taking several members on to State and Western Zone competitions.
During college, he was introduced to, and joined, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He said many times that this was one of the greatest decisions of his life. He had an amazing testimony of Jesus Christ. Ron lived a life full of service to others and held many church callings.
Ron married Helen Cooley in 1966 and together they had 7 children, Rhett (Angela), Brandt (DeDe), Darren (Nicky), Brock (Amy), Bryce, Heather, and Breanna. They later divorced. Ron then met, and married, Wendy Duncan. Together they had 2 children, Tana (Josh Cambra) and Parker. They spent 31 wonderful years together.
Ron was an educator for 42 years. He taught at public schools in Illinois, Idaho, and Utah. Science was his favorite subject he taught, and he became an avid environmentalist. Ron participated in, and led, many different environmental clubs, committees, and organizations. He shared his love for the outdoors with everyone he knew and mentored many of his students in International Envirothon competitions for several years. Ron had a strong emotional connection to Zion National Park. He made regular trips to hike the park, take students to visit the area, participate in service projects and bird counts, and especially to spend time there with his wife, Wendy. Ron was also an advocate for the monarch butterfly and, to promote their habitat, planted milkweed whenever and wherever he could.
Ron loved his community and worked to improve it in many ways including serving on the Nibley City Council and various educational and environmental committees. He was instrumental in acquiring, and naming, Firefly Park in Nibley.
Ron shared his father’s passion for scouting and participated with his boys through all levels. He was Pack Master, Scout Master, and active in Round Tables and POW WOWs. He ultimately was awarded the prestigious Silver Beaver award for distinguished service to the Boy Scouts of America.
During his life, Ron received many other awards, including the Lifetime Achievement Award for Utah Society for Environmental Education, Utah State Citizen-Forester of the Year, the President’s Environmental Award (taking him to the White House to meet the President), and Teacher of the Year for several organizations.
Ron is survived by his wife, Wendy Duncan. He is also survived by his children; Rhett, Brandt, Darren, Brock, Bryce, Heather, Breanna, Tana, and Parker and four step-daughters; Kristen (James Kropf), Michelle (Aaron Theberge), MaryAnn (Bob Wofford), and Allison (Bryan Tidwell). He has 40 grandchildren and 2 great-grandchildren. Ron is also survived by his two brothers Don (Cindy) and Doug and sister Rosina Vega. He is proceeded in death by his parents Joseph George Hellstern and Rosina Elizabeth Huss.
Funeral services will be held at 12:00 Noon on Saturday, January 11, 2020 in the Nibley Stake Center, 3701 South 450 West in Nibley. A viewing will be held on Friday evening from 6:00 – 8:00pm at the Allen-Hall Mortuary, 34 East Center Street in Logan, and prior to the services on Saturday from 10:30 – 11:30am at the stake center. Interment will be in the Logan City Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, per Ron’s request, an account has been set up in his name at Anderson Seed and Garden Store in Logan to plant trees.
Condolences may be shared with the family at www.allenmortuaries.net