Ronald E. Cone, a 46-year resident of California and a 20-year resident of Joshua Tree, died from Lou Gehrig’s Disease (ALS) at VA Hospice at Loma Linda on Feb. 11, 2020. He was 72 years old.
The son of Robert and Jean (McGee) Cone, he was born July 1, 1945, in Washington, D.C.
Ron was a lifelong electrician and activist. He trained as an electrician in the Navy. He attended college for two years before returning to the electrical industry. He considered himself lucky to be mentored early on in his career and mentored others throughout the 40 years he worked in the electrical trade.
He worked at System Electric in Palm Springs for over 20 years, specializing in environmental controls for water and air systems. He also focused on wastewater/storm water containment systems for Dynaelectric Corp. and the City of Oxnard.
In retirement, he worked with his wife in their landscape water conservation business, making sure everything ran smoothly at Bollinger Consulting Group, and becoming an excellent irrigation auditor.
Raised in South Dakota, Ron left home for San Diego at the age of 17 and joined the Navy in 1963, doing two tours in Vietnam. Sailing around the world in the Navy was a source of pride and life-changing adventure and he was honorably discharged in 1969.
A lifelong activist, Ron cared about the planet and his community. After leaving the service he joined Vietnam Veterans Against the War to campaign for peace, justice and the rights of all military veterans. He continued to march for peace throughout his life. He was proud of establishing new chapters of the anti-nuclear group Alliance for Survival and went to jail protesting the Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant in 1981.
He loved the desert, loved living in Joshua Tree, and did his best to defend it. He looked forward to spring wildflower tours each year and enjoyed watching birds and wildlife everywhere he went. He also loved Mexico, and building a home on the Sea of Cortez in Baja was one of his greatest adventures, along with traveling with friends. Train travel, reading, playing games and sharing good food and a beer with friends were among his greatest pleasures.
He was preceded in death by his father, Robert Cone, and his mother, Jean McGee Cone.
He is survived by his wife, Deborah Bollinger, of Joshua Tree, his daughter, Angela Cone, his grandson, Dakota Simon, and his granddaughter, Bellarose Simon, all of Farmington, Arkansas.
He is also survived by many cousins in South Dakota with whom he remained close during the family’s battles with Lou Gehrig’s Disease.
Following Ron’s wishes there will be no funeral or memorial service.
Ron believed in giving back, and was grateful for the help of the ALS Association which provided many medical devices and adaptive equipment that made life a little easier for him. Memorial contributions in his name may be made to the ALS Association Golden West Chapter, P.O. Box 565, Agoura Hills, CA 91376.
For the past few years Ron courageously battled Lou Gehrig’s disease but he never complained and continued to live life to its fullest. He was the Rock of Gibraltar for friends and family; he was loyal and inspired loyalty. He was generous, loved to laugh and had a really quick wit. He made friends everywhere he went.
Ron married his wife, Deborah Bollinger, in Tijuana, Mexico, on April 1, 1984, their fourth date, and she was at his side to the end. They lived on Hollywood Beach in Oxnard and in Rancho Mirage before moving to Joshua Tree in 1999.