Lieutenant Colonel (Ret.) Ronald Edward Schupner, 71, of Smithfield, VA, passed away Nov. 27, 2022. He leaves a legacy of a lifetime of steadfast love for and devoted service to his family and country.
Ron was born Feb. 25, 1951, in Nyack, New York, to Raymond L. and Elizabeth (Wadsworth) Schupner. Ron grew up helping on his grandfather’s chicken farm and causing mischief with his three brothers, Raymond, John, and James. He graduated from Nyack High School in 1969 and Pennsylvania Military College in 1973, after which he was commissioned into the United States Army.
Ron served his country for 20 years as an aviation officer and test pilot, flying CH-47 Chinooks. He completed a tour of duty in Germany and three tours in South Korea with the 213 th Aviation Company (Blackcats). Ron was also stationed at Fort Rucker, AL; Forts Eustis and Lee, VA; Hunter Army Air Field, Savannah, GA (132 nd Aviation); and Fort Leavenworth, KS. He earned master’s degrees from the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College in Fort Leavenworth (1986) and Florida Institute of Technology (1987).
During his final tour in Korea, as Company Commander of the Blackcats, Ron coordinated aviation support, including antiterrorism, for the 1988 Seoul Olympics. This included coordinating the airdrop and flying the lead Chinook for the Rings Over Seoul skydiving demonstration during the Opening Ceremony (Time Magazine’s photo of the year). He considered this his proudest professional accomplishment and was awarded an Olympic medal from the Seoul Olympic Organizing Committee for extraordinary support.
In 1989, Ron returned to Fort Leavenworth and served as Chief of Leadership and Training Management Instruction at CGSC before retiring from the Army in 1993. During his military career, the Army awarded Ron two Meritorious Service Medals, an Army Commendation Medal with four Oak Leaf Clusters, an Army Service Medal, two National Defense Service Medals, an Army Achievement Medal, and three Army Overseas Service Medals.
Ron earned a third master’s degree, in Adult Education, from Kansas State University in 1993. He worked in management at Sprint for 10 years then as a consultant at Right Management in Kansas City.
After Ron retired fully in 2010, he devoted himself to his family. He showed his great love for them by taking over the kitchen and cooking family and holiday dinners (including Thanksgiving 2022, just before his passing), cultivating his vegetable and financial gardens, spending time at his beloved family cottage on Martha’s Vineyard, outmaneuvering his children for triple-word-score squares in Scrabble, and dispensing sage life advice to them. His retirement duties gradually expanded to group-texting puns and jokes to his family on a near-daily basis, supplying them with hundreds of tomatoes, and being “Gumpah” to his granddaughters—including teaching one to say six-syllable words at age 2.
Ron is survived by his wife, Colette Schupner; son, Brent Schupner; daughter and son-in-law, Tara and Seth Congdon; and granddaughters Aislin Skye and Brighe Isla. He is also survived by his brother John Schupner (Kathleen); sister-in-law Tracy Nelms (Johnny); three nephews; and five nieces. He was predeceased by his parents and two brothers, Raymond and James.
Memorial services will be held on Saturday, Dec. 3, at Benn’s Church, 14571 Benn’s Church Blvd., Smithfield, VA. Open visitation is at 10 a.m., with the service at 11 a.m. and reception to follow.
Ron’s family respectfully requests no flowers. Instead, please contribute in Ron’s memory to the Gary Sinise Foundation, P.O. Box 40726, Nashville, TN 27204, or the Isle of Wight Volunteer Rescue Squad, P.O. Box 97, Smithfield, VA 23430. Online condolences may be registered to www.littlesfuneralhome.com.