A one of a kind husband, father and friend… Jim’s sudden death has shocked so many who loved him. Last week, he was in Sitka, Alaska with good friend Randy Smith for a fishing trip. On his last day of the trip, he seized the opportunity to go sightseeing. Jim died when the small plane he was traveling in crashed into the Katlian River. He is survived by his beloved wife of 42 years, Elaine, and two children Becky (Dan)and Joey. Jim also leaves his three cherished grandsons, Dylan, Hudson and Wyatt. Jim was born and raised in Lancaster, NY by Charles and Katherine Ronge. His older brother Charles (Cheryl) has passed away and Jim’s nephew, Bryan resides in Florida. Jim leaves his sister Betty Wick and her husband Mark, and their children Michelle and Steven, all now living in Colorado. Jim moved from the Buffalo, NY area in his 20s and resided in Southern California with Elaine. Through one of their many adventurous road trips, they discovered the Central Valley and decided to begin their family, residing in Turlock since 1981. Most of Jim’s career was spent as a member of the Cement Masons Union; he worked for 20 years on construction sites across the Valley. He then later worked in the Maintenance Department at the Stanislaus Fairgrounds in Turlock, retiring in November 2013. Family always came first for Jim. He prided himself on hosting family and friends in his home and on camping trips. There were countless road trips across the country to visit family in Buffalo, NY. Jim was fiercely loyal and could be counted on whenever a friend needed a hand. Working on cars was a passion and he was a familiar face at Turlock swap meets where he would haggle over antique car parts and make deals on his recent renovations. All will miss the laughter pouring out from his garage, where he was often found tinkering on one of his many projects. Family will be hosting a Celebration of Life on Saturday, August 4th from 3 – 6 PM at the fairgrounds in Turlock to share stories and support all the people who were touched by Jim.
Feb. 10, 1952- June 9, 2018.