Feb. 4, 1938–April 11, 2021
Capt. William “Bill” M. Ranson, USN (retired), 83, passed away Sunday morning, April 11, 2021.
Self-described ornery hillbilly and curmudgeon, Bill Ranson, was born Feb. 4, 1938, in Ashland, KY to Herbert and Alberta Ranson and raised near Sugar Creek, outside Ironton, where he attended Ironton schools, graduating from IHS in 1956.
He spent his childhood watching cowboy movies, swimming in dangerous creeks, and cheerfully annoying his Sunday School teachers and younger sister, Sara.
He was always funny and adventurous, and those who knew him well loved him all his life.
Bill was an outstanding scholar and very accomplished musician.
In the Ironton High School Marching Band, he played a cornet sporting a notable dent from when he dropped it on the street.
At Ohio University, his favorite engineering course was called “Strengths of Materials,” but which he always referred to as “Breaking Things.”
After graduating from college with a degree in mechanical engineering, he joined the U.S. Navy as a flight officer.
One of his greatest loves was flying fighter jets, especially the A-4 Skyhawk.
He had a strong connection to speed and machines and was a gifted pilot.
He served as a naval aviator for 26 years including two tours in Vietnam where he was awarded not one, but two Distinguished Flying Crosses, among the highest honors bestowed by our nation on warriors for valor, skill and determination in combat.
He later served as commanding officer of the training squadron on base in Beeville, Texas. After retirement from the military, he flew with Eastern Airlines.
In 1970, he married Carol Herring, who knew he was not only the life of every party but also good and loyal and true.
He taught his daughters how to tell funny stories, how to build and fix things, how to drive fast, how to listen to Mozart, how to laugh at their mistakes and how to be bold and determined.
He was the best and most loving of husbands and fathers, who always deduced what really mattered and gave wise and caring advice.
He loved trees and mountains, taking his family on vacation, motorcycling with friends and seeing his young grandsons.
Bill was generous to his friends and a hero many times over to his family.
He believed in God and trusted in Jesus’ salvation, and we know that, as he imagined, he will live forever in a wood cabin beside a rippling brook in a green valley with no bugs, until we see him again in that perfect place.
Capt. William M. Ranson is survived by his wife of 50 years, Carol Ranson; daughters, Elizabeth Callaway (Christopher) and Anne Duncan (Scott); and grandsons, Benjamin and Edward Callaway.
A private family graveside service honoring his life and legacy was held at Barrancas National Cemetery on April 19, 2021, with Dr. James Callaway officiating.
The family extends their gratitude to the health care professionals at The Residence, Covenant Care.