August 19, 1971 – June 3, 2012
Ronnie Edwin Chambless passed away Sunday, June 3, 2012 at the young age of 40 in an air tanker crash involved in a heroic effort to fight the White Rock fire near the Utah-Nevada border.
Memorial Services will be at Hampton-Vaughan Funeral Home at 1pm on Sunday, June 10. Visitation with the family will be from 6-8 pm on Saturday, June 9 at the Funeral Home.
Services are also pending in Boise, Idaho with his family and friends.
Ronnie was born August 19, 1971 in Gainesville, Texas. The family moved to Wichita Falls, Texas in 1980. He attended Fowler Elementary, McNiel Jr High, and graduated from S.H. Rider High School in 1989. He earned a Bachelors of Science degree in Environmental Science from Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls.
Ronnie inherited his grandfather’s love for flying and pursued that dream fearlessly and with vigor. As a teenager, he worked at Wichita Valley Airport to pay for flying lessons. As a pilot, some of his adventures included flying tourists around volcanos in Hawaii, weather modification (cloudseeding) in India, Africa, Canada and Boise, Idaho, as well as ferrying a single-engine Cessna from Florida to Denmark.
His ultimate dream was to be a fire pilot, and was recently contracted by Neptune Aviation as a co-pilot with their tanker fleet fighting the recent wildfire outbreaks. Ronnie has logged over 4,000 hours of flight time in his career.
In addition to his love of flying, he was an avid traveler, photographer and outdoorsman. He loved camping and hiking, and spent his summers as a boy at Philmont Scout Camp in New Mexico.
Ronnie has been an active member of the Boise, Idaho community for many years. He was a member of Hash House Harriers (a drinking club with a running problem) and volunteered at the Wildlife Firefighter Foundation. His extended family of many friends in Boise will miss him tremendously.
Ronnie is preceded in death by his father Ronnie W. Chambless, maternal grandfather William A. Hitchcock, and paternal grandmother Idell Chambless.
He is survived by his mother Paula Chambless of Wichita Falls; sister, Jennifer Chambless Conner of Ft Worth, TX.; sister, Kirsten Chambless Jenkins of Wichita Falls, maternal grandmother Genevieve Hitchcock, as well as a niece and many aunts, uncles and cousins.
Donations can be made in Ronnie’s memory to the Wildland Firefighter Foundation (www.wffoundation.org).
Please share your condolences and fond memories with the Chambless family at www.hamptonvaughancrestview.com.
- Visitation Saturday, June 9, 2012
- Memorial Service Sunday, June 10, 2012
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September 9, 2017
2017 still thinking of you, YOUR UNCLE TOBY CHAMBLESS
November 14, 2012
I can't believe you're gone, Ron. I still remember all of those flights in that crummy little Piper Tomahawk with you while you were getting your first pilots license. You are the most memorable student I ever had. Keeping in contact with you over the years has meant a lot to me. I'm so glad you got to do what so many others haven't - which was to do what you love for a living. I'll miss you.
June 14, 2012
Ron my dear friend I'm going to miss you. I will miss you and all the funny conversations we used to have when you flew in India and Africa and the nice time we spent in Santa Barbara. Today I flew over New Mexico, Utah and Colorado and I thought about you. I will miss you my friend. You will stay in my mind god bless you.
June 12, 2012
I would like to send my condolences to his family. I flew with Ron in India back in 2004. He will be missed.
Blue Skies and Tailwinds.
June 11, 2012
Ron, you will be missed.
June 11, 2012
Paula, Kirsten and family, I am truly sorry for your loss of your son and brother. I want to express my concern for both of you and my thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. If there is anything that I might do please let me know. Dr. Harvey
June 10, 2012
Kirsten and Family, I am so sorry for your loss. My thoughts and prayers are with your family during this difficult time.
Monica Morris Weddle
June 9, 2012
Paula, Jennifer and Kirsten -
You have my most heartfelt sympathies on the loss of Ronnie. It broke my heart to hear the news. He was doing what he loved while trying to help others and I pray knowing that gives you some relief. My prayers are you with and your family. With love and friendship -
June 9, 2012
Paula & family,
I know there are no words that can make this better but I just wanted you to know that my thoughts and prayers are with you, I wish that I could have had the pleasure of meeting your son, he sounds like an outstanding person. I would be so proud to have a son like him.
June 9, 2012
Oh Ronnie. I still remember you as a little boy. Growing up with you. You were so smart and full of life. We went to school in junior high and went to church together at first baptist. We hung out at each others homes. I got to work and know your mother and sister, Kirsten. My deepest sympathys go to them. If you need anything Kirsten or Paula let me know.
June 8, 2012
Ron was a good friend and co-worker to all of us at Weather Modification, Inc. It was great to see him finally get a good shot at his dream of flying air tankers this spring. It's hard to let him go, but in the end he was doing what he wanted to and that is as much as you can hope for. I have a lot of good memories of Ron and I hope you can treasure your memories of him always as well - God Bless.
June 7, 2012
Kirsten & Family,
I am very sorry for your loss. May God Bless each of you in your time of grieving and forever.