Ronald Reno gently passed Wednesday night, July 10, 2013, with his Family by his side.
“Raised On Loving Jesus”
The year was 1951, the United States was being introduced to color television and the classic novel “The Catcher In The Rye.” A classic of other sorts was also released that year, his name was Ronald Lee Reno, and he made his debut on Dec. 11, 1951. Ronnie was born to Frank and Mary Reno in Powell, Wyo., following his older sister Carolyn and older brother Danny, and soon followed by his younger brother Jimmy. The family of six was complete and in 1955 they packed up and moved to Billings.
Ron’s adventures really took off in Billings. He grew up on the Bench Blvd. side of the Heights on Dorothy Lane. There he fell in love with motorcycles and then cars. Ron progressed from Bench Elementary, to Lincoln Jr. High and then on to Billing Senior High where he graduated in the spring of 1970.
Out of high school and into the real world, Ron’s life got more and more exciting. It did not take long for the world to stand up and take notice of him. In 1971, he received a letter from the President of the United States of America, Mr. Richard Nixon. It turned out that the Commander and Chief thought Ronald was a perfect candidate to join the US Army and “selected services” made him an offer he couldn’t refuse. He spent a year practicing artillery stateside and then another serving in Giessen, Germany during the Vietnam War.
In 1973, after finishing his patriotic duty, Ron returned to Billings and attended what was once Eastern Montana College. One year of a formal college education was all Ron needed before deciding to focus on one craft. In 1974, Ronnie’s best friend Davey Blanco introduced him to the cosmetology game and soon Ron was attending the Hollywood Beauty Academy in Billings. Ronnie graduated from beauty school and found that the “hair market” was full. There seemed to be a lot of hair stylist but not enough hairs to cut. So it was onto a new adventure, the Bible school adventure.
With the G.I. bill in hand, Ronald left Billings for the thriving metropolis of Lewistown, Mont. There he attended the Montana Institute of The Bible. Ronald quickly fell in love with Bible School and his community of 250 students. This is where Ron met Cary Stice, a friend who shared Ron’s passion for singing and performing. Soon Ron had created a stage alias known as Kid Reno. Kid and Cary performed for their student body and even sold out the lavish Round Barn in Red Lodge on occasion. When the school year ended so did the duo’s performances. For Ron it meant a move back to Billings for another crack at hair styling and a solo career as Kid Reno!
Ron found employment doing hair at his friends’ salon, Blanco Blanco. Davey Blanco put a lot of time into developing Ron’s skills and abilities. He was very grateful to Davey for all he did for him. Ron continued at Blanco Blanco for the next 10 years, but it was not all perm rods and shampoo. During his tenure at Blanco Blanco, Ron embarked on his greatest adventure yet, starting a family!
While perfecting his hair craft, Ron started attending a church group for young college and career folk called Co-Uni-Bus (college, university, business). It was in April of 1978 that a blond fox by the name of Denise Imlay showed up at the groups gathering. Ron always claimed it was love at first sight, and knew what must be done to seal the deal. That very night Ron serenaded the lovely Denise with an enchanting version of Elvis Presley’s “Angel.” To make a short story brief, the two were united in the holiest of matrimonies on the 13th of January in 1979. In January of 1980 their oldest son Frankie was born. In March of 1981 they welcomed their daughter Renetta. The fun continued as did the size of the family. By July of 1982, Renzy was born and soon followed by the grand finale child Dusty, who came in April of 1984. The family was complete and Ron could not have been happier!
In 1987, Ron’s time at Blanco Blanco came to an end as he wanted to go back to Bible School. The destination was not Lewistown this time; in fact it was not even Montana. Ronald packed up the family van, and the crew headed west to the great unknown of Portland, Ore., when he attended Multnomah School Of The Bible. In two years Ronnie had a bachelor’s degree and in 1989 it was time to head back to Billings.
Ron’s quest to be a man of the cloth was soon thwarted when he found it hard to provide for a family of six on a clergyman’s pay. In 1990, a down, but not out Ron Reno, started a grassroots hair salon in the heart of Billings called Reno’s Hairforce. Unrelenting in his clergy quest, he now had an opportunity to provide for his family via the salon as well as be involved in his church. Ronald took every opportunity to help out at Heights Baptist whether it was teaching Sunday school, preaching, singing, leading music and the list goes on. Ron loved his church like he loved his family, with all he was!
For 23 years Ronald served his clients at Reno’s Hairforce. For many more years Ron served his church, his “Kid Reno” fans, and his family. He was a model husband, father, employee, church member, son, brother, friend, uncle and grandfather. So many hats for one man but always worn with the greatest of ease.
In 2011, Ron was diagnosed with Leiomyosarcoma, a soft tissue cancer that started in and around his neck, and later spread to the organs in the right side of his body. The cancer was eventually to severe for him to combat and, on July 10, 2013, Ron went home to be with his Lord and Savior, an appointment that had been arranged many years earlier when Ronnie was a boy and feel in love with Jesus. Ron will be missed by all who knew him, but we rejoice with him now as he is pain free.
Ron is preceded in death by his father Frank Reno.
He is survived by his mother Mary (Perkins); sister Carolyn (Graves); brother Dan and brother Jim; his wife Denise; his children: son Frankie, daughter Renetta, son Renzy and his wife Khale Century and grandson Boone, son Dusty and his wife Rachel and grandchild on the way.
Ron’s celebration of life service will be on Saturday, July 20, at 11 a.m. It will be held at Heights Baptist Church, 810 Garnet Ave, Billings MT, 59105, (406) 259-2268. A reception will follow.
In lieu of flowers, one can give to the Ron Reno Memorial set up at First Interstate Bank. Michelotti-Sawyers is assisting with arrangements and remembrances may be shared online at www.michelottisawyers.com