Life Story / Obituary
There was a moment in every morning in the home of Ron Sandberg when the powerful aroma of freshly-brewed coffee hits the senses. While the time of those moments has gotten later in the last decade, it’s at that specific time when you know one blue-eyed Swede has started to brew a fresh pot of intensely-strong Folgers coffee or, alternatively, Ron will soon be beckoned awake by another barista at work. Like his parents, Ronald Leonard Sandberg loved his coffee.
Ron died peacefully in his sleep after going to bed on July 24, 2020 at his home in Holland, Michigan. At the age of 81, Ron passed away of old age – his tires were well-worn. However, like the lingering aroma of freshly-brewed coffee, our memories of Ron will linger long past his presence with us.
His family loved him dearly. He was preceded in death by his parents, Elroy and Mabel Sandberg of Birmingham, Michigan, whose devotion and care for their boy was strong and unfailing, and Ron’s oldest son, Robert “Bob” Sandberg, who loved him deeply during the 19 years his candle burned so bright but passed the day after Father’s Day 1988 due to an unknown heart condition. He is survived by his brother, E. Louis “Lou” Sandberg, and the one he loved as the sister he never had, Lou’s wife, Kathy. Both live in Weaverville, North Carolina.
Lastly, he is survived by his wife of more than 55 years, Lynda, his son, Craig, his daughter-in-law, Emily, and his grandsons, Ben (19) and Charlie (15). All will miss him every day.
Born on July 7, 1939, in Pasadena, California, Ron shared a house at 1500 Loma Vista with his parents, Elroy Leonard Sandberg (an accountant) and Mabel Lindstrom Sandberg (a homemaker), and his big brother, Lou.
Ron graduated from Birmingham High School (now known as Ernest W. Seaholm High School) in 1957. A few months after turning 18-years old, that same year, he entered the U.S. Army. After his years of active service in the Army, including being stationed in Anchorage (AK), Ron returned to Michigan and enrolled at Hillsdale College (Hillsdale, MI).
His time at Hillsdale was, in many ways, a monumental turning point for Ron. While the college welcomed returning military veterans with open arms, a warmer pair of arms would be found at Hillsdale. After few years of college, Ron met the woman who would, later, become his wife of 55 years, his life partner during their time together, and his soulmate for eternity…Lynda Mae Briggs.
Ron and Lynda were married in Grosse Pointe (MI) on September 5, 1964. They had their first child, Robert Thomas Sandberg, on December 8, 1968. Robert was known as “Bobby” when he was little and “Bob” as a teenager and young adult. The threesome welcomed a new addition, Craig Michael Sandberg, on October 25, 1971.
When his family was young, Ron and Lynda travelled internationally together to the Bahamas, Spain, Morocco, and Italy. It helped that Ford Motor Company made those then-extravagances possible. Later, with or without kids, Ron and Lynda enjoyed domestic travel which gave them time to enjoy the company of friends and family. Annual trips to stay in one of the many cottages on Lake Ogemaw (West Branch, MI) made many lifelong friendships and created many fond memories.
His culinary specialties tended to be grill-centric (steaks, chicken, or burgers) or occasionally cracking open a can of Skyline Chili from Cincinnati over a plate of intentionally-overcooked spaghetti and topped with grated cheese.
Ron loved sports. With a loving hand, he taught his sons how to be both competitive and to show good sportsmanship. Even when Bob and Craig sought out soccer (which Ron knew nothing about), Ron would rarely (if ever) miss the chance to support his favorite players. While it was years since Ron played golf, the sport of golf provided a continuous thread from Elroy to Ron to Craig (to Ben and Charlie with putt-putt). That continuity of shared enjoyment of the game provided an enormous measure of pride to Ron.
Everyone knew Ron loved to watch sports. Specifically, he loved watching football, basketball, and golf. Staying safe at home with Lynda during this COVID-19 pandemic brought a new wrinkle to his sports watching, namely, re-watching past golf tournaments when he already knowing the outcome of the matches. For Ron, those golf tournaments quenched his thirst for sport these last months. Thankfully, late June brought back the real thing.
It is said that the best use of life is love. A simple truth to be sure. So, when Ron and Lynda lost their son in 1988, it was the resilience of their bond that helped them through. As a famous Indian proverb states, “It is love that makes the impossible, possible.” That love carried them through 32 more years of marriage.
When someone you love become a memory…that memory becomes a treasure. For those who knew and loved Ron, he gave us so many treasures to hold with us.
Finally, as one famous optimist (Winnie the Pooh) stated, “How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.”