Ronald Lynn Puckett, 53, of rural Larwill died Wednesday, July 8, 2020, when the off-road vehicle he was driving overturned on CR 600N near his home. A tragic accident took his life, but his legacy and influence will live on through his family and friends. While he is gone from this world, he will certainly not be forgotten.
Born in Tacoma, Wash. to Rodger Lynn and Colleen Anne (Sweeney) Puckett on June 15, 1967, Ron grew up in Columbia City, with his older brother Rick and younger brother Randy by his side. Together they were well known as the “Puckett boys” and were always up to some sort of mischief. The boy’s mischief was kept under slight control by the presence of their Uncle’s Mick and Denny Sweeney, both relationships that remained strong into adulthood. He attended Mary Raber Elementary School, Marshall Middle School, and graduated from Columbia City Joint High School in 1986.
Ron was a naturally talented athlete, breaking records for track and field in middle school, and excelled at baseball and football throughout his high school years.
In 1986, he became a father when his daughter Alicia was born. In 1988, he met the love of his life, Melinda, at a party. They instantly clicked and were married a short time later. In 1989, they welcomed their daughter, Hailey. Ron also stepped in willingly to raise Melinda’s daughter, Lydia, and treated her as his own.
Ron and Melinda made their home in South Whitley until 1998 when they built their dream home in rural Larwill, where they have lived ever since. Ron’s hobbies included cheering for Ohio State Football, watching college basketball, watching motocross, spending time outdoors, boating, fishing, and hunting. He recently became a grilling enthusiast and took great pride in smoking various meat pieces on his Traeger grill. In addition, Ron loved to hang out in his barn, watching his big screen TV or listening to music, and welcomed visitors at all times of the day to accompany him and Melinda.
If you ask Ron’s friends and family, they would tell you that he was known for his tough exterior and strong opinion, but had a very loving heart with the best of intentions. His social, outgoing personality meant that he was friends with anyone he met throughout life.
Family was of utmost importance to Ron, and he thought the world of his wife, daughters, and grandchildren. He regularly said that Melinda was the love of his life. His daughters made him very proud. In 2007, Ron became a grandfather for the first time. He gained the “sons he never had” when his daughters Hailey and Lydia married their husbands Mike and Brandon in 2014 and 2015. Over the years, his three daughters blessed him with eight grandchildren in total. He loved spending time with his grandsons Ashton and Cooper, taking them fishing, and watching his grandson, Cooper, play baseball at Morsches Park. Ron loved how talented Cooper was athletically and looked forward to watching Cooper excel in sports as he grew. Ron got great joy out of hearing the latest stories about his grandson Knox and took great pride in his granddaughter London.
Employed by Steel Dynamics, Columbia City since 2008, he worked in the melt shop.
He leaves behind his wife, Melinda; their three daughters, Lydia C. (Brandon) Schrader, Columbia City, Alicia J. Smith (Brian Maul) of Savannah, Ga., and Hailey R. (Michael) Steele of Columbia City; grandchildren, Shylah, Ashton, Hayden, Lyrik, Cooper, Brooklyn, Knox, and London; his mother, Colleen (Tom) King of Albion; his father, Rodger (Sioux Strong) Puckett of Oregon; two brothers, Rick L. Puckett (Kathy Geisler) and Randall L.(Jennifer) Puckett; stepbrother Ryan (Angie) King; stepsister, Holly Stoval; beloved boxers, Roxy “Lulu” and Poppy; multiple aunts, uncles, nieces, and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his mother-in-law, Norma June Kyler.
The funeral service is 10:30 a.m. Wednesday at the Zion Lutheran Church with Pastor Phil Rittner, the officiant. Visitation is 2 to 4 and 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday at Smith & Sons Funeral Home, Columbia City, and 1 hour before the service at the church.
Memorials in Ronald’s honor are to the family for the grandchildren’s educational fund.