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Ronald Leon Koop (79)

Ronald Leon Koop (79) was born on February 14, 1938 in Enid Oklahoma; he passed away on June 7, 2017 in Fresno, California at the age of 79. Born to Abraham and Anna Koop, Abraham was also known as A.P. Koop.  Ron was the youngest of five children who have predeceased him. 

A.P. Koop worked for Union Equity as a grain elevator operator, and on weekends, he developed his evangelistic ministry. Ron and his brother, Marvin, moved with their parents to Fresno for a year, and then the family moved to Winton.  Ron gave his life to the Lord and was baptized in Winton, where his Dad was a minister.


They then moved to Atwater for four years. They moved back to Fresno when Ron was in the 8th grade where he attended Easterby School.  Ron and his dad did yard work to supplement the family income.

A.P. Koop built a house by the Mennonite Brethren Church which was located on Orchard & Olive.  During the building of their house, Ron cut off three fingers which were reattached.  That's what happens when you look up to see some girls walking by while using the table saw.

After Easterby School, Ron attended Yosemite Jr. High and then finished High School at Immanuel in Reedley.  Ron was involved in many sports: basketball, track and fast-pitch softball as a pitcher.  He didn't allow his academic classes to interfere with his sports!  At 17, he helped pay his tuition by driving the school bus from Fresno to Reedley.  The bus schedule was Ron's sports schedule.  The bus left when Ron was done with sports.  

After graduation, Ron attended Fresno City College for 1 ½ years where he played football.  
On his first date with Mary Goertzen, he told his mother that she was the girl he was going to marry and after dating Mary for 3 years, he married the love of his life on October 3, 1959.  He was employed at that time with Sierra Meat Company.  He continued being involved in sports by pitching in fast-pitch softball and playing basketball for many city and church leagues.  

Ron was active at Bethany Church where he and Mary were youth sponsors and sang in the choir.

In 1961, after they returned home from a vacation, Ron found a letter from Uncle Sam waiting in their mailbox.  He was drafted into the Army and started boot camp in September at Ford Ord.  After boot camp, he was transferred to Fort Dix, New Jersey and then flew to Heidelberg, Germany.  He was stationed at USAR Army Headquarters Special Forces Division.  His Captain gave permission for Mary to join him as long as she purchased a round-trip ticket.  They lived off-base in German housing in a two-room flat. The flat was so cold that the toilet-bowl water would freeze over.  Nine months later their daughter, Rhonda, was born.  

Ron continued with sports in the Army.  He pitched for the Base’s fast-pitch softball team pitching a perfect game in the playoffs.  On weekends, they took day trips in their 1941 Chevrolet, which he purchased for $200.  It used more oil than gas.  In fact, they always had to keep an extra can of oil in the trunk. So they purchased a brand new 1963 MGB, and when he was released from the Army, they shipped it to New York and drove it from New York cross country back to Fresno.  Ron even made a little bed in the back for Rhonda.  

After being discharged, he spent two years in the Army Reserves. On July 3, 1967, their son, Michael, was born.

Ron was employed in sales with Jorgensen, Hopper Steel, and Valley Detroit Diesel and then retired from Golden State Peterbilt in 2008 at age 70.

He and Mary continued being active at Bethany Church singing in the choir and working as youth sponsors. They were also youth sponsors at the Chinese Baptist Church.  Ron served on Bethany’s Church Council and Trustee Board.  At the time of his death, he was serving on the Deacon Board and on the Sod Squad. 

He was also influential in getting the baseball diamond and snack bar in the plans at the new Bethany Church on Maple.  In addition to singing in the church choir, Ron also sang in the West Coast Mennonite Men’s Chorus for many years. Ron has had a rich life serving the Lord in many different capacities.  A special honor and privilege for Ron was when Bob Bender requested that Ron baptize him.

In May, 1979, while employed at Valley Detroit Diesel, Ron won a trip for himself and Mary. They traveled to the Grecian Islands, and that started their travel adventures to many countries. They enjoyed taking their entire family on many of these trips.  However, his most rewarding trip was the privilege he had traveling with Pastor Brian Wiebe to the Philippians before his illness.

He leaves behind his wife, Mary, their daughter, Rhonda Graham, and her husband, Jeff, their son, Michael Koop, and his wife, Marsha, his grandchildren, Tyler Graham and his wife, Tiffanie, Michele Krigbaum and her husband, Tyler, Morgan and Wyatt Koop and one great-grandson, Tristen Graham.

Ron will be greatly missed by his family, friends and church family.

A Graveside service will be held on Friday, June 16, 2017, 1:30 P.M. at Clovis District Cemetery, Clovis, CA.

A Memorial service will be held on Saturday, June 17, 2017, 11:00 A.M. at Bethany Church, Fresno, CA, under the direction of Jay Chapel

In Lieu of flowers please send memorial donations to: Hope Now For Youth, P.O. Box 5294, Fresno, CA 93755
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