HARDING, Ronald Dennis UPDATED SERVICE INFORMATION
September 13, 1950 — March 5, 2023
A Celebration of Life will be held on Friday, June 23, 2023, at 1:00 pm at Springfield Funeral Home, 2020 Springfield Road, Kelowna, BC.
It is with great sadness that we share, after several years of moving the goalposts of life and running interference on his medical challenges, Ron’s playbook of life was stopped at the one-yard line on March 5, 2023. Sometimes, even after gallantly and courageously fighting, the other team wins. Ron was 72.
Ron was born in Edmonton, AB on September 13, 1950, to Denny & Doreen Harding, now deceased. He was also predeceased by his parents-in-law, Dick & Ike Laidlaw and his dear to his heart, brothers-in-law, Buck Laidlaw and Derek Vettese. He is survived by his devoted wife of 47 years, Wendi; his two children and pride and joy, son, Jason Harding (Alyssa) and daughter, Paige (Jeff) Cox; and the best grandson in the world, Winston. He is also survived by his sisters Jan (Barry) Peters and Karen Vettese; brother David; brother-in-law, B.J. (Sandy) Laidlaw; nieces and nephews, Sue, Patti, Steve, Cassidy, and Quinn; and many great nieces and nephews.
In his early days, Ron worked for the Highways Department, a moving company, Sears, and Schoening’s Funeral Services. He’s told many tall and spooky stories about his job at Schoening’s. It is still undetermined how many were true! His path took him to the newspaper business in 1972 working for the Kamloops Daily Sentinel, the Penticton Herald, the Kelowna Daily Courier, and finishing his 40-year career in 2012 with the Capital News. In those 40 years, he made lifelong friends who were dear to his heart to the very end.
When one talks of Ron Harding, football is assumed to be in the conversation. Ron was a devoted advocate of supporting all kids wanting to “make the team”. In his early years in Kamloops, BC, he saw a need and started the team Sahali Rams, while Wendi choreographed the Cheerleaders. Through ardent fund-raising efforts, many young players had an opportunity to play and enjoy the game Ron loved. He enjoyed nothing more than seeing pride on the kids’ faces as they ran onto the field. When Ron and Wendi moved to Kelowna, BC, Ron again sought out his passion. He joined the newly founded Okanagan Sun in 1981 as Defensive Coach. In 1985, he switched his focus to what the team needed the most – fundraising. He continued on that path, raising funds for the team, to his very last days. Even from his hospital bed at KGH (Kelowna General Hospital), he was calling potential sponsors to secure their commitment to the Okanagan Sun for the upcoming year, just in case his “Hail Mary Play” didn’t work out. His commitment to the kids was on and off the field, helping the players get jobs, cars, places to live, food to eat. He was eternally grateful to all his friends in the business world who always stepped up to help him, help the kids and the team.
Ron’s devotion to his children was always his number one priority though. He spent several years at the rink following Jason’s hockey and Paige’s figure skating. He was always instrumental in fundraising for the team and spent several seasons as team manager. His passion for his kids’ pursuits was relentless. He was so proud of Jason and Paige and the caring, loving adults they became. He always supported them in their chosen paths. His pride of his two children is amplified in his first grandchild, Winston. Winston became Ron’s motivation to continue to fight in his medical journey. His eyes always lit up when he would hear Winston’s little voice saying “Pop, Pop”.
Ron’s sense of humour was always at the forefront. He was a positive thinker. He always saw the good in everything and if there wasn’t any good he made a joke about it and somehow managed to make it not so bad. He used to tease his nieces and nephews consistently. You could always hear them saying, while they rolled their eyes, “Oh Uncle Ron!!”. His brothers-in-law, B.J. Laidlaw and Derek (now deceased) Vettese were always a huge part of Ron’s life. Particularly, when it came to sports. Many a dollar was lost between them, the banter was ongoing and all stories were fabricated beyond belief!
As per Ron’s wish he will be cremated. As his humour goes, Ron says, “It’s my last chance at a Smokin’ Hot Body!”
The family is currently setting up an Endowment Fund in Ron’s memory to continue Ron’s passion for supporting the players of the Okanagan Sun. Details to follow.
In lieu of flowers, donations to a charity of your choice will be gratefully accepted, or you may want to consider giving to the Okanagan Sun via the Ron Harding Memorial Fund, Diabetes Canada, or the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada.
If you wish to send a condolence, post photos, or share a memory, please scroll down the page to the area called “Condolences”.
Friday, June 23, 2023, at 1:00 pm
Springfield Funeral Home, 2020 Springfield Road, Kelowna, BC
The service for HARDING, Ronald Dennis UPDATED SERVICE INFORMATION is scheduled for Friday, June 23, 2023, at 1:00 pm. Below you will find the map for the service location and the contact information should you have any questions.