Ronald Lee Walters | Passages

Ronald (Ron) Lee Walters, (77), a 25 year, full-time resident of Lopez Island, passed away peacefully on November 17, 2023 after a three year battle with an incurable gastric cancer. His beloved husband, Randall, was by his side constantly, through sickness and at death.

Ron was born in Eldora, Iowa to Jerry and Edith Walters. Soon after, the family moved to Aberdeen, Idaho. He was the third of five children. Ron attended the University of Idaho and earned a BA in Architecture. After graduating, he moved to San Francisco to practice architecture with a leading firm. Responding to his undeniable entrepreneurial spirit, after nine months, Ron embarked on a new and revolutionary venture. He created, founded, and became the CEO of Comarc Systems. Not only was Comarc Systems the foremost pioneer in creating Graphical Information Systems (GIS), Comarc was one of the first high-tech companies in San Francisco. A list of clients included the World Bank, the State of Alaska, Oakland Zoo, Coachella Valley, and the Jimmy Carter administration.

After selling Comarc several years later to Deloite, Ron established his own practice as a consultant in corporate strategic planning. His first client was Fred Meyers where he was able to transform the company after the Founder, Fred Meyer, passed away. Soon after, Ron became interested in parent education inspired by the book, A Nation At Risk. Moved by this research which highlighted the importance of parental participation in a child’s education, he created Smart Start for Parents, a video-based program helping parents understand how children are taught in schools and how to amplify this education at home. Smart Start was sold in every state and had a huge impact on children’s education in America.

He continued to do strategic planning consulting for several years with numerous companies and universities. His entire life, spanning across all careers, was based upon opening people’s minds to new possibilities to “imagine that which does not exist”. In this spirit, one of his most satisfying positions was teaching at the University of Northern Illinois. His course was “Design Thinking”, where students from all the various schools were together in one classroom learning how to solve “wicked” problems, such as redesigning Congress or solving homelessness.

While living in San Francisco in 1991, Ron met the love of his life, Randall Dickson. After five weeks, they knew they would be together forever and merged their lives. Ron and Randall moved to Lopez Island in 1998. Ron designed and built three beautiful homes on Lopez. It wasn’t until 2013 they were able to marry, which they did at their home on Lopez Island.

Ron has always been involved in his community. On Lopez, he has been a board member of the Family Resource Center and the Community Center. He has volunteered his strategic planning talents to many local non-profit groups on Lopez Island.

Ron loved traveling. He has been to all seven continents and 62 foreign countries. His three favorite places in the world, other than Lopez, are Italy, Greece and Turkey. He also loved good food and was an amazing baker. He was a lover of all disciplines of art.

He was known by family, friends, and professional colleagues as an intelligent, loving, compassionate human being. An amazing person with whom to sit and converse, Ron listened, inspired, enlightened, challenged, and loved through his last moments.

He stood solidly in his mantra: Boldly: Imagine, Engage, Love.

Ron is survived by his beloved husband, Randall Dickson, his brothers Larry (Barbara) Walters and Kirk (Loretta) Walters, his godchildren Timothy (Lori) Lierman and Maureen (Yared) Sileshi, and his grandchildren Cecelia, Mackenzie, Lamont, and Dylan. He was preceded in death by his parents, Jerry and Edith Walters, his sister Betty Ruff and his brother David Walters

A memorial service will be held next July. It was Ron’s wish that memorial gifts be donated to the Lopez Island Family Resource Center,