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Ronald Hugo Berkes

Born: Wed., Aug. 20, 1947
Died: Tue., Dec. 10, 2019


4:00 PM to 7:00 PM, Tue., Dec. 17, 2019
Location: LaRobardiere
Funeral Home, Inc.

Funeral Service

10:00 AM Wed., Dec. 18, 2019
Location: LaRobardiere Funeral Home, Inc.

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Music by The Piano Brothers

     Ronald Hugo Berkes, 72, of Camden, New York passed away Tuesday, December 10, 2019 at UPMC Presbyterian Hospital in Pittsburgh, PA after a long battle with health issues. He was born to German immigrants Hugo & Hilde Apel Berkes on August 20, 1947 in Jersey City, New Jersey. As a teenager he attended a Vocation Technical School in New Jersey and was Class President. While working at the exclusive Shawnee Inn Golf Resort in the Poconos as a caddie, he met celebrities like Hoagie Carmichael, Jackie Gleason and President Eisenhower.

     After High School he entered the United States Air Force in 1968 and furthered his electrical education becoming an Early Warning Radar systems technician during the Cold War. To be near his sister Joan Berkes who was attending Syracuse University, Ron came to be stationed in Rome at the former Griffiss Air Force Base, where he met his soon to be wife Francine Brazie of Camden, New York. They were married on December 16, 1971 and lived at the Dry Hill Air Base in Watertown, New York while Ron continued to be an active member of the military’s 655 Radar Squadron. Following his Honorable Discharge in 1978, Ron & Francine returned to Camden. As a civilian employee back at Griffiss he became a 485th EIG Team Chief and traveled Iceland, Europe and the United States installing and removing radar systems. During his travels he absorbed local culture, art and history. When Griffiss Air Force Base became realigned in the 1990s, Ron began working for AFRL/RISA Rome Labs at Griffiss Technology Park up until his death.

     Ron enjoyed sharing stories of his worldwide travels and the cultures he experienced with his daughters through food, music, art and history. The family would spend vacations at Frankenmuth in Michigan, Prince Edward Island in Nova Scotia and Washington DC visiting museums and historic places.

     Proud of his German roots and loving family life, Ron instilled his heritage with its cultural values in his daughters and grandchildren. He shared his experience and knowledge of construction, mechanics, art and cuisine with them. Ron enjoyed the family’s yearly tradition of holding ‘Lobster Day’ at his home, an outdoor fall family picnic, while supporting the Camden Fire Department’s annual sale.

     Surviving Ron are his loving wife of forty-seven years and two daughters, Heather & Larry Garvey of Bridgeport, New York, Heidi Coombs of Camden, New York, a sister Joan Berkes of Manassas, Virginia and four grandchildren, Alayna & Jeff Cwirko, Zane Garvey, Maddox Garvey and Hudson Coombs. He was predeceased by both parents.

     Funeral services will be held 10:00 a.m. Wednesday, December 18, 2019 under the direction of LaRobardiere Funeral Home, Inc., Camden, New York. Interment Forest Lawn Cemetery, Camden, New York. Calling hours will be held from 4:00-7:00 p.m. Tuesday, December 17, 2019 from the funeral home, 109 Main Street. In lieu of flowers memorial contributions may be made to Ronald McDonald House, 1100 East Genesee Street, Syracuse, New York 13210 https://www.rmhc.org/ or Family House, 5001 Baum Boulevard, Suite 545, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15213 https://www.familyhouse.org.

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Condolence Booklet

Wayne Brings
   Posted Sun December 15, 2019
Dear Fran and family,
I am sorry to hear of Ron’s passing. I’ve known him since 1965 and have always considered him a good friend. Over the years we have spoken, and even though there was a period of a few years gone by, it seemed we picked right up where we left off talking about the past and the future. Ron was always a very optimistic person; he loved life and he will truly be missed.
Wayne and Carol Briant

Jim Milligan
   Posted Mon December 16, 2019
I must have worked along side Ron for the better part of 20 years at AFRL, and he'll always have my respect. Such a nice guy who would always take the time to share tales of his rich past. He will be sorely missed by all. My sincerest of condolences to the family.

-- Jim

Doug Arvidson
   Posted Mon December 16, 2019
Met Ron when I started working with Rome Labs just after Base closure. He was an incredible guy who had incredible thoughts and ideas...many very strongly held :-) He was a great blessing to me in my career at the Lab Sad to hear of his passing Prayers to those that remain for many great memories that brings smiles after the tears

Cindy Near
   Posted Tue December 17, 2019
Dear Fran & Family,

Although I'd never met Ron in person, we had many interesting conversations on the phone when I'd call to schedule your appointments. He was such a nice man, and will be missed by so many. I'm so very sorry for your loss.

Cindy Near
LifeLaw, LLC

Connie and Joe McCormick
   Posted Tue December 17, 2019
Fran and family,

Our hearts go out to you and your family. Although we only met Ronnie a couple of times at Joan's house, we knew he was a unique individual with a passion for his family and friends. May he rest in peace.

Connie and Joe McCormick

David Stamps
   Posted Tue December 17, 2019
I am so sorry to hear of Ron's passing. My thoughts are with you and your family.

Dave Stamps

Rory Montgomery
   Posted Tue December 17, 2019
My sincerest condolences on your loss. You will be in our thoughts and prayers.

Steven Coady
   Posted Wed December 18, 2019
Fran and Family,
I am very sorry for your loss. I was lucky enough to meet Ron and could tell right away he was a class act. I am truly sorry for your loss and want to let you know if you need anything please just let me know.

Alayna Cwirko
   Posted Sat December 21, 2019
I can't express how much I miss you. I hope you're proud of the people in our family...we are all who we are because of you. You are my hero, my bestfriend, and now my guardian angel.
Rest in sweet peace, I love you. Don't worry we will take care of grandma ❣
- Your favorite granddaughter

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