Ronald LeRoy Rognlien, 61, a retired defense contractor and world traveler with family ties to Westminster, died unexpectedly from a heart attack at his home in Warrenton, Va., on Thursday, Dec. 19, 2013.
Born in 1952 in Baraboo, Wis.; he was the son of the late Stanley LeRoy Rognlien and the late Arlene Doris Jacobson Rognlien. His father served on submarines in the U.S. Navy during World War II in the Pacific, then worked throughout his career with Alcoa, the Aluminum Company of America. As a result, the family lived all over America.
After graduating with a degree in electrical engineering from Oregon State University, Mr. Rognlien followed in his father's footsteps and served for 32 years as a defense contractor with the intelligence community -- a job that took him to some 68 countries over the years. His particular field of expertise was computer science and communications.
Mr. Rognlien married Marian Babylon in 1982 at Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church in Westminster.
After retirement, Mr. Rognlien continued serving others through volunteer and mission service. He again traveled the world, this time for recreation, and spent time in Westminster with his extended family. He enjoyed fishing in Alaska, playing math and word games like Sudoku, and drove the Alcan Highway and across the United States several times.
In addition to his training as an electrical engineer, he was handy with tools and home improvement projects. He was a veteran of many mission trips with Taylorsville United Methodist Church, helping those who had suffered from natural disasters. Those mission included trips to Biloxi, Miss. after Hurricane Katrina and New Jersey after Hurricane Sandy.
He volunteered at numerous Carroll County civic and community functions. He was handy with a chainsaw and was among the Taylorsville "wood chuckers," who cut firewood for the needy. He was a serious student of golf.
In greater Warrenton, Mr. Rognlien volunteered with organizations such as People Helping People, VolTra, and the Fauquier County Food Distribution Coalition. Though formally retired, he worked for the Fauquier Co. Board of Election Supervisors. He was a member of the Warrenton Stamp and Coin Club and was a founding parent of the Fauquier Area Swim Team (FAST). He was an active member of Our Savior Lutheran Church in Warrenton.
He was an avid reader throughout his life and was seldom seen without a book in his hand. He took a scholarly approach to military history and the form, function and history of American government.
He was comfortable in the kitchen and known for his special "Ron's pancakes." He was an avid movie buff, the family genealogist, and attended all of his daughter's swim meets, lacrosse games and field hockey matches throughout high school and college.
In addition to his wife of 31 years, he is survived by a daughter, Marnie Rognlien of Copley, Ohio, and her fiancé Louis Paumier, of Wooster, Ohio; his brother Roger Rognlien and wife Linda of Scio, Ore.; and sisters Diane and Darlene Rognlien of Corvallis, Ore., Deanna Jorgensen and her husband, Christopher of Dunedin, Fla.
Also surviving him are mother-in-law Evelyn F. Babylon, sisters-in-law the Rev. Sarah Babylon Dorrance of Taylorsville United Methodist Church; Lt. Col. Trisch Babylon, U.S. Army (Ret.,) of Anchorage, Alaska; and Caroline Babylon of Westminster; and brothers-in-law Kevin E. Dayhoff of Westminster and Col. William T. Babylon, U.S. Army (Ret.) of Anchorage, Alaska.
He was preceded in death by his father-in-law, David S. Babylon Jr. in August 2006, and by brother-in-law Lt. Commander Jim Dorrance, U.S. Navy Reserve in June 1991.
In addition to close friends, colleagues and his immediate family, Mr. Rognlien is survived by nieces, nephews including Phil and Jamie Dorrance Miller, Andy and Melissa Dorrance Cimbala, Frank and Rosa Babylon, Liz and David Babylon III, and great-niece Nora Harper Babylon and great-nephew Evan Parker Babylon.
The family will receive friends at the Myers-Durboraw Funeral Home, at 91 Willis Street, Westminster, Md., on Monday, Dec. 23, from 7 to 9 p.m.
A memorial service will be held Saturday, Dec. 28 at 11 a.m. at Our Savior Lutheran Church, 6194 Dumfries Rd., Warrenton, Va., with visitation starting at 10 a.m. The Rev. Michael Church will officiate with a eulogy by The Rev. Sarah Dorrance.
Inurnment will be private at the family mausoleum at Krider's Cemetery, Westminster.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to People Helping People, 34 Beckham Street, Warrenton, VA 20186.