Obituary: Ronald Ward Hellings

Posted at 9:18 AM, Jan 13, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-13 11:18:54-05

Ronald Ward Hellings, 77, passed away peacefully at home, surrounded by loved ones, on January 1, 2022. Ron’s generosity, faith, and ability to see the good in everyone had a positive influence on all those who came in contact with him.

Ron was born in Los Angeles, CA to Ward Roberts and Elva Fern Hellings and raised in Pasadena, CA.

Ron was a life-long member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. After serving a mission for his church in the French East and Franco-Belgian missions, he returned to marry the love of his life, his sweetheart, Verla Deane “Dee” Tucker, in the Los Angeles LDS Temple on April 2, 1966.

Ron completed a BS in Physics at BYU, an MS at UCLA, and a Ph.D. at Montana State University-Bozeman. He taught Physics at Southern Oregon University, University of Nevada-Las Vegas, Cal Poly-Pomona, and Harvey Mudd College. Ron spent 25 years as a research scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory before moving back to Bozeman in 2001 to work as a research professor in the Physics department.

Ron filled his home with humor, music, dancing, love, and a constant thirst for knowledge and understanding for things natural, historical, scientific, and spiritual. He loved writing and completed two physics textbooks. He was a central figure in the field of gravitational-wave research.

Ron’s commitment to the Church was the foundation of his life. He served in many capacities, but one of Ron’s proudest accomplishments was serving as a Gospel Doctrine teacher for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He spent over 40 years in that calling serving in various wards. In the final days of his life, Ron frequently referred to the hymn “The Teacher’s Work is Done.” Ron also served as bishop of the Bozeman University Ward.

He is survived by his cherished wife, Dee; their three children, Kimberly (David), Greg (Nicole), and Geoff; beloved grandchildren, Summer (Cory), Brooke, Zoe, Jonas; his sister, Diane Koslow (Jim); many nieces; nephews; and cousins. He will also be missed by Simba, the cat, and the best dogs, Harry, Gandalf, and Bilbo.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the American Cancer Society or Humanitarian Aid of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.