Ronn Gjestson, of Bozeman, MT—much-loved brother, uncle, and friend to many—is now in heaven. He passed on January 12, 2022, at the age of 79 due to complications of COVID-19 in a Sun City, AZ hospital. He had a life well lived professionally and personally. Many were honored to be his friend. Ronn was always full of laughter. He tried to help make the day brighter for those around him. He loved his family, cooking, conversation, and the Lord Jesus.
Ronn was born June 21, 1942, in Stoughton, Wisconsin to Donald and Leona Gjestson. He grew up and attended school there. Ronn obtained his BS in Radio/Television Production with a minor in Advertising and Psychology from Southern Illinois University.
He joined/served in the U.S. Air Force from 1966-70. He was a military broadcaster at SETV, Sheppard, AFB in Wichita Falls, TX and AFTN in Udorn AFB, Thailand during the Vietnam War. While at Udorn AFTN-TV he put Udorn RTAFB on the air. Returning state-side, he served at Norton AFB near Colton, California.
He left the Air Force and went to work for NBC in Burbank, CA in the Press and Publicity Department where he helped coordinate guest appearances by performers appearing on the network. He left there in 1974 for Livingston, Montana.
In Montana, he had a great run with his colleagues at Montana State University. It started with WWAMI, The University of Washington Medical school program, exploring satellite television for educating students in Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana, and Idaho. Work they did was groundbreaking. It evolved into the idea of running a public television station with no funding, no experience, no equipment, and very little support. The effort evolved into KUSM Montana Public Television. Today Montana PBS can claim to be one of the best services in the nation...covering one of the most rural states with over-the-air, satellite, and cable services. Ronn was a major cog, as the director of programming for several years.
In retirement, he was a part-time legal assistant, Head Start Bus Driver, and active member of his church. He was a member of American Legion Post 30, Belgrade; Life Member Veterans of Foreign Wars, Udorn Thailand; member of the Bridger Mountain Pony Car Club, Bozeman; Life Member Vietnam Veterans of America 788, Bozeman; National Thailand, Laos & Cambodia Brotherhood, Inc.; Life Member of the Association of Vietnam Veterans of America; and most importantly a member of the Springhill Presbyterian Church, Bozeman. He was a faithful member, always willing to serve where he could. More importantly, Ronn clung to his faith to the very end.
Ronn is survived by his siblings, Keith (Bobbie) Gjestson, Karen (Bill) West, Ami Gjestson; step-daughter, Sherri Crawford-Wells; nephews, Don (Amy) Gjestson, Pete Selbo, Phil Selbo; grandniece, grandnephews, and cousins. He was preceded in death by his parents, Donald and Leona Gjestson.
The family is forever grateful for the outpouring of love, stories, and support they have received. We will miss him greatly. A Memorial Service will be held Friday, February 18, at 2:00 P.M. at Springhill Presbyterian Church in Bozeman.
Arrangements are in the care of Dokken-Nelson Funeral Service. www.dokkennelson.com [dokkennelson.com]