Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

Ronald Keith Yesney

ANN ARBOR, Mich. - Ronald Keith Yesney, 93, of Harrison, died Friday, Jan. 19, 2024, at the University of Michigan Medical Center in Ann Arbor. He was born Sept. 9, 1930, to Samuel and Agnes (Peterson) Yesney in Wakefield. He was the second oldest of four children.

Ronald's youth was spent in Verona. He and his siblings lived in a charming home directly across the street from the Verona School, which he attended. His father Samuel worked at the Plymouth Mine and his mother Agnes was a homemaker. By all accounts his youth was grand, until age 8, when his mother passed away from a blood clot. Ronald's youth after that time was a bit tumultuous; he lived with several aunts and uncles, a housekeeper and a stepmother. Then, when Ronald was 14, his father, Samuel, was killed in a car accident. Ronald then lived in Wakefield on his maternal grandparents' farm until age 17.

On his 17th birthday, Ronald enlisted in the U.S. Army. As a young soldier, he was stationed at Fort Belvoir in Virginia. While there, he served in a special security detail at the inauguration of President Truman. He was later stationed in Missouri, Kentucky, Korea and Japan. He was honorably discharged in 1953 with numerous medals.

In 1954, he met the love of his life, Annabelle Korich, at a Christmas party in Topaz. They married in 1955 and began their family in the Western Upper Peninsula. They celebrated the birth of their daughters, Lynn and Gaylann, and son, Keith (Sam), while living in Bergland.

The young family then headed west, with Ronald working for Boyle's Brothers Drilling Company and the family living in Montana, Nevada, California, Utah, Washington, Oregon, New Mexico and Missouri. They traveled the west in a 1957 Pontiac pulling a 36-foot house trailer. The stories of these travels are legendary. In Missouri, their third daughter, Cheryl, was born.

In 1963, with four kids in tow, they sold the trailer and moved back to the U.P. eventually settling in Clarksburg, where Ronald worked for Cleveland Cliffs as an iron miner at the Republic Mine. They welcomed their fifth child, a son, Ronald James, in 1968 while living in Clarksburg.

In 1969, the family packed up and moved to downstate Harrison where they purchased a home on Park Street. The family moved to Harrison because they had purchased a portion of Niemi and Company Excavating. Ronald was an operator/co-owner there until 1987 when the company was dissolved.

Back to his Yooper roots, in 1988, Ronald and Annabelle purchased a small cabin on Lake Gogebic in Bergland. The next seven years were spent as a labor of love adding onto the cabin and making many improvements. "The cabin," which has been the setting for many family gatherings and parties was one of Ronald's favorite places. Here all his children, grandchildren, siblings and other friends and family would come to socialize.

Ronald was a hardworking man, an outstanding mechanic. He could rebuild a dump truck engine in a weekend.

His other passion was travel. He and Annabelle spent many winters in Texas and Florida. They made many trips to the cabin, Missouri, the western states and even Hawaii. There was nothing that brought Ronald as much joy as his wife, children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Ronald is survived by his sons, Keith of Brownstown Township and Ronald J. (Amy) of Negaunee; daughters, Lynn (Mick) Heckert of Lake Orion, Gaylann (Bob) Cleereman of Midland, and Cheryl Yesney (Earl) of Clare.

Ronald was the grandfather of Eryn Heckert (Deitch) and husband Jesse, Michael Heckert and wife Krista, Jason Heckert and wife Katie, Zachary Cleereman, Meghan Cleereman (Shull) and husband David, Colton Yesney, Shelby Yesney and Weston Yesney; and special step-grandchildren, Eric Cleereman, Karen Cleereman Schmidt, Kayla Walters and Megan Walters.

He is also survived by two sisters, Patricia LaPin of Ishpeming and Kathleen Fitzpatrick of Marquette; along with 10 great-grandchildren, and several nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his wife, Annabelle; his parents; and a brother, Howard Yesney.

Ronald and Annabelle were longtime members of St. Athanasius Catholic Church in Harrison. Funeral services will be held Saturday, July 20, at 11 a.m at St. Ann's Catholic Parish in Bergland, followed by a get-together at the cabin on Lake Gogebic. Burial will occur at the Forest Lawn Cemetery in Bergland.

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Arrangements and care for Mr. Yesney and his family are entrusted with Clark-Stocking Funeral Chapel and Cremation Service, 165 W. Oak St., in Harrison.