Monday, September 25, 2023

Ron Fascher, 80

WILMINGTON — Ron Fascher passed away on Sunday November 28th. He lost his battle with mental illness. He is at peace now with the Lord and his beloved wife who preceded him in death in 2016. He leaves behind his oldest son, David (Lori); younger son, Marc; two grandchildren, Colson and Luke; and sister, Sandy.

Ron was born on December 3rd, 1940 in Iowa and raised in Harlan, Iowa by his parents Art and Sadie Fascher. He was a brother to his younger sister, Sandra. They spent many afternoons together in their retirement years having coffee. He was a great brother. 

Growing up, Ron lettered in several sports in high school. Having a state record in track. He graduated from Iowa State with a degree in civil engineering. 

In 1964, he joined the United States Navy and went to Officer Candidate School. He was commissioned as an Ensign in the fall of 1964. Ron was assigned to the Des Moines class heavy cruiser USS Newport News (CA-148) as a ship engineer stationed in Norfolk, Va. 

During his career he received several awards including the National Defense Medal, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Vietnam Service Medal with One Bronze Star, and Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal with Device (60- ). 

In September 1967, Newport News departed Norfolk to Southeast Asia for a six month cruise. Arriving in Da Nang, South Vietnam, in October, she fired her eight-inch guns for the first time in anger against shore targets in North Vietnam as part of Operation Sea Dragon. 

Newport News spent 50 days patrolling the coast of North Vietnam as part of Operation Sea Dragon – the Navy’s effort to destroy waterborne logistics craft, military supply routes and installations in North Vietnam. During this period, the ship conducted 156 strikes with 325 North Vietnamese coastal defense sites taken under fire. According to spotters, Newport News sank 17 waterborne logistics craft, damaged another 14 and destroyed several enemy bunkers and radar sites, bridges, barges, trucks and roads. The ship was subjected to return fire on several occasions, but each time countered enemy batteries. In December 1967, Newport News exchanged fire with 20–28 separate shore batteries, simultaneously, off the coast of North Vietnam. During this engagement, over 300 enemy rounds bracketed the cruiser’s position, but she suffered no direct hits. This encounter led to forward observers to nickname Newport News “The Gray Ghost from the East Coast,” a moniker she retained throughout her three Vietnam deployments.

While stationed in Norfolk, Ron met a school teacher from a small textile town in upstate South Carolina named Patricia Elizabeth Jones. They began dating and were married on December 28, 1968. After leaving active duty, he remained in the Naval Reserves until retiring in the early 90’s with the rank of Commander. 

After leaving active duty Ron was hired by the US Army Corps of Engineers, and was assigned to the Omaha District. After spending a very cold winter in the Midwest, Pat wanted to be somewhere warm in the South! Ron was transferred to the Wilmington District in 19. They settled briefly in Forest Hills Apartments before settling in College Acres becoming neighbors & friends with the Bordeaux‘s for 50 years. They also joined Trinity UMC during this time. 

After working and teaching for a couple of years, Ron and Pat started a family. David was born in 1971, and Marc was born in 1974. Pat raised the boys through the 70’s and mid 80’s earning a Master’s in Education and returning to teaching at the Cape Fear Academy. 

Ron was a part of many coastal engineering projects, beach renourishment projects and hurricane recoveries throughout his career. 

Ron was active throughout his life with Trinity and upon retirement he dedicated his time with the church and other charities around town including WARM (Wilmington Area Rebuilding Ministry), Mother Hubbard’s Cupboard and Good Shepherd House. 

Ron was a constant presence at CFA during Pat’s teaching career and even more so when his grandchildren were enrolled. 

Ron was an inspiration to all who knew him. He was a loving husband, father, grandfather, brother and friend. He will be greatly missed. 

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to mental health awareness, Fisher House Foundation, WARM, Mothers Hubbard Cupboard & Good Shepherd Ashley House.Share online condolences with the family at

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