Cover photo for Charles Ronald Apel's Obituary
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1939 Ron 2024

Charles Ronald Apel

April 29, 1939 — March 3, 2024

Las Vegas, Nevada

Charles "Ron" Ronald Apel was born in Pittsburgh, PA, on April 29, 1939, to Helen "Bobbie" Lucille (Coukart) and Charles Arnold Apel. His father enlisted in the US Army and spent the duration of WWII in Germany and Italy. When Arnold returned, the family owned and operated a small gas/service station in Grove City, PA. Ron's sister, Sally Ann, was born on January 17, 1947, and his brother, Gene Thomas, was born on February 24, 1949. Ron often talked about pumping gas as a child and watching his father work on cars. The venture was not successful and through a veteran's program, Arnold was tested and found to be mechanically adept. This led to the family relocating to Redwood City, CA, where Arnold became an A&P mechanic with United Airlines. 

At Sequoia High School, Ron was on the track team and met his future wife, Marcia Marie Barthes. Their favorite pastime was spending time at the beach. When Ron graduated, he planned to join the US Air Force but before enlisting, he and a couple of buddies took a car trip to Las Vegas. When Ron experienced Boulder City and Lake Mead, he announced to his friends that when it was time to retire, he would move to Boulder City. Ron enlisted in the USAF on October 9, 1958, and was shipped to Sheppard AFB in Texas to begin his training in A&P mechanics. On August 26, 1961, he and Marcia were married and made their first home together in Virginia Beach, VA, while he was stationed at Langley AFB. He was a member of the TAC Tanker Air Refueling Squadron.

Following his discharge on August 10, 1962, they moved back to CA and he began working at SFO with United Airlines. He also took a job moonlighting with the San Mateo Sheriff's Department. One of his favorite stories was about how he was nearly pushed over the balcony rail at the San Francisco Cow Palace by hundreds of screaming teen girls who were enthralled by a new music group called The Beatles. He and Marcia welcomed their first child, Michel Lucy, on April 26, 1963, followed the next year by their first son, Alan Barthes, on July 29, 1964.

In 1966, Ron was dissatisfied and wanted to find a job where the pay was better and the work more challenging. There were 2 options: Air America which involved clandestine operations in Vietnam that he had successfully avoided during his time in the Air Force, and the other was with Iran Air which entailed being stationed in Tehran, Iran. He signed a 2-year contract and in 1967, they moved halfway around the world with their children and a poodle. Ron moved up the ranks at a pace he desired and signed 3 more contracts much to Marcia's dismay and displeasure. They took full advantage of their airline privileges and would take off several weeks during the summer to travel. This included trips to England, Germany, Austria, Belgium, Lebanon, Israel, Kenya, Saudi Arabia, Japan, Thailand, Hong Kong, Greece, and Ceylon (Sri Lanka).

In 1974, Marcia was fed up with being so far from family and Ron knew it was time to return to the US. Fortunately, Iran Air was expanding and was eager to include the US among its destinations. Ron was offered the position of Director of Maintenance at JFK Airport and in June of 1975, the family (including the poodle) moved to NY. On April 6, 1976, Ron and Marcia welcomed their second son, Marc Lawrence. By late 1978/early 1979, politics in Iran were a mess. In November of 1979, the US Embassy in Tehran was stormed by students who seized 54 hostages. Iran Air stopped flights to the US and all personnel were left in limbo. In July of 1980, Ron decided although it was not yet time to retire, he was moving to Boulder City. They bought a used Grumman cargo van, packed up as much of the furniture as would fit, and looking very much like the Beverly Hillbillies began the month-long journey across the southern US. 

Ron found work at McCarran International Airport and Hughes Aviation Services with many unsuccessful startup airlines before finally settling down at America West Airlines... which merged into US Airways... which merged into American Airlines. In 2007, they mourned the loss of their son, Alan. In 2017, they moved into the Homestead Assisted Living facility because Ron was increasingly concerned about Marcia's health and their ability to live safely on their own. He continued working as an Aircraft Quality Control Inspector at AA. In November of 2018 at the age of 79, Ron was honored to receive the Charles Taylor Master Mechanic Award for his 50 years of civil and military maintenance experience. Following an injury at work, Ron was on disability when the Homestead went on COVID lockdown. Marcia died from a fall in their apartment on August 17, 2020. Ron moved to Lakeview Terrace in April 2022 and, reconciled to the fact that he would not be able to return to his craft, submitted his retirement letter in May of 2023. Ron enjoyed living at Lakeview Terrace and could often be found outside sunning and communing with the bighorn sheep. He was attending both Grace Community Church, where his son-in-law is Pastor, and St. Andrew's Catholic Church reconnecting with his faith.

After church on Sunday, March 3, Ron suffered tremors that earned him a trip to the hospital. According to a caregiver, one moment he was stable and joking around and the next he flatlined and was unable to be resuscitated.

Ron is survived by his daughter, Michel (Steve) Tomlinson, his son, Marc Apel, and his grandchildren, Melody (Dan) Hunter, Faith, Aaron, and Tabitha Tomlinson.
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Service Schedule

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Memorial Service

Monday, April 29, 2024

Starts at 12:45 pm (Pacific time)

Southern Nevada Veterans Memorial Cemetery

1900 Veterans Memorial Dr, Boulder City, NV 89005

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