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Ron, 78, died September 4, 2022, in Sparks, Nevada. He was born in Tonasket, Washington, on January 13, 1944. Beginning at age 8, he was raised by his mother’s parents in Orient, Washington. His grandfather was a Border Patrol agent. Ron graduated from Kettle Falls High School in 1962 where his physical size boded well for his football endeavors. Ron’s USFS career began in 1963 when he maned the “First Thot Lookout” near Orient, WA, on the Colville N.F. In 1964 he rookied at NCSB where he jumped the 1964065 seasons. He is remembered for his strength and dependability, a good jump partner. Ron was fearless of heights and was a great jump partner as he would gladly climb for hung up cargo. This paid off in college when he would climb the radio tower for the local ration station in Wenatchee to change “light bulbs,” for $50.00 The tower was over 200 feet tall. His fearlessness of height served him well in his career as a “high climbing lineman” where he only accepted the highest and toughest projects. Ron told of one incident near Hermiston, Oregon, where he and his crew were trapped during a winter storm with high winds at over 300 feet for four hours. He worked “hot” lines, from high towers, crawling cables midair to make repairs. His lineman career began in 1966 and spanned 40 years. He retired in 2006. He was 56-year dues paying member of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW), and in retirement became active in training, development, and defending worker’s rights. He was highly respected by his co-workers and union leaders as thoughtful, fair, firm - an inspiring leader. Ron is perhaps best remembered for his leadership when Nevada Power’s President abruptly announced the drastic cut in retiree’s medical benefits and refused to answer member’s questions. Ron fearlessly grabbed the microphone and called for a picket, the first in 60 years. This led to a two-year legal battle with the union prevailing. The benefits were restored. Union leadership regard the battle as “transformative” with young members realizing the benefit of organizing. A master woodworker Ron taught classes in wood turning and produced exquisite pieces. He understood angles and accepted only precise pieces. His shop was/is the “holy grail” of wood shops, his work was perfection. Today’s smokejumpers/wildland firefighters could use the likes of Ron Borst to carry their torch for acceptable pay, medical and pension benefits. (Thanks to Ken Borg-NCSB-64, for this obit. Ed.)



Publication Date

September 2022


Smokejumping; Smokejumpers -- United States; National Smokejumper Association; Wildfire fighters; Obituaries


Forest Management

Smokejumper Obituary: Borst, Ronald L. “Ron” (North Cascades 1964)