Ronald Dean Stradford (Ron), a resident of Marlborough for 32 years passed away peacefully in the early morning hours on Wednesday November 2, 2022, at his residence, 2 Windsor Street in Marlborough. His sister, Charmaine, was with him.
Ronald was born with Down Syndrome at the Landstuhl Army Medical Hospital in Landstuhl, Germany. He is the youngest of the three children of Charles and Gisela Stradford. Because his father was in the military, Ron attended several schools that provided Special Education Programs: Kaiserslautern Germany; Bellevue, Nebraska; and South Sioux City, Nebraska. He graduated from High School in Downers Grove, Illinois. Prior to and after graduation, Ron worked for Pizza Hut in Downers Grove. After the family moved to Marlborough, Ron worked for The Holiday Inn, and the Big “D” Grocery Store which was later to become Price Chopper. He became known throughout the community. Ron was selected as one of the two Massachusetts Special Olympics Athletes to march in President Clinton’s Inaugural Parade. Subsequently He was awarded the “Key to the City” for Marlborough for his participation in that event. In 1998, Ron’s parents moved to Pennsylvania, but Ron chose to remain in Marlborough and with support from Greater Marlborough Programs Inc (GMPI) Ron lived independently for more than 16 years.
Ron was an active participant in the Special Olympics, Nebraska where he learned to swim, Illinois where he gained prowess in basketball and bowling, and Massachusetts where it all came together along with sharing his father’s love for golf. He loved to travel with his family and most of all being able to travel alone to his parents or siblings. Ron’s greatest asset was his charming nature which drew you to him.
Ron is survived by his parents Charles and Gisela Stradford of West Melbourne FL, his sister, Charmaine of Viera, FL and brother Steven and family, wife Michelle, and daughter Corinne, of Marietta, PA and daughter Courtnee of Nashville TN, his aunt Saundra Stradford of Greensboro NC, her family, and several cousins.
Due to timing and logistics, the family has planned for Ron’s Celebration of Life on Saturday May 6, 2023, at Massachusetts Special Olympics Headquarters in Marlborough, MA at 3 :00 PM.
The family wishes to thank everyone for the outpouring of LOVE that has been demonstrated in Ron’s last days. In lieu of flowers, the family is requesting donations to Special Olympics Massachusetts (SOMA), 512 Forest St. Marlborough, MA 01752 or www.specialolympicsma.org
All are invited to sign Ronnie’s online guestbook at www.collinsfuneral.com. Funeral arrangements are under the direction of the Collins Funeral Home, 378 Lincoln Street, Marlborough.
Massachusetts Special Olympics