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Obituaries

Ronald Freiberger (1935 - 2007)


In Loving Memory of Our Hero

Ronald Darwin Freiberger was born and raised in New Albany, Indiana. He was a kind and loving man who was an inventor, designer and engineer. After high school, Ron earned his degree in engineering from Rose-Hulman Polytechnic Institute in Terre Haute, Indiana. While attending Rose, Ron was in the R.O.T.C / Army Corps of Engineers, Bridge Builders. After college, Ron worked in Chicago, and then moved to Kokomo, Indiana, where he worked until retirement for Delco Electronics, a division of General Motors. Ron had several patents, and made significant contributions to the electronic climate control systems in vehicles, both past and present. After moving to Kokomo, Ron fell in love with aviation. He quickly earned his private license, followed by his instrument rating. It was in this time period that Ron built, among other things, a pontoon boat and a sailboat. He quickly realized that if he could build a boat, why not an airplane? After building a sailboat with his sister and friends, Ron asked his sister “guess what I’m going to build next? An airplane!” She said, “You’re crazy!” The rest is history.

Ron joined the EAA. Through the EAA, he found a wealth of knowledge and a brotherhood among members. His first project was the N10RF, the “Ron’s 1." It was an aerobatic airplane, a modification of Tony Spezio’s Tuholler plans. It featured a unique round cowling to cover the Lycoming engine, and it had the look of the racers of the Golden Era that Ron loved so much. The airplane was built in Ron’s basement, where it was removed by tearing out part of the basement wall, and pulling the plane out of the basement through a tunnel in the ground. The fuselage was towed to the airport where wings were added and final adjustments made. Ron flew his first home-built experimental aircraft, the “Ron’s 1” in November, 1971. Ron later designed and built his own “oven” to make the canopy for the “Ron’s 1,” and for his friend’s newly built airplanes. There is a photograph showing the removal of the “Ron’s 1” from his basement on the wall of the mock up of Paul Poberezny’s basement workshop in the EAA museum.

Ron flew the “Ron’s 1” Tuholler to Oshkosh in 1972. It later appeared on the magazine cover for the 23rd convention at Oshkosh in 1975. Soon after the “Ron’s 1” was built, Ron built a Cassutt IIIM, a very small but fast airplane. Ron then built the majority of a Bushby Mustang II, where he could share his love of flying with a fellow passenger. The Mustang II project was near completion when Ron sold it. The plane was completed by it’s new owner, and is flying today. During the construction of the Mustang II, Ron acquired and rebuilt a wrecked Jodel D11, a plane be bought for the radio equipment for his Mustang II project. After retirement, Ron started his final plane project, a KR2. While building his KR2, Ron was a technical advisor for builders across the country through the KRNet. He was a valued member of the KR community. Even throughout Ron’s illness with cancer, he continued an active role in aviation and his fellow EAA chapters. Ron was sure to bend his neck any time he heard the sound of an engine overhead.

For those who knew and loved him, his presence will always be felt, especially when we see a contrail in the sky, or hear an airplane overhead. Ron bestowed his love of aviation upon us all, and he will live in our hearts and memories forever.


Guestbook

9/7/2008 1:28:54 AM
I have many fond memories of flying with my brother and helping him in his workshop. My first EAA Convention with him and his family was the last year at Rockford. We went on to spend the next 18, or more summers at Oshkosh with a lot of Lakeland, Mt. Comfort, and other fly-ins.
I wish I could have been at Oshkosh this year for the Memorial Service, I heard from my niece Rhonda, that it was really nice. My brother, Ron, is sadly missed by his family and friends. One of the really neat flower arrangemnts at his funeral, from his friend Bosco and his wife, said to "keep you nose up and wings level" as he headed West. How appropriate!
Submitted by: Pat Freiberger-Daivs
11/4/2008 3:55:05 PM
Thanks to the Poberezny family and to the thousands of volunteers and aviation lovers, Airventure 2008 and the 2008 Memorial Wall Ceremony was outstanding! It was such an honor to tribute my father's, and so many others, passion for aviation and the EAA. My father was such an amazing and loving man. We all love and miss him so much. Ronald D. Freiberger will always be in our hearts!!! Thanks to every one of you that helped to make the Memorial ceremony so special, and to all who donated to Dad's memorial plaque on the wall.
Submitted by: Louis and Rhonda (Freiberger) Wagner
4/22/2009 11:35:29 AM
This was my grandpa
Submitted by: Marissa Tipton