Ronald Dean Kihega was born on January 09,1933 to George and Sarah “Grace” (Hudson) Kihega in Pawnee, Oklahoma. A proud member of the Pigeon Clan of the Otoe-Missouria Tribe, and descendant of the Iowa Tribe of Oklahoma. Ronald was raised in Red Rock and attended school there. He graduated from Red Rock High School, then enlisted in the U.S. Navy from 1952 to 1956. Ronald served his country during the Korean War and was stationed on the U.S.S. Oriskany. He received the National Defense Service Ribbon/Medal, the Korean Service Medal/Ribbon, and the United Nations Service Ribbon/Medal. During his time of service in the year 1956, he was the star pitcher for the Atsugi Flyers in Japan. Ronald had the nickname “Chief” on the team. He pitched a no-hitter, no-run game for the team. This earned him the Athletic Achievement Award for baseball from the Navy. Ronald was the first person to win the award. Ronald “Chief” Dean Kihega, SN, USN, of NAS Atsugi, Japan.
When Ronald returned from service, he met and married Imogene Columbus in 1958. Of this marriage three children were born to them as a couple. Deborah, George, and Julia Kihega. Ronald was later married to Eunice “Butch” Roy Kihega in 1970. They had one daughter together, Marian ”Mary” Kay Kihega. Ronald made his home for many years in Marland, Oklahoma. After he retired from work as a farmhand/laborer, they moved to Ponca City, Oklahoma up until the death of his wife. He then moved to Fairfax, Oklahoma and lived there for several years. He then decided to spend the remainder of his life at the Ponca City Nursing and Rehab, which he did up until his death on February 4, 2022.
Ronald is preceded in death by his parents, George and Sarah “Grace” Kihega, his three children, Deborah Kihega Jake, George Kihega, and Julia “Julie K” Kihega Black, all of his siblings, Richard, Eugene “Gene”, Robert “Bobby”, Marian Kihega Stone, Lorena Kihega DeRoin, Priscilla “PK” Kihega Arkeketa, and 2 grandchildren, Eileen and Jace LeClair.
Ronald is survived by his daughter, Marian “Mary” Kihega Mendia and husband, Rene Mendia, of Wellington, KS. Grandchildren, Seth and Ty LeClair, Matilda, Masiela and Murray Mendia, Charity Layton, Courtney Burgess, Tiffany Burgess, Josh Black (Jewell Horinek), Lisa Black Porter and husband Marcus, Sheldon Kihega, Denise Jake SiJohn and husband Cody, and Sarah Jake Greensky and husband Rick. He is also survived by 22 great-grandchildren, several nieces and nephews.
Ronald will be remembered for his kindness, generosity, and his ability to make others laugh. He especially enjoyed spending time with his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren and cruising around with Julie K.