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Ronald M. Unseth

May 12, 2020 | 15 comments

Ronald M. Unseth, 63, of Genoa, WI, passed away peacefully on Saturday May 9th, 2020 at home with his family by his side. He was unexpectedly diagnosed with bile duct cancer exactly one month (April 9th, 2020) before his death.

Ronald Marlin Unseth was born March 10th, 1957 in Viroqua, WI to Truman Sr. Unseth and Mildred (Hooverson) Unseth. He graduated from Viroqua High School as salutatorian in 1975 and attended UW-La Crosse for Nuclear Science for 2 years, before deciding to become a full-time dairy farmer on the family farm, where he lived for 60 years. He was a humble and hard worker who took pride in developing a herd of registered Holsteins, earning many awards.

Ronald married Jo Ann Stokke on September 2nd, 1978 in Viroqua, WI and they settled in their home on his family farm. Ronald went by many nicknames including Ron, Ronnie, Uncle Tex, Menno, but most importantly Dad. His pride were his two children, Rachel and Andrew. He enjoyed attending their school and athletic events, as well as their college graduations.

Ron was a member of the small country church, Zion Lutheran in Viroqua, WI just a few miles from his home since his Sunday School and Confirmation days. He served on the Zion church council for several years. He enjoyed discussing sports and politics, having a remarkable memory of both topics. He will be remembered for his sense of humor, quick wit, giving his loved ones a hard time, intelligence, and being the best husband and father a family could ask for.

Ron is survived by his wife of 41 ½ years, Jo Ann and his two children, Rachel Unseth of La Crosse and Andrew Unseth of Genoa; his brother Arden (Ellen) Unseth of Viroqua; two brother-in-laws Les “Ed” (Lynda) Stokke of Cedar Rapids, IA and Larry (Marianne) Stokke of Viroqua; one sister-in-law Joyce Stokke of Fort Collins, CO; nieces, nephews, great-nieces, great-nephews, cousins, and so many special friends.

He was proceeded in death by his parents Truman Sr. Unseth and Mildred (Hooverson) Unseth; in-laws Norris and Mary (Ellis) Stokke; his oldest brother Truman Jr. Unseth and sister-in-law Mary (Way) Unseth.

Coulee Region Cremation is assisting the family. A private family burial will take place at Zion Lutheran cemetery. A public celebration of Ron’s life will be held at the family farm on a later date when quarantine is lifted.

The family would like to give a special thank you to the Gundersen Hospice team in La Crosse, Ron’s longtime family physician Dr. Duane Koons, pastor Julie Wollman, retired pastor Pete Beckstrand, and the many close family and friends who reached out in these past few weeks since Ron learned about his diagnosis. The family would like to remind others that tomorrow is never promised, so cherish your loved ones before they become a memory. If you would like to honor Ron’s life, please make donations to either Zion Lutheran Church or the American Cancer Society.



  1. Val Cowden Krause

    Was so sad to hear of Ron’s passing. Remember some good laughs in high school!! Also Ron’s smile 😊, he was so witty. Thoughts and prayers Jo Ann and family.

  2. Bobbi Bell

    I am so sad to hear of your Dad’s passing Rachel. Losing a parent is the hardest thing in life. May your memories and your family and friend’s love help comfort you. You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers. xoxo

    • Roslyn Smith

      My name is Roslyn (Burns) Smith. I am the youngest of the “Burns girls” cousins. Ron was 1 1\2 years younger than me. while 2 of my sisters were older and moved to Florida while I would go to the farm, Daddy, Mom and I spent a good amount of time there when we visited from Minnesota. I thoroughly enjoyed spending time with Aunt Mildred, Uncle Truman and Tex. we would go out to the field, run around on the hills, and spend time in the barn, watching Tex milk the cows when he got older. We moved to Florida in ’73, so I didnt get to see him much after that, but I knew he would make a great father and dedicate his time on the farm.The way Rachel is, helped me see that this is true! I’m glad he was a great farmer , husband, and father! I will miss him!

  3. Phyllis Skarda

    May peace and comfort find you during this difficult time.

  4. Heather (Lockington) Gregoire

    So sorry to hear of Ron’s passing. Such a wonderful man always with a smile.

  5. Marilyn Leum

    So very sorry to hear of Ron’s passing. You are all in pur thoughts and prayers. He was a wonderful man!!! Love you all.

    Gary and Marilyn Leum

  6. Bill Martin

    Tex was my hero when I was a little boy and I’m glad I was able to catch up with him a few years ago in Genoa. Condolences to all who were close to him.

  7. Jeanne (Eggen) Fredrick

    Truman Jr. and I were Tex’s sponsors. I was 18 yrs. old and Junior was 15 at the time. It is comforting to know that we WILL see Ron (Menno) again.

  8. Elizabeth (Cindy) Tollefson Buirkle

    Ron was one of the wittiest and intelligent people I have ever known. I had a major crush on him and I think it might have been in 6th grade when our teacher had everyone write me a poem for my birthday. Ron wrote:

    Roses Are Red
    Violets Are Blue
    You Have a Mouth Like a B-52!

    I laugh every time I tell that story. My deepest condolences Jo Ann, Rachel and Andrew. I can only imagine how much you miss him.

  9. LuAnn Coenen

    JoAnn, I was saddened to hear of Ron’s passing. It is true that life flies by so very quickly and we tend to take so much for granted. As someone once said:”Life is not about the number of breaths that we take, but rather about the things that take our breaths away.” Keeping you and yours in my prayers. LuAnn Hase Coenen

  10. Roxanne Felde

    I am so sorry for your loss. I heard it on the radio this morning and I still have a hard time believing it. He was such a good guy. My sympathy to you and your family.

  11. Linda Erickson

    JoAnn and family, so sorry to hear that Ron passed away. You have my deepest sympathy.

  12. Denise Jacobson Roesler

    So sorry to hear that Ron passed away. Your family has my deepest sympathy.

  13. Gary & Beth Erickson

    Thoughts..Prayers…Hugs! Was shocked at the news! As others have said …. we don’t know what tomorrow holds and it can change in a blink of an eye! Cherish each day that God has blessed you with and leave nothing unsaid! We just smile when we think of Ron! Soft spoken and a big grin! Jo Ann and family so sorry for such a loss! May God bring you comfort ,strength,and peace. Never stop sharing all the great stories we know you have as a family!!! Gary & Beth(Bolstad) Erickson

  14. Linda Vaaler (Starowicz)

    Very sad news and my prayers go out to you and your family. I have lots of fond memories of Ron from high school – we always sat near each other in classes due to our initials (U-V )
    Super great guy – a kind heart.


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