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Allan was born on Feb. 5, 1949, in Reno, Nevada and placed by his birth mother, Beverly Zariske, with his forever parents, Vilda Bulloch and James Price Ronnow. When his mother went to pick him up from the hospital, she famously refused to take the baby offered her, pointed to Allan and said, “That’s my son.” After her refusal to leave without him, the nurses discovered that the babies had indeed been switched and Allan was meant for Vilda.
Allan grew up in Reno, skiing, scouting, and shooting. He had two sisters, Gretchen Ronnow and Mary Ronnow (married to Kenneth), whom he loved dearly, and was preceded in death by his brother, David James Ronnow, who died as an infant.
Allan went on a mission to Tokyo, Japan for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. After returning home, he graduated from Brigham Young University. Before going to Thunderbird International School of Management for grad school, he met the love of his life, Jennifer Joos. Allan often told the story of how she was waiting for a missionary, but he knew they were meant for each other. After a lot of convincing, Jennifer finally relented, marrying him on Mar. 22, 1974. They were best friends until the day he died.
Jennifer only wanted cats, but Allan was allergic to them, so they had kids instead. And what a brood it is.
His first daughter, Carolyn (Carrie) Vilda Williams (married to Gary, children Sabre and Thor), Allan named after his grandmother. He and Carrie shared a brain, often knowing exactly what the other was thinking and feeling. From the time she was a baby, the two chattered in their own secret language. They shared a love of perfection, organization, higher education, and his family’s mountain ranch. Carrie followed Allan’s dream of becoming an attorney. She will never forget how her dad prepared for and took the LSAT with her when she was nervous. She never doubted his dedication to her mother, his children, his parents, or her.
Allan was always there for his second daughter, Rebecca O’Neal (married to Joey, children Caleb, Trevor and wife Aniston, Gavin, Ruby, and Sterling). No matter the project or hardship, he showed up to help her. Years ago, he insisted on her having a good pair of leather gloves before they disassembled and rebuilt her deck. Every time those gloves safeguarded her hands since, she remembers how her father’s love protected her. He blessed her life just by being the man he was.
As for his oldest son, Allan James Ronnow (married to Stacy, children Paxton, Wyatt, Kysa, and Beckett), to say Allan was proud was an understatement. From the moment Al was born, Allan was his biggest fan. When Al went through the temple the first time, when Al left for his mission in Sweden, and when Al was sealed in the temple, Allan walked beside him. One of Allan’s happiest moments was watching Al’s oldest son Paxton leave for his mission to Canada; Allan wrote to Paxton almost every week. All Allan’s children knew how much their mother meant to him. That love was highlighted early in Al and Stacy’s relationship when Allan asked, “So you are getting close with Stacy?” Al responded, “Yeah, she’s one of my best friends.” “Even your best friend can be a good kisser,” Allan replied.
His third daughter, Amber Stage (married to Brandon, children Mason and Ivyanne) knows that even though she feels like she didn’t do anything impressive in life, that her dad was proud of her. He loved the baked goods she made as a pastry chef. And he loved her babies, even though they lived far away, and was so good with them. Amber remembers how she loved going to the airport as a child to greet her dad home from his business trips and how special she felt riding in his beloved sports car. She learned the art of storytelling from him. Most of all, Amber never doubted her dad loved her mom.
His second son, Richard Lee Ronnow (married to Abby), is an artist. He appreciates the lessons his dad taught him and the example he was. The first job Rick had was helping Allan install playground equipment; the experience showed Rick how important hard work and doing your best was to his dad.
Allan adored his fourth daughter, Katie Davis (married to Tyler, son Josh), his female mini-me. If Allan was interested in it, Katie wanted to know about it. She followed him everywhere and asked him about all his passions, even going so far as to watch football for an entire year with him explaining every game. She learned how she wanted to be treated in life by her dad’s example. Other girls might be spoiled with material things, but she was spoiled with his love. Katie was convinced as a child she wanted to marry him. She settled for being adored by him.
There are too many small moments that show his love for Allan’s fifth daughter, Chantelle Anderson (children Olivia, Daphne, and Phoebe) for her to recount. For example, he taught Chantelle how to properly hand a knife to someone and not let go until they say thank you. She hasn’t cut anyone yet, although she has to yell, “thank you” at them often. Allan loved Chantelle’s daughters: he read with them, joked with them, did Sudoku with them, went to their school events. . . they did “nothing” together, which makes for a lifetime of everything. Allan embodied a strong, powerful, loving example of a man who wasn’t afraid to show his emotions and share his deep spirituality with his family. Most of all, he shared his love for his wife. He constantly bought Jennifer the absolute sappiest cards on the Hallmark aisle.
James Price Ronnow (married to Alisia, children Lily, Rose, and Lincoln), Allan’s youngest son, wonders what you say about a man who taught you to be a man? Allan taught him to be a great husband; the love he had for Jennifer only strengthened with time. Allan was a loving grandfather; he was one of Lincoln’s favorite people, and Lincoln escaped downstairs to where his grandpa lived anytime he could. Allan was a great outdoorsman; with his help, James reached the rank of Eagle Scout. Allan had a steadfast faith in Christ and love for his mission; this inspired James to go on his own mission. James remembers Allan’s love of reading—especially Louis L’Amour westerns. And James will miss the fantastic breakfasts Allan cooked. Most times, James was only allowed to make the toast, but he watched Allan cook the perfect fried or scrambled eggs and perfect bacon—oh, the perfect bacon!—and he learned from the best.
Allan repeatedly told his last daughter, his bonus child, Christina Cody (married to Tim) that he knew she was meant to be his daughter. She remembers that he loved anything to do with cowboys. He took Christina to the rodeo, explaining all the events to her in detail. He excitedly showed her his new guns. When she was nervous about going to middle school, he took her to purchase cowboy boots. But not just any cowboy boots—they had to be a good quality brand that would last a lifetime. They’ve served her well for over a decade so far. Allan was so proud of her work as a professional dog trainer that he got offended when anyone that had questions about dogs didn’t call her.
No one loved trucks more than Allan. Allowing his children to ride in his spotless trucks was the highest honor they could achieve. He loved fast cars and large machinery. In fact, he spent a large part of his life selling huge mining and construction machinery and driving semi-trucks.
Allan knew Russian, French, and Japanese. He traveled the world for business. His children remember the souvenirs he brought home for them: vegemite from Australia, “candy” from Indonesia, and seaweed “treats” from Japan. The best treat was him coming home.
Six years ago, Allan was reunited with his birth family. He added siblings Gary Gilardi, Lynne Marriott (married to Don), Jennifer Esposito (married to Tom), and Sharon Zenz (married to Dan) to his large family. He never felt like his life was incomplete before, but now it felt even richer.
Allan loved stories. He loved hearing new ones and loved telling them even more. He told birth stories to his kids, fairytales to his grandkids, and anecdotes of his children’s lives to anyone who would listen. His favorite two stories were how he met Jennifer and the night he knew he should marry her. Allan’s story ended unexpectedly on Mar. 15, 2023, but those who knew him will continue to tell and re-tell the stories they remember. Until they become legends. Like him.
Funeral services will be held on Monday, March 20, 2023 at 11:00 a.m. at the Washington Terrace 10th Ward building, 125 East 5350 South, Washington Terrace. Services entrusted to Lindquist’s Ogden Mortuary, 3408 Washington Blvd.
Services will be livestreamed and available at the bottom of Allan's obituary page.
Monday, March 20, 2023
11:00am - 12:00pm (Mountain time)
Washington Terrace 10th Ward
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