Ronald L. Fontana, of Manahawkin, passed away Wednesday, March 3, 2021 at home with family by his side. He was 87.
Ron was born March 15, 1933 in Staten Island, NY, where he was raised in the Grant City neighborhood. He was the son of the late Louis and Elizabeth (Pollioni) Fontana.
Ron proudly served his country in several locations abroad, including Libya and Germany, in the United States Air Force, training pilots in aircraft navigation systems during the Korean War era.
After military service, Ron went to college on the G.I. Bill earning a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering from Columbia University in 1960. While at Columbia, he worked in the lab at Otis Elevator Co., where he met his future wife of 60 years, Barbara DeQuinzio, who worked there as a secretary.
After college, Ron and Barbara married in 1961 and lived first in New York and then raised a family in Chatham, N.J. for more than 30 years. Though family was always the center of his life, Ron was employed as an industrial engineer for Western Electric, Bell Labs, and Hewlett Packard; he later worked for many years as a materials manager for Howe Richardson Scale Co. and Medical Laboratory Automation, Inc. (MLA).
After retirement, Ron and Barbara moved into a new home in Manahawkin in 1999, where Nana and Papa cherished visits from their extended family for many years. The Fontanas are longtime parishioners of St. Francis of Assisi in Brant Beach.
Ron was certified by Rutgers University as a master gardener and avidly raised orchids; he was a member of two affiliates of the American Orchid Society, including the Deep Cut Orchid Society. He also enjoyed fishing, birdwatching, traveling (to England, Italy, France, Australia, Alaska, and Canada, among other destinations), Sudoku, growing tomatoes, and home projects. There was almost nothing he couldn’t repair or build himself.
In addition to his wife, Barbara, Ron is survived by his daughter Lisa Fielding, of Glen Gardner; his son, Ronald Fontana, Jr. (Nancy) of Stockbridge, MA; his daughter Susan Ritter (Ted) of Westfield; his sister, Adeline “Addie” Tjon, of Jackson; as well as his five grandchildren: Kelsey and Dylan Fontana, Jessica Fielding, and Jayne and Dorian Ritter. He is also survived by his niece, Karen Leschak (John), of Jackson.
A memorial gathering will take place on Friday March 12, 2021 from 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at Maxwell-Tobie Funeral Home, 573 Mill Creek Road, Manahawkin, NJ 08050. A Mass will follow at 12:00 p.m. at St. Francis of Assisi, 4700 Long Beach Blvd., Brant Beach, NJ, 08008.
In lieu of flowers, a donation in his memory may be made to the HealthWell Foundation at www.healthwellfoundation.org.
Due to COVID-19 guidelines, the funeral home is operating at restricted capacity. Please note that face masks and social distancing are required, at all times, for those attending services.