Obituary Details

Ronald "Ronnie" Coye Jennewein

(07/22/1937 - 06/28/1962)
Courtesy of The Lusk Herald, 07/05/1962

Ronald Jennewein Drowns Thurs. When Boat Capsizes

Ronald Jennewein, 24, son of Mr. & Mrs. Coye Jennewein of Lusk, was drowned in the big Fort Peck Reservoir, Mont. last Thursday when he and another young man attempted to swim ashore from a capsized boat during a storm. The other man, Christopher K. Koetter, 23, also drowned.

The two men were members of an archeological expedition from Montana State University at Missoula, Mont. Five other students, also members of the expedition clung to the overturned boat and survived.

The seven were headed across the lake to look for artifacts of an ancient Indian culture when their 16-ft. boat powered by a 12 horsepower outboard motor was inundated by two large waves about 7:30 a.m.

Dr. Dee Taylor associate professor of anthropology at MSU and instructor of the four week summer course, said Jennewein and Koetter clung to the boat for about an hour. Then he said, the two became convinced that they could swim ashore and left the boat. They soon disappeared.

All seven students wore life jackets, Jennewein and Koetter still had their jackets on when their bodies were found Friday afternoon. The five that stayed with the boat drifted ashore.

After the seven failed to return Thursday night the alarm was spread and at sunrise Friday a full scale search was launched. Early Friday afternoon the five survivors were found. Later a helicopter found the bodies of the two drowned students.

Ronald was an experienced and powerful swimmer and former lifeguard at the Lusk municipal plunge. The exact circumstances of his death will remain a mystery.

Funeral Tuesday

The Rev. Jacob Nein, minister of the Congregational Church at Casper and former Lusk minister presided at the funeral service which was held from the Peet Chapel. Mrs. Gerald Bardo was organist. A quartet of Dennis Culver, Harry Lyon, Dr. Richard Collins and Gerald Bardo sang. Casket bearers were: Gene Keys, Archie Lauer. Robert Dorn Richard G. Pfister, Cye Bonner, Charles Christian.

Burial was made in the Lusk Cemetery.

Ronald Coye Jennewein was born in Douglas July 22, 1937. He moved with his parents to Manville in 1938 and back to Douglas in 1943 where he started school. After his two years in the Douglas schools, the Jennewein family moved to Jay Em for three years and in 1950 came to Lusk. It was at Lusk that Ronald grew to manhood.

During his junior and high school years he was especially active in the Boy Scout program reaching the rank of Eagle in 1955. He was graduated from Niobrara County High School with the class of 1956. He was a member of the Lusk Congregational Church and sang in the choir. At NCHS he was an outstanding athlete with emphasis on track and football. He not only excelled as a swimmer but was recognized for his instruction ability. He was lifeguard and instructor for two years at the Lusk Municipal Plunge.

Music was an important part of Ronald's life. He was president of the NCHS band in 1956, loved to sing with a quartet and was a member of an excellent brass sextet.

Under the instruction of the late Leslie Huff, he soloed and received a pilots license while yet a high school sophomore.

In October 1957 he was accepted as a cadet in the Air Force taking pre-flight training in Lackland Air Force Base where he was flight commander. While taking primary training at Hondo Air Force base, he was cadet chaplain and a member of the advisory staff. He was trained at Greenville, Miss., as a jet pilot and at the time of his death was a member of the active Air Force reserve.

On July 26, 1959, he and Miss Ihla McGinnis were married in Lusk. The couple moved to Missoula, Mont. In the fall of 1960 he enrolled in Montana State University and since has been a student of Archaeology.

He is survived by his wife, parents, Mr. and Mrs. Coye Jennewein, and a brother Kenneth.

The Lusk Herald
July 5, 1962
Ronnie Jennewein Is Buried and Born At Same Time Tues.

At the exact time that funeral services for Ronald Coye Jennewein, 24, were being held in Lusk another Ronald Coye Jennewein was born in Rapid City.

A son named Ronald Coye was born to Mr. and Mrs. Kenneth Jennewein at 2:37 p.m. Tuesday, July 3. Funeral services for the older Ronnie had started at 2:00 p.m.

So it is that Mr. and Mrs. Coye Jennewein of Lusk buried a son, but gained a grandson at the same time. The maternal grandmother is Mrs. Betty Sullivan of Lusk.

Images & Attachments

Ihla and Ronald Jennewein, 1959
Photo courtesy of Joshua Brackett's Eagle Scout Project

Related/Linked Records

Record Type Name
Obituary Jennewein, Coye (12/23/1906 - 03/27/1992) View Record
Obituary Jennewein, Betty (08/23/1910 - 09/30/1964) View Record
Obituary Jennewein, Nina (10/28/1876 - 07/19/1967) View Record
Obituary Jennewein, Guy (02/22/1877 - 04/11/1953) View Record
Obituary Jennewein, Fern (03/01/1915 - 05/13/2004) View Record
Obituary Jennewein, Kenneth (02/28/1941 - 03/20/2012) View Record