On a joyful day in the fall of 1938, Ronald Harma came into this world. His light touched the lives of countless individuals until his passing on February 27, 2023 at the age of 84 at The Villages Hospital, Florida, surrounded by his loving family.
Ron was a beloved husband, father, and grandfather, and an accomplished professional in the field of metallurgical engineering. Born in Iron Belt, Wisconsin on September 24, 1938, Ron grew up with two brothers and graduated from Hurley High School in 1956. Ron spent six years serving in the National Guard. He attended Michigan Technological University where he graduated with Bachelor’s degrees in Metallurgical Engineering and Engineering Administration and a Master’s degree in Metallurgical Engineering. After marrying his wife Ann Marie (O’Leary) in 1961, he began his career at Kennecott Copper in Salt Lake City, Utah, where his daughter Lauren was born in 1963. Two years later, after accepting a position with Cleveland-Cliffs Iron Company, they moved to Ishpeming, Michigan where their son Jeff was born in 1967. In the early ’70s, he was instrumental in the planning and startup of the Tilden Mine. In 1987, he was transferred to the Cleveland-Cliffs corporate offices in Cleveland, Ohio. He held various roles in research and development over his 38-year tenure with the company, ending the final years of his career as the Director of International Project Development. After retirement, he consulted internationally for the mining industry, traveling across six continents until he fully retired in 2018.
Ron received many prestigious recognitions over the years including Industrial Advisory Board Member of Michigan Tech (2001), induction into the Distinguished Academy of Chemical Engineering at Michigan Tech (2003), The Richards Award for his outstanding contributions to the iron ore industry (2010), and the Distinguished Alumni of the Hurley Education Foundation Award (2014) in his hometown. Ron was passionate about his field and was a member of the Society of Metallurgical Engineering (SME) for over sixty years, where he served on and chaired local and national committees. He was also a 57-year member of Ishpeming, MI Elks Lodge #447.
Ron and Ann Marie began spending time in The Villages, Florida in 2005, moving there permanently in 2013. Ron was an avid golfer, scoring two holes-in-one in his lifetime. Ron is preceded in death by his parents, Oliver and Dorothy (Kangas) Harma. Ron is survived by his wife Ann Marie of 61 years; his daughter Lauren (Earl) Joki of Rochester Hills, Michigan; his son Jeff (Jody) of Rochester Hills, Michigan; four grandchildren, Meghan, Kylie, JR, and Conner; his brothers Roger (Marilyn) and Robert (Janet); sister-in-law Donna O’Leary and brother-in-law Loyal (Gretchen) O’Leary; and several nieces and nephews.
A memorial service will be held at Hope Lutheran Church, 250 Avenida Los Angelos, The Villages, FL 32162 on Tuesday, March 28th at 10:30am. Memorial contributions may be made to Hope Lutheran Church.