GOODFELLOW AIR FORCE BASE, Texas --
Goodfellow was the destination of Ron Cichon’s three week pilgrimage. Visiting friends and family along his way, the goal of his trip was to honor his mother’s dying wish by spreading her ashes on Goodfellow. He accomplished this Nov. 6.
Ron’s mother, Betty Jane Cichon, 92, died in March 2017. His father, Louis Edward Cichon, 96, followed shortly thereafter in June 2017. They originally met in Chicago, where Louis joined the Army Air Corps. His first duty station was Goodfellow. The couple was stationed here from 1943 to 1945. While the time spent at Goodfellow was short, Betty Jane felt that this is where their family had started. The young couple were newly married, and Ron, the oldest child, was born here in 1944.
“Mom and Dad may have had other fond memories around here, but they used to always come to the theater,” said Ron. “It was my mother’s dying wish to have her ashes spread here at Goodfellow. She said, ‘I’d like you to take my ashes down to San Angelo where we started our life together.’”
Goodfellow is not the base that it was during World War II, but with the help of John Garrett, 17th Training Wing historian, Ron was able to track down the location of the old theater. A location that the couple spent a lot of time visiting.
Lt. Col. Robert Borger, 17th Training Wing chaplain, spoke a few words before Ron spread the ashes.
“This is a fitting tribute,” said Borger. “You were born here, she wanted this because they had so many joyous memories here.”
With his mother’s red and silver urn in his arms, Ron scattered the ashes. Reciting the names of each of Betty Janes’ and Louis’ eight children. When the task was complete, he had created a circle around him.
After composing himself, Ron addressed the crowd.
“It’s been interesting, holy, sacred and very meaningful to me and it feels complete,” said Ron. “All of you, who participated in it, made it all feel so special, like I wasn’t alone trying to do this. You honoring her and my dad in this way means a lot.”